Picture of Supermarine Spitfire VIIIc WW2 Fighter
During late 1941 a new variant of the Spitfire, the VIII was designed around the new variant of the Rolls Royce Merlin, the 1,560 hp Merlin 61. To handle the increased size, weight and power of the new two stage supercharged engine a new strengthened fuselage was developed, to reduce drag a retracting tail-wheel was added and to allow for increased fuel usage a 14 gallon self-sealing fuel tank was fitted in each wing, development however takes time and the introduction of the Fw 190 in September 1942 created an immediate problem, it was apparent that the Fw 190 outclassed the current RAF's Mk V Spitfires and the VIII could not be be made operational for another nine months.
As a "quick fix" a Mk V fuselage with the bare minimum of changes was rapidly built fitted with the Merlin 61 and designated the Mk IX, this hastily modified aircraft proved to be so successful that when Spitfire VIII production finally began in June 1943 it was not needed by the RAF in the home theatre resulting in only 1,654 Mk VIIIs being built, these serving predominantly with the RAF, USAAF, RAAF and SAAF in the Mediterranean and Far East.
Supermarine Spitfire VIIIc Armament:
- Two Hispano 20mm cannons
- Four Browning .303 machine guns
Supermarine Spitfire VIIIc Specifications:
- Crew: Pilot only
- Wing Span: 36 feet 10 inches
- Length: 32 feet 2 inches
- Height: 11 feet 8 inches
- Engine: Single 1,720 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 66
- Mimum takeoff weight: 7,767 Lbs
- Maximum speed: 404 mph
- Range with external external fuel tanks: 1,180 miles
- Service ceiling: 41,500 feet
It is of note that the Spitfire VIII first saw active service with RAF 145 Squadron based in Malta replacing their Spitfire Mk Vb's and was also flown by the USAAF until replaced by the mustang, in the Far East it outclassed the fighters of the Japanese Army Air Force and drove them from the skies over the Arakan.
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Supermarine Spitfire VIIIc WW2 Fighter Picture and Information