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The Rolls-Royce Griffon Aircraft Engine

The Rolls-Royce Griffon was a pre-war design requested by the Royal Navy, they had requested a increased capacity version of the Merlin. Griffon development was effectively put on hold for the first year of WW2 to allow the Rolls-Royce Merlin to be further developed as fast as possible. The Griffon was larger and more powerful than the Merlin, as the need for more power for fighters like the Spitfire exceeded that which could be coaxed from the Merlin, the Rolls-Royce Griffon was dusted off and further developed in to a practical alternative.

Rolls-Royce Griffon Aircraft Engine


The Rolls-Royce Griffon powered the last of the spitfire variants and was destined to be the Last V12 aero-engine made by Rolls-Royce, the last engine rolling of the production line in 1955 giving way to the jet engine. Although Rolls-Royce Griffon production ceased in 1955 the RAF continued to operate the engine in it's Avro Shackleton long-range maritime patrol aircraft until 1991.

It is of note that a marine version, the Sea Griffon, was developed for RAF high speed launches and production continued for some time after production of the aero-engine ceased.

Aircraft that were powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffon

Avro ShackletonBlackburn B-54CAC CA-15
Folland Fo.108Fairey BarracudaFairey Firefly Mk 4
Martin-Baker MB 5Hawker FuryHawker Tempest
Supermarine SeagullSupermarine SeafangSupermarine Spiteful
Supermarine SeafireFairey Firefly AS5Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV
Supermarine Spitfire Mk XVISupermarine Spitfire Mk XVIIISupermarine Spitfire Mk XIX
Supermarine Spitfire Mk 24  

Griffon 65 Specifications:

  • Type: Supercharged liquid-cooled 60 V12 aircraft piston engine
  • Bore: 6 in (152.5 mm)
  • Stroke: 6.6 in (167.6 mm)
  • Displacement: 2,240 in3 (36.7 L)
  • Length: 81 in (2,057 mm)
  • Width: 30.3 in (770 mm)
  • Height: 46 in (1,168 mm)
  • Dry weight: 1,980 lb (900 kg)
  • Valve-train: Two intake and two exhaust valves per cylinder with sodium-cooled exhaust valve stems, actuated via a single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank.
  • Supercharger: Two-speed, two-stage centrifugal type supercharger, boost pressure automatically linked to the throttle, water-air intercooler installed between the second stage and the engine.
  • Fuel system: Bendix-Stromberg pressure-injection triple-choke up-draught carburettor with automatic mixture control
  • Fuel type: 100 Octane (150 Octane January to May 1945)
  • Oil system: Dry sump with single pressure pump and two scavenge pumps
  • Cooling system: 70% water and 30% ethylene glycol coolant mixture, pressurised. Separate liquid-cooled Intercooler system
  • Reduction gear: 0.51:1, left-hand tractor

Griffon 65 Power output:

  • 2,035 hp (1,520 kW) at 7,000 ft (2,135 m MS gear),[nb 7] +18 psi boost pressure at 2,750 rpm
  • 2,220 hp (1,655 kW) at 11,000 ft (2,135 m MS gear), +21 psi at 2,750 r.p.m using 150 Octane fuel
  • 1,820 hp (1,360 kW) at 21,000 ft (6,400 m) at 2,750 rpm
  • Specific power: 0.91 hp/in3 (41.4 kW/L)
  • Compression ratio: 6:1
  • Power-to-weight ratio: 1.03 hp/lb (1.69 kW/kg)

    Rolls-Royce Griffon Mk 58

    Rolls-Royce Griffon Mk 58 valve-gear

    This picture depicts the four-lobe camshaft on the right-hand cylinder bank of a Rolls-Royce Griffon Mk 58


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