Supermarine Spiteful RB575 shows off its fine lines and wing planform
Supermarine Spiteful RB575 shows off its fine lines and wing planform


The Vickers Supermarine Type 371 Spiteful was the final land-based development of the Spitfire family, built by Vickers Supermarine. The closely-related Vickers Supermarine Seafang was a naval adaptation and is described separately.
Designed by Joe Smith (The man accredited with taking the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire into production after the death of RJ Mitchell), the Vickers Supermarine Spiteful retained a 'Spitfire-like' fuselage, married to a new straight-tapered wing with laminar flow wing sections. In another departure from the design however, the Spiteful was fitted with a wide-track inward-retracting undercarriage.
The type was designed to Specification F.1/43 and the hybrid first prototype (NN660) and was based on a Vickers Supermarine Spitfire XIV, only fitted with the new wings. It was first flown by Jeffery Quill on 30th June 1944. Sadly the prototype was later to crash whilst performing mock-combat although no official reason was ever found for the tragedy which claimed the life of test pilot Frank Furlong.
The second prototype (NN664) flew on 8th January 1945, with the first production Spiteful (RB515) flying in April 1945.


Supermarine Spiteful F.XIV RB523 photographed in April 1946
Supermarine Spiteful F.XIV RB523 photographed in April 1946


150 aircraft were initially ordered although the growing success of new jet propulsion resulted in just 19 of the high performance fighter aircraft being produced.


In total, 2 prototypes and 17 production aircraft were built as the Spiteful F.XIV.


One Vickers Supermarine Spiteful (RB520) had a 2,340 hp Griffon 85 engine fitted, driving a contra-rotating propeller. This aircraft was subsequently converted to become the prototype Vickers Supermarine Seafang, a carrier-based naval version of the type. A one-off prototype F.XVI (RB518) also had a Griffon 101 engine fitted with three-speed supercharger.


In late 1943 / early 1944, Joe Smith suggested a simple design jet-fighter, based around the Spiteful, and utilising a Rolls-Royce engine.  The proposal was accepted and the prototype 'Jet Spiteful' (TS409) flew on 27th July 1946. Unfortunately, it found itself in direct competition with the all-new Gloster Meteor and the De Havilland DH100 Vampire, both of which exhibitted far better performance.  


However, the Admiralty still expressed interest in the aircraft for use as a naval fighter and they issued a specification for what was eventually to become the Vickers Supermarine Attacker.


Specification (F.XIV)

Powerplant One 2,375 hp Rolls-Royce Griffon 69 
Span 35 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight 9,950 lb
Capacity and armament Pilot only, 4 20 mm Hispano cannon, provision for underwing carriage of four 300 lb rockets or two 1,000 lb bombs
Maximum Speed        483 mph at 21,000 ft
Range 564 miles at 240 – 255 mph


Number built

3 Prototypes and 17 Production    
Prototypes & production aircraft (RB515 to RB525, RB527 to
RB531 and RB535).



Survivors                              No examples survive

Other information

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