Supermarine Seafire F.46

The Supermarine Seafire F.Mk.46 was the first version of the Griffon-powered Seafire to be truly suitable for service on aircraft carriers, featuring contra-rotating propellers that solved the handling problems caused by the torque problems introduced with the Griffon.

The Seafire F Mk 46 was based on the Spitfire 22, and so had the bubble canopy and cut-down rear fuselage also seen on the Seafire XVII. It was powered by a Griffon 87 engine that drove two three-bladed contra-rotating propellers (rotating in opposite directions), in a successful attempt to cancel out the engine torque. This greatly improved the aircraft's directional stability, making it much easier to fly.

The first F.Mk.46 made its maiden flight in September 1944, and went for tests in November 1944. These were so successful that despite the lack of folding wings an order was placed for 200 aircraft, to be built at South Marston. Only 24 had been completed before the end of the war and the cancelation of the order. The aircraft that were produced didn't enter service until 1948, and were used for training and trials, before being withdrawn in 1951.

Supermarine Type 388
Engine: Two-stage two-speed supercharged Griffon 61, 62, 64, 85 or 87
Power: 1,540hp
Crew: 1
Wing span: 36ft 11in
Length: 33ft 3in (tail up), 34ft 6in (to tip of arrestor hook)
Height: 11ft 6in (tail up), 12ft 6in (tail down)
Max Speed: 435mph at 24,000ft
Cruising Speed: 40,700ft
Armament: Four Hispano 20mm Mk II cannon
Bomb-load: One 500lb under fuselage; late production could carry eight 3in rocket projectiles, four under each wing

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (29 January 2010), Supermarine Seafire F.46 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_supermarine_seafire_46.html

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