Aviation of World War II

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Sea Otter
Multipurpose Flying Boat

Supermarine Sea Otter in flight

Sea Otter - single-engine amphibious biplane, "Type 309" - development in 1936 by Reginald Mitchell to replace his previous development Walrus in 1933. The main differences of the new flying boat consisted in the transition to an all-metal airframe with a more powerful engine with a pulling propeller instead of a pushing one, mounted on the leading edge of the upper wing. The first flight was on September 23, 1938.

Deliveries of serial machines began in January 1943, in the Royal Air Force in the fall of 1943. Sea Otter was operated in various climatic conditions, which confirmed its good seaworthiness and aerobatic qualities. During search and rescue operations, amphibians, as a rule, worked "in conjunction" with coast-based twin-engined aircraft Vickers Warwick . The latter, having a longer flight duration, searched for victims, dropping lifeboats and pointing the Sea Otters. Such a scheme, which worked perfectly in the metropolis, turned out to be unsuitable for India: the Warwicks could not be effectively operated in hot and humid climates, unlike the Sea Otters.

As part of the RAF, Sea Otters were used in shore-based auxiliary squadrons that patrolled coastal waters, search and rescue operations, and crew training. In addition to the metropolis, they were based in Ceylon.

Sea Otter Mk.I Specification
Crew 3-4
Wing span 14.02
Wing area, m² 56.70
Length, ms 12.16
Height, m 4.61
1 PE Bristol Mercury XXX, power h.p. 965
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 3,093
Gross weight 4,545
Maximum speed, km/h 262
Cruising speed, km/h 216
Rate of climb, m/min 1100
Service ceiling, m 5,180
Service range, km 1,100
3×7.7 mm machine guns Vickers K, Bombs, kg 454

Modifications. Sea Otter ABR Mk. I - 9-cylinder air-cooled Bristol Mercury XXX engine (965 hp). Defensive armament - 3 × 7.7 mm Vickers K 91 machine gun on the nose turret and 2 on the top. Under the wing, it was possible to carry up to 454 kg of bombs. Crew - 3-4 people. 250 aircraft were manufactured.

Sea Otter ASR Mk. II - unarmed rescue variant with a reinforced boat set. The power plant is the same as on the Mk. I. Crew - 3 people. Issued 40 units.

Photo Description

Drawing Sea Otter Mk.I.

Sea Otter Mk.I (prototype), April 1944

Sea Otter in flight and on the ground


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "British warplanes of World War II" /under cor. Daniel March/