Vickers Supermarine

The final development of the Spitfire
Supermarine Spiteful RB575 shows off its fine lines and wing planform Supermarine Spiteful RB575 shows off its fine lines and wing planform


The Supermarine Type 371 Spiteful was the final land-based development of the Spitfire family. The closely-related Seafang was a naval adaptation and is described separately.
Designed by Joe Smith (The man accreditted with taking the Spritfire into production after the death of RJ Mitchell), the Spiteful retained a Spitfire-like fuselage, married to a new straight-tapered wing with laminar flow wing sections.
In another departure from the Spitfire design, 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 Spitfire XIV fitted with the new wings and was flown on 30th June 1944.
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 jet propulsion resulted in just 19 aircraft being produced.


2 prototype and 17 production aircraft were built as the Spiteful F.XIV.


Spiteful (RB520) had a 2,340 hp Griffon 85 driving a contra-rotating propeller. This aircraft was subsequently converted to become the prototype Seafang, a carrier-based naval version


A one-off prototype F.XVI (RB518) had a Griffon 101 with three-speed supercharger.


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


However, the Admiralty expressed an interest in the aircraft for use as a naval fighter and 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