Supermarine Seafang

The Supermarine Seafang was the naval version of the Spiteful, produced as a replacement for the Spitfire and Seafire. Like the Spiteful only a handful of aircraft were ever produced.

The original Spiteful development contract had called for four prototypes, with the last to be a naval version. In October 1943 Supermarine issued Specification 474 for this aircraft, which would have been a Seafire Mk.XV fitted with the new laminar flow wing and Griffon 61 engine. This prototype was never completed, and was instead used for structural tests.

After the maiden flight of the Spiteful in January 1945 the Air Ministry revived the Seafang, and issued Specification N.5/45 (21 April 1945) for a single-seat fighter with the wing.

The first prototype was a Spiteful F Mk 15 (RB520), modified to have an arrestor hook. This aircraft was completed early in 1945 but wasn't collected by the Navy until 1947, when it was scrapped.

This was followed by the first Seafang F Mk 32 (VB895), which made its maiden flight early in 1946 and was then used for trials at Farnborough. Attempts were also made to export the type.

The first Seafang to actually fly was a F Mk 32, VG471, which made its maiden flight on 15 January 1946. This was joined by VG474 and VG475 in the test programme.

The Seafang used the same laminar flow wing that was developed for the Spiteful, but with folding tips. The prototype performed well in deck trials and simulated landings at Chilbolton and RNAS Ford, and in May 1945 an order was placed for 150 aircraft, in part built from bits left over from cancelled Spiteful production.

The Royal Navy wasn't keen on the Spiteful and instead wanted the de Havilland Sea Hornet and the Hawker Sea Fury. Of the 150 that were ordered only a handful were ever delivered. The two prototypes were followed by nine aircraft (VG471 to VG479). Seven more aircraft were completed in component form. None of them saw any service with the Fleet Air Arm.

The exact details of production and indeed of the two variants are a little unclear. The main production version was the F.32, with a Griffon 89 engine, contra rotating propellers and folding wings. These aircraft were given the serial numbers VG471-VG479.

One Seafang F.31 was produced at the RAE Farnborough, by give the 6th production F.Mk 32 non-folding wings and a single rotating propeller, probably with a Griffon 61 or 69 engine. 

F. Mk 31
Engine: Rolls Royce Griffon 69
Power: 1,540hp
Crew: 1
Span: 35ft
Length: 32ft 3in
Empty weight: 7,155lb
All up weight: 9,030lb
Service ceiling: 41,750ft
Armament: Four 20mm Hispano Mk V Cannon

F.Mk 32
Engine: Rolls Royce Griffon 89 or 90
Power: 2,350hp
Crew: 1
Span: 35ft/ 17ft (folded)
Length: 32ft 3in
Height: 13ft 9in (folded)
Empty weight: 7,155lb
All-up weight: 9,030lb
Service ceiling: 41,750ft
Armament: Four 20mm Hispano Mk V cannon

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 April 2017), Supermarine Seafang , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_supermarine_seafang.html

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