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Supermarine Attacker

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Type Naval fighter
Manufacturer Supermarine
Maiden flight 27 July 1946
Introduced August 1951
Retired FAA 1954
RNVR 1957
PAF 1960s
Primary users Fleet Air Arm
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Pakistan Air Force
Number built 183
Developed from Supermarine Spiteful

The Supermarine Attacker was a British single-seat naval jet fighter built by Supermarine for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm (FAA). It was the FAA's first jet fighter.

Design and development

The Attacker developed from a Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jet project, the E.10/44. The project was intended to be an interim fighter for the RAF while another aircraft, the Gloster E.1/44 (intended to be an improvement on the Gloster Meteor) was developed. Both were rejected by the RAF, and it was the Gloster Meteor and the de Havilland Vampire which were the RAF's first two operational jet aircraft. In response, Supermarine offered a navalised version of the project to the Admiralty. The prototype Attacker, Prototype 392, was first flown on the 27 July 1946, by test pilot Jeffrey Quill.

The design of the Attacker used the laminar flow straight-wings of the Supermarine Spiteful , a piston-engined fighter intended to replace the legendary Supermarine Spitfire, and the Attacker was originally referred to as the "Jet Spiteful". The Attacker suffered from a number of deficiencies which led to it quickly being superseded, one being that the aircraft retained the Spiteful's tail-wheel undercarriage, due to the extent of the re-tooling that would have been required to alter the Spiteful's wing, rather than a nose-wheel undercarriage, thus making the Attacker more difficult to land on aircraft carriers. This same tail-down attitude meant that during operations off grass airfields the jet exhaust would create a long furrow in the ground that 'three men could lie-down in'.[1].

The first navalised prototype flew on the 17 June 1947 flown by test pilot Mike Lithgow, three years after the Meteor had made its first flight. Production orders for the FAA were placed in November 1949. The first production aircraft to take to the skies was the F.1 variant in 1950, entering service with the FAA in August 1951 with the first squadron being 800 Naval Air Squadron. The F.1s armament consisted of four Hispano 20 mm cannons, with 125 rounds per gun. It was powered by a single Rolls-Royce Nene Mk. 101 turbojet engine.

Operational history

The Attacker had a brief career with the Fleet Air Arm, not seeing any action during her time with the FAA and being taken out of first-line service in 1954. It remained in service with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) for a little while longer; taken out of service in 1956. The Attacker was replaced by the more capable Hawker Sea Hawk and de Havilland Sea Venom. The Attacker was only exported to one country; Pakistan. Between 1952-53, thirty-six Attackers were sold to the Pakistani Air Force (PAF). The aircraft was eventually replaced in the PAF in the 1960s.


Two more variants of the Supermarine Attacker were built for the FAA. The FB.1 was a fighter-bomber which differed little from the F.1 except that it was expected to operate as a ground attack aircraft. The third, and last, variant of the Attacker was the FB.2 which introduced a new Rolls-Royce Nene engine and modifications to its structure. The Supermarine Attacker now had eight underwing pylons which could carry two 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs or eight unguided rockets. Over 100 Attackers would eventually be built for the Fleet Air Arm.




Specifications (F.1)

Template:Aircraft specification

See also

Related development



  1. Gunston, W., "Fighters of the Fifites - Vickers-Supermarine Attacker", Aeroplane Monthly, March 1975, p 130)
  2. Fleet Air Arm Museum Retrieved: 27 February 2008
  3. Pakistan Air Force Museum Attacker page Retrieved: 27 February 2007


  • Birtles, Philip. Supermarine Attacker, Swift and Scimitar (Postwar Military Aircraft 7). London: Ian Allan, 1992. ISBN 0-7110-2034-5.
  • Quill, Jeffrey (OBE, AFC, FRAeS). Spitfire - A Test Pilot’s Story. London: Arrow Books, 1989. ISBN 0-09-937020-4.

External links

Template:Supermarine aircraft Template:British military aircraft since World War II

de:Supermarine Attacker es:Supermarine Attacker it:Supermarine Attacker ja:スーパーマリン アタッカー pl:Supermarine Attacker

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Supermarine Attacker".