The Supermarine Seafire Mk.XV was the first variant powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. Designed to Spec. N.4/43, the first of six prototypes flew in November 1943 and the manufacture of all of the 384 production aircraft was dispersed to Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft Ltd. at Eastleigh, Hampshire and Westland Aircraft Ltd. at Yeovil, Somerset. The last aircraft were delivered in October 1945.
Fitted with folding wings for storage below deck on aircraft carriers, the Mk.XV was the first Seafire to have a retractable tail wheel; provision for rocket-assisted take-off gear was also made in later aircraft. The œsting� type arrester hook was standard on all but the first 50 aircraft, superseding the earlier œA-frame� type on most naval aircraft.
The Seafire Mk.XV first entered service with No.802NAS at the Royal Naval Air Station Arbroath, Scotland, in May 1945. Seafire Mk.XVs served with nine front-line Royal Navy squadrons and three RN Volunteer Reserve squadrons. Surplus Seafire Mk.XVs were supplied to the Royal Canadian Navy, French Aeronavale and (in a de-navalised version) to the Union of Burma Air Force.
The Griffon VI engine gave a maximum speed of 623km/h (387mph) at 4,115m (13,500ft). Range with internal fuel was 692km (430 miles). Wingspan: 11.22m (36ft 10in.) Length: 9.83m (32ft 3in.)
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