Supermarine Spitfire V: Third major production version, combining Mk I/II airframe features with 1,185 hp Merlin 45 single-stage single-speed engine. Prototype installation in a Mk I first flown December 1940 and 154 Mk I and Mk II conversions made in 1941. First production Mk V (Supermarine Type 331) flown from CBAF in June 1941 and production totalled 4,489 at that factory, 1,363 by Supermarine and 635 by Westland. In addition, some 200 Mk I/II convened to Mk V standard. Service use began mid-May with No 92 Sqn. Production included 94 Supermarine Spitfire VA with eight-gun armament, 3,911 Supermarine Spitfire VB with two-cannon/four-mg armament, and 2,467 Supermarine Spitfire VC introducing new wing (Supermarine Type 349) in late 1941 that could carry four cannon without mgs, or two-cannon/four mg arrangement as Mk VB. Total production also included 15 photo-recce Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk V (see separate entry for photo-recce Supermarine Spitfires). For service in Middle and, later, Far East, tropical versions introduced large Vokes dust filter over carburettor air intake under nose, or small filter developed and fitted at Aboukir in Egypt. To extend range, Supermarine Spitfire Vs (and later marks) carried flush-fitting belly tanks of 30- or 45-Imp gal (136- or 205-1) capacity on regular operations, 90-Imp gal (409-1) for special ferry flights or 170-Imp gal (773-1) version used by 17 aircraft flown from Gibraltar to Malta in late 1942. From end-1942, 'fighter' role prefix resulted in Supermarine Spitfire F Mk VA, F Mk VB and F Mk VC designations, using Merlin 45, 46, 50, 50A, 55 or 56 medium-altitude engines. For lower altitude operations, Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk VB used Merlin 45M, 50M or 55M, with cropped supercharger impellers and combat boost rating of 1,585 hp. Many Supermarine Spitfire Vs had wing tips removed ('clipped'), reducing span to 32 ft 2 in (9.80 m). Starting 1942, Supermarine Spitfire Vs were adapted to carry one 250-lb (113-kg) bomb under each wing, or one 500-lb (227-kg) bomb under fuselage in place of long-range tank. Some aircraft were fitted with hooks to tow Hotspur gliders at training schools. One radio-controlled drone version was tested in 1944, and one captured Mk VB was fitted in Germany with 1,475 hp Daimler-Benz DB 605A. In Egypt, two Supermarine Spitfire VCs fitted with extended wing-tips, boosted Merlin 46s and four-blade propellers operated up to 50,000 ft (15,240 m) to intercept Ju 86P-2s. Supermarine Spitfire Vs operated in Europe and Middle East by RAF, RCAF, RNZAF and RAAF squadrons from 1941 onwards; in India/Burma from late 1943, and in Australia, where 245 Supermarine Spitfire VCs and one VB were transferred from RAF to RAAF in 1942-43 (plus 11 lost en route). Starting late-1942, ten squadrons of the SAAF flew Supermarine Spitfire Vs (and/or Mk IXs) in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, including No 40 Sqn operating in the 'Tac R' role for which Supermarine Spitfires carried an oblique camera just behind the cockpit. From mid-1942, some 600 Supermarine Spitfires (mostly Mk Vs) supplied to USAAF units flying in the UK and North Africa on 'reverse lend-lease' basis, retaining RAF serials. Two (or more) Mk VAs to USA in 1941 for evaluation. Supply of Supermarine Spitfires to Soviet Union began early-1943 with transfer of 143 Mk VBs; in late-1943 the RAF released 33 Mk VBs to Portugal. One squadron of the R Egyptian AF was equipped with Supermarine Spitfire VCs.
Supermarine Spitfire VI (F Mk VI): High altitude version of Supermarine Spitfire VB (Supermarine Type 350), featuring pressurised cockpit with sealed, jet-tisonable hood, 1,415 hp Merlin 47 with four-bladed propeller, and extended wing-tips giving 40 ft 2 in (12.24 m) span. Prototype conversion of Mk V during 1941 and 100 built by Supermarine in 1942; entered service April 1942 with Nos 616 and 124 Sqns.
Supermarine Spitfire VII: High-altitude fighter evolved from Supermarine Spitfire VC (Supermarine Type 351) with pressurised cockpit, sliding hood, increased fuel capacity, rectractable tailwheel, two-stage, two-speed 1,565 hp Merlin 61 or 1,710 hp Merlin 64 (in Supermarine Spitfire F Mk VII) or 1,475 hp high-altitude Merlin 71 (Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk VII). Extended wing-tips usually fitted and, later aircraft, broad-chord rudder with extended tip. Prototype conversions of Mk VCs flown second half of 1942; 140 produced by Supermarine, first deliveries September 1942 and operations began same month. One Mk VII to USAAF at Wright Field in April 1943.
Supermarine Spitfire VIII: Similar to Mk VII but without pressurised cockpit. Armament as Mk VC, structural and systems improvements as Mk VII, enlarged rudder (except first few aircraft) and compact Aero-Vee tropical filter as standard. Prototype development included Mk III (N3297) fitted with Merlin 61 early-1942. Production (Supermarine Type 360) totalled 1,658 by Supermarine in three designated sub-variants according to altitude rating of engine: Supermarine Spitfire LF Mk VIII with 1,705 hp Merlin 66; Supermarine Spitfire F Mk VIII with 1,565 hp Merlin 61 or 1,710 hp Merlin 63; and Supermarine Spitfire HF Mk VIII with 1,655 hp Merlin 70. Most Supermarine Spitfire VIIIs flew with standard-span wing, but extended or clipped tips used as required operationally without change of designation. Service introduction, mid-1943, principally in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, including some SAAF squadrons. Later, Supermarine Spitfire VIIIs replaced Mk VCs in squadrons operating in the CBI theatre and equipped units of the Indian Air Force. In 1944, RAAF took on charge 251 LF Mk VIIIs for its squadrons in New Guinea; 159 more Mk VIIIs were received post-war. In fighter-bomber role, some Mk VIIIs carried two 500-lb (227-kg) bombs under fuselage; later aircraft used 45-Imp gal (205-l) teardrop long-range tanks in place of earlier slipper type.
|Wing span, m
|Rolls-Royce Merlin 45, 50, 55, hp
|Weight, kg: |
|Maximum takeoff weight
|Maximum speed, km/h
|Rate of climb, m/min
|Service ceiling, m
|Service range, km
|8 X 7.69-mm machine guns, or 2 X 20-mm cannon and 4 machine guns
||8 or 2
- "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
- "British warplanes of World War II" /under cor. Daniel March/