Supermarine Seafire F.Mk.45

The Supermarine Seafire F.45 was the first of a series of Seafire variants to be powered by Griffon 60 series engines, and was very much an interim model, lacking folding wings and with an older fuselage design than the Seafire XVII. The Seafire F.Mk.45 was based on the Spitfire 21, and had the familiar Spitfire canopy and raised rear fuselage.

It did have the new shape wings, which were no longer truly elliptical, and was armed with four 20mm cannon. The wings also carried four leading edge fuel tanks, giving it an internal fuel capacity of 119 gallons. The wheel wells were completed faired over.

The Griffon 61 had a two-speed two-stage supercharger, and was more powerful than any earlier engine, giving the F.Mk.45 a top speed of 443mph and a rate of climb of 4,800ft/ minutes.

The Seafire F.Mk.45 was developed by Cunliffe-Owen, but the fifty production aircraft were built by Vickers at Castle Bromwich and were assembled at South Marston.

The Seafire F.Mk.45 was not a particularly successful design. The powerful engine and five-blade propeller made it quite hard to fly in a straight line, while the lack of folding wings made it unsuited for carrier operations. It was soon replaced by the F.Mk.46, which introduced contra-rotating propellers that solved the torque problems.

Supermarine Type 388
Engine: Two-stage two-speed supercharged Griffon 61
Power: 1,540hp
Crew: 1
Wing span: 36ft 11in
Length: 33ft 4in
Height: 12ft (tail up)
Full Weight: 9,500lb
Overload Weight: 11,250lb
Max Speed: 443mph
Service Ceiling: 41,000ft
Armament: Four Hispano 20mm Mk II or Mk V
Bomb-load: One 500lb bomb under fuselage and one 250lb bomb under each wing

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 January 2010), Supermarine Seafire F.Mk.45 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_supermarine_seafire_45.html

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