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Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX in Detail

n by Martin Waligorski
n photos by Martin Waligorski, Mattias Linde and Phillip Treweek

The Improvised Excellence

As is widely known, the Supermarine Spitfire was Britain's premiere fighter throughout the entire war. Pilots found it to be agile and dependable, it was a fine air-combat plane capable of great speed and superior high-altitude performance. From the engineering point of view, perhaps the most remarkable virtue of the Spitfire was its ability to accept updated engines and armaments and stay competitive as the war progressed.

Early 1942 brought the introduction of the superb German Focke-Wulf 190A on the Channel front, which took the RAF by surprise. In initial engagements, this mysterious Luftwaffe aircraft so thoroughly outclassed the best British mount, the newly introduced Spitfire Mk.V that it created a serious morale problem. 

An answer had to be improvised and brought into combat in the shortest possible time. Under the intense pressure from the Ministry of Aircraft Production, Supermarine proposed an interim mark of the Spitfire pending an intended full scale development of the Mk VIII. The result was the Mk IX. The new mark proved vastly superior to the Mk.V in everything except the turn radius. Like a few other British technical improvisations, it lasted a long time, 5665 being built, the second highest number of any Spitfire mark.

The first Spitfire Mk IXs went to No 64 Squadron at Hornchurch in July... the story could continue. The purpose of this essay, however,  is to have a look at this famous Spitfire model from the engineering point of view. There's a lot of enigmatic information about technical configuration of this particular mark. With a very long production run, there had been many small and not-so-small developments introduced on the production line which, although visible, were not reflected in changed type designation. So let's leave the rest of the type history to other (easily available) sources and have a close look at the aircraft itself!  

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX in Detail

There are 35 pictures in all, divided by subject into four sections for easier browsing. The main "hero" of this walkaround session is the Spitfire HF Mk. IXB ser. no. MH 434, G-ASJV owned by the Old Flying Machine Company and currently operated by the Swiss warbird stable of Breitling Fighters. This machine has been photographed during the air display in Uppsala, Sweden in Summer 2001. 

The Airframe

The Powerplant

Wing & Undercarriage details



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