Supermarine Spitfire MK XIV

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The Mk XIV was the most important of the Griffon powered Spitfires, and the only one to see significant wartime service. It used the two-speed two-stage supercharged Griffon 61 or 65, giving 2,050 hp and a significantly improved performance at higher altitudes when compared to the earlier Griffon powered Mk XII. The Mk XIV was based on the Mk VIII fuselage, already strengthened to cope with the Merlin 61 engine. Early models used the “c” type universal wing (four 20mm cannon or two 20mm cannon and four .303in machine guns), while later production used the “e” wing (two .50in machine guns instead of the .303s).

The Griffon engine improved the performance of the Spitfire at all heights. Tests in early 1944 found it to be faster than the Mk IX at every altitude, with the best rate of climb yet seen. The only area not to see any improvement was manoeuvrability, which did not rely on the engine but on the airframe. It had a similar advantage over the Fw 190A, which had a similar performance to the Mk IX. The only problem posed by the Griffon was that it span in the opposite direction to the Merlin. Merlin powered Spitfires had tended to veer left on takeoff. The Mk XIV veered to the right instead.

The superior performance of the Mk XIV made it the ideal aircraft to deal with the menace of the V-1. No.91 Squadron, based at West Malling, ended up with the best record against the flying bomb, shooting down 184 with its Mk XIVs.

From September 1944 the Mk XIV was used with the 2nd Tactical Air Force. It equipped all twenty Spitfire squadrons on the continent between D-Day and VE-Day. Its role in Europe was normally armed reconnaissance, searching for any enemy targets behind the German lines. It could carry up to 1000 lbs of bombs, or in a FR role 500 lbs of bombs and a camera.


Stat

Mk I

Mk V

F.Mk IX

Mk XIV

Engine

Merlin II or Merlin III

Merlin 45, 46, 50

Merlin 61 or 63

Griffon 65 or 66

HP

990 hp or 1,030 hp

1440 (45)
1190 (46)
1230 (50)

1560 (61)
1690 (63)

2035 at 7,000 ft (65)

Span

36’ 10”

36’ 10”

36’ 10”

35’ 10”

Length

29’ 11”

29’ 11”

31’ .5”

32’ 8”

Empty Weight

4,810 lb

5,065 lb

5,610 lb

 

Full Weight

6,200 lb

6,750 lb

7,500 lb

8,385 lb

Wings

“a”

“a”, “b”, “c”

“c” or “e”

“c” or “e”

Ceiling

31,900 ft

37,000

43,000 ft

43,000 ft

Speed

362 mph at 18,500 ft

369 mph at 19,500 ft

 

408 mph at 25,000 ft

 

 

“S” Gear
439 mph at 24,500 ft

“M” Gear
404 mph at 11,000ft

Cruising Speed

 

272 mph at 5,000 ft

324 mph at 20,000 ft

362 mph at 20,000 ft

Speed at Sea Level

 

 

312 mph

357 mph

Climb rate

2,530 ft/min

4,750 ft/min

4,100 ft/ min

4,580 ft/ min

Prototypes - Mk I - Mk II - Mk III - Mk V - Mk VI - Mk VII - Mk VIII - Mk IX - Mk XII - Mk XIV - Mk XVI - Mk XVIII - Mk 21 to 24 - Photo Reconnaissance Spitfires - Spitfire Wings - Timeline

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (12 March 2007), Supermarine Spitfire MK XIV, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_spitfire_mkXIV.html

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