The full size Supermarine Seafire was a naval version of the Supermarine Spitfire specially adapted for operation from aircraft carriers. The name Seafire was arrived at by collapsing the longer name Sea Spitfire.
JP EScale REF:4495120 Seafire ARF Limited Edition
- Wingspan - 64.6ins (164cm)
- Wing area - 759.5sq.ins (49.0sq.dm)
- Suits - 75-91 2 Stroke (120 4 Stroke)
- Factory covered with Oracover
- Length - 50.4ins (128cm)
- Approx flying weight - 8.8lb (4kg)
- Mechanical retracts supplied
Further Full Size Information
In late 1941 and early 1942, the Admiralty assessed the Spitfire for possible conversion. In late 1941 48 Spitfire Mk Vb were converted by Air Training Service Ltd. at Hamble to become "hooked Spitfires". This was the Seafire Mk Ib and would be the first of several Seafire variants to reach the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. This version of the Seafire was mainly used to allow the Royal Navy to gain experience in operating the Spitfire on aircraft carriers. The main structural change was made to the lower rear fuselage which incorporated an A-frame style arrestor hook and strengthened lower longerons. It was soon discovered that the fuselage, especially around hatches, was too weak for sustained carrier operations. In an attempt to alleviate this condition, reinforcing strips were riveted around hatch openings and along the main fuselage longerons. A further 118 Seafire Mk Ib's incorporating the fuselage reinforcements were modified from Spitfire Vbs by Cunliffe-Owen at Eastleigh and Air Training Service. These aircraft were equipped with Naval HF radio equipment and IFF equipment as well as a Type 72 homing beacon. In these and all subsequent Seafires the instruments were re-calibrated to read kn and nmi rather than mph and mi. The fixed armament was the same as that of the Spitfire Vb; two 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano Mk II cannon with 60 rpg fed from a "drum" magazine, and four .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns with 350 rpg. Provision was also made to carry a 30 gal (136 l) "slipper" fuel tank under the fuselage.
The second semi-navalised variant of the Seafire, and the first to be built as such, was the Seafire F Mk IIc which was based on the Spitfire Vc. The Vc had several major refinements over the Spitfire Vb. Apart from the modifications included in the main batch of Seafire Ibs this version incorporated catapult spools, and a single slinging lug on either side of the fuselage, just behind the engine bulkhead. Three basic subtypes were produced, the F Mk IIc and FR Mk IIc (fighter reconnaissance), powered by a Merlin 46, and the L Mk IIc powered by a low altitude Merlin 32 specifically manufactured for naval use This version of the Merlin used a "cropped" supercharger impellor to provide greater power at low altitudes than the standard engines; delivering 1,585 hp (1,182 kW) at 2,750 ft (838 m). Both engine models drove a four bladed 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m) diameter Rotol propeller. Because this version used the "C" wing the Hispano cannon were now fed from a 120-round belt magazine, otherwise the armament was the same as that of the Ib; the FR also carried two F.24 aerial cameras. After trials of Rocket Assisted Take Off Gear (RATOG) apparatus (small rocket engines which could be attached to the fuselage or wings of aircraft to help shorten the take-off run) in February 1943, this equipment became a standard fitting available for all Seafires.