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Why Couldn't The Spitfire Be Modified To Be A Long Range Escort?

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  • swerve
    Rank 5 Registered User
    • Jun 2005
    • 13610

    #61
    Thread necromancy, I know, but I came across this - Escort Spitfire - a missed opportunity for longer reach?

    Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere.
    Justinian

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    • Graham Boak
      Rank 5 Registered User
      • Nov 2008
      • 953

      #62
      It was shown by RR aerodynamicists that with the same engine the Mustang would be 50mph faster than the Spitfire. This is described in the RRHT book on the Mustang with a Merlin. That's a fairly definitive (if possibly somewhat exaggerated) indication that the drag was lower but some time ago modern com[puter modelling work was done on the Mustang, Spitfire and Bf109 which clearly showed that the P-51 was superior in this respect. It was reported in the RAeS Journal, if you want to dig out the report.

      The Spitfire could however dive faster than either because the thinner wing gave it a considerably higher critical Mach number.

      I've just re-read this thread, and no-one has pointed out that one very good reason for not spending effort on pushing the Spitfire to what would have been an extreme state was that the RAF had already ordered large numbers of a long range fighter. Namely, the Mustang. That Merlin Mustang production was largely prioritised to support the 8th AF was one of those decisions that probably was wiser in the overall picture. They were more needed there, than in the RAF.
      Last edited by Graham Boak; 27th November 2018, 08:35. Reason: Original wording was 50%: thank you John Green for pointing out the absurdity of it.

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      • John Green
        Rank 5 Registered User
        • Mar 2011
        • 6643

        #63
        "....50% faster than the Spitfire....."

        ".....somewhat exaggerated...." That's an understatement if ever there was one ! So comparing like for like, for example the P-51D and the Griffon Mk.X1V both, operational at more or less the same time, the P-51 would deliver a level flight true speed corrected, of something in excess of 650 mph !! Crikey, who needed jets ?

        One other point; from the Mk 1X onwards, the Spitfire was superior to the Anglo American Mustang in the climb.

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        • Duggy
          Flight SIM Pilot
          • Mar 2012
          • 1133

          #64
          "In the US, two Mk IXs were experimentally fitted with Mustang 62-gallon underwing drop tanks. These were of metal construction and of teardrop form. The Aircraft & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Boscombe Down tested the jettison properties of this tank from the Spitfire. At 250 mph, the tanks jettisoned cleanly but at 300 mph the tail of the tank rose sharply and struck the underside of the wing heavily enough to dent the skin."



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          • bazv
            olde rigger
            • Feb 2005
            • 5875

            #65
            Good to see that the 'Spitfire' Forum is alive and well
            How many Spitfire threads on the front page ? LOL

            Comment

            • QldSpitty
              Rank 5 Registered User
              • Apr 2006
              • 2620

              #66
              It was the P51,s wing NACA numbers that gave the range.Not as manouverable as the Spit though in the turn but great in a straight line..
              How many Spitfire threads on the front page ? LOL
              Not enough
              "If the C.O. ask's you to be Tail End Charlie...just shoot him!!!....A Piece of Cake.
              http://spitfirea58-27.blogspot.com.au/

              Comment

              • bazv
                olde rigger
                • Feb 2005
                • 5875

                #67
                Please everybody - read the whole thread before you comment on the resurrection - all salient points have already been covered

                If you were brave enough to fly a Spitfire in this fuel configuration

                Spitfire Mk9

                96gal (main) +75 gal (rear fuse) + 45gal (drop) = 216 imp gallons

                P51 D

                180 USG (wing/main) + 85 USG (rear fuse) + 220 USG (drops) = 485 USG = 404 imp Gallons

                You really do not need to be a Rocket scientist to work out the A/C with the longer range LOL

                Comment

                • Graham Boak
                  Rank 5 Registered User
                  • Nov 2008
                  • 953

                  #68
                  Sorry John (and others) you are quite right about the RR estimate. That was finger trouble on my part and it should have said 50mph. I shall go edit it. I have seen it said, with what justification I don't know, that Boscombe were unable to match claims for the top speed of the P-51B, but that still means it was faster than the Spitfire.

                  Olde Rigger; The Spitfire Mk.IX only had a 65gall main tank. The Mk.VIII had a 90gall main tank and another 23 gallons in the wing leading edges, but was never fitted with aft tanks. Details which do not affect your main point.

                  Comment

                  • bazv
                    olde rigger
                    • Feb 2005
                    • 5875

                    #69
                    Hi Graham - there were various mod standards of Spitfire fuel systems - this should make interesting reading


                    Click image for larger version  Name:	Spit Fuel system.JPG Views:	1 Size:	180.9 KB ID:	3842011

                    Comment

                    • bazv
                      olde rigger
                      • Feb 2005
                      • 5875

                      #70
                      Fuel system diagram

                      Click image for larger version

Name:	Spitfire Fuel 2.JPG
Views:	47
Size:	211.1 KB
ID:	3842013

                      Comment

                      • John Green
                        Rank 5 Registered User
                        • Mar 2011
                        • 6643

                        #71
                        Graham, My fault, I should have realised that it was a typo !

                        I came across the following:

                        January 1944, the Air Fighting Development Unit at Wittering, conducted some performance trials between the Mk. X1V, the Tempest V and the Anglo American Mustang 111,the FW 190 and Me 109G.

                        Comparison with the Mustang 111, showed that the maximum level flight speeds were practically identical. In the climb, the Spitfire was better. In the dive, the Mustang pulls away slightly. Turning; the Spitfire is better. Roll rate; the Spitfire is better.

                        Comment

                        • Graham Boak
                          Rank 5 Registered User
                          • Nov 2008
                          • 953

                          #72
                          Yes thanks, a very useful source although it does exclude the cigar-shaped tank often carried on the Continent - unless that more tapered shape in the diagram is meant to include the stubbier one. As I understand it the aft tanks were only introduced near the end of 1944, and were rejected by Fighter Command (ADGB?) because of the stability problems, and their understandable judgement that there was no purpose in flying out further than they could fly back on internal fuel after combat (which is behind my earlier comment that the Mk.VIII would have been better than the Mk.IX - not only more internal fuel but ahead of the aerodynamic centre and thus stabilising). The aft tanks did however prove useful with 2 TAF where the centreline position could be used for a bomb so the aft tanks served the same purpose as a centreline tank - i.e. use first. The real answer was the larger tail and tailplane which was eventually introduced on the Mk.22, by which time any need for long range had disappeared and the use of aft tanks was actually banned on those aircraft fitted with them.

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