Supermarine Spitfire

Supermarine Spitfire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1942, the RAAF allocated the serial A58 to an aircraft which, rather surprisingly, was called the Capstan. This well-known cigarette name was selected as a security measure to cover the Australian debut of the most famous fighter of World War II, the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire. The prototype Spitfire first flew on 5 March 1936 and by 1940 sufficient numbers had been produced to turn the tide in the Battle of Britain. This remarkable fighter, of which 20,351 were built in 40 major variants, fought on every front with practically every Allied Air Force.

In the UK, RAF-serialled Spitfires were flown by the RAAF's Nos 451, 451, 453 and 457 Squadrons. The 656 Spitfires delivered to the RAAF between August 1942 and June 1945 included 245 Mk Vcs (A58-1/185 and A58-200/259), 251 Mk VIIIs (A58-300/550) and 159 HF Mk VIIIs (A58-600/758) plus a Mk Vc, EE731, which did not receive an A58 number. These fighters operated in Australia with Nos 79 and 85 Squadrons and the redeployed Nos 452 and 457 Squadrons, together with Spitfires from RAF Nos 54, 548 and 549 Squadrons.

The Spitfires, in association with Kittyhawks, formed the RAAF's main defensive and offensive fighter force until 1945, when the CAC Mustang superseded both fighter types. Spitfire disposal action occurred between 1946 and 1952.

General characteristics

 Crew:                                                     1
Length:                                                   29 ft 11 in (9.12 m)
Wingspan:                                              36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)
Height:                                                    11 ft 5 in (3.86 m)
Wing area:                                              242.1 ft² (22.48 m²)
Empty weight:                                        5090 lb (2309 kg)
Max takeoff weight:                              6770 lb (3071 kg)
Powerplant:                                            1× Rolls-Royce Merlin 45 supercharged V12 engine, 1470 hp (1096 kW)

Performance

Maximum speed:                                   330 knots (378 mph, 605 km/h)
Combat radius:                                      410 nm (470 mi, 760 km)
Ferry range:                                           991 nm (1140 mi, 1840 km)
Service ceiling:                                       35,000 ft (11 300 m)
Rate of climb:                                         2665 ft/min (13.5 m/s)
Wing loading:                                        28 lb/ft² (137 kg/m²)
Power/mass:                                         0.22 hp/lb (360 W/kg)

Armament

Guns:                                                      2 × 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 cannon, later 120 rounds/gun,
                                                               4 × .303 in (7.70 mm) Browning machine guns, 350 rounds/gun
Bombs:                                                   250 lb (110 kg) assorted ordnance 
                                                               or 1 × 500 lb (230 kg) bomb

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