The top section of the engine bulkhead was angled forward, creating a distinctive change of angle to the upper cowling's rear edge. The most fundamental change made to the later Merlin (60, 70, 80 and 100 series) and Griffon engines (60 and 80 series) was the incorporation of a two-stage, two-speed supercharger, which provided a considerable increase in power, especially at higher altitudes. The Mk XIV differed from the Mk XII in that the longer, two-stage supercharged Griffon 65, producing 2,050 hp (1,528 kW), was mounted 10 inches (25.4 cm) further forward. The designers used a system of levers to shorten the undercarriage legs by about 8 in (20 cm) as they retracted, because the longer legs did not have enough space in which to retract; the levers extended the legs as they came down. Vickers Supermarine Spitfire HFVII AB450 prototype in flight Numerically, the most important marks were the MK.I, MK.V, MK.VII, MK.IX and MK.XIV, of which the MK.V (Merlin 45) and MK.IX (with Merlin 61 and two-speed / two-stage supercharger) contributed more than half of the production total. As well as A and B type wings, the Mk V introd… However the new wing gave less than perfect handling characteristics and so the Mk 23 was never built from the Mk 22 airframe as intended. This was the final mark of Spitfire powered by a Griffon 85 driving a five bladed Rotol propeller. 1943–1948 was a transition period during which new aircraft entering service were given Arabic numerals for mark numbers but older aircraft retained their Roman numerals. They had a single 85 gal main fuel tank, giving a short range of little over 380 miles (610 km) on internal fuel. was 1,390 hp (1,036 kW) at 25,900 feet (7,900 m) using + 15 lb/in² of boost.[7][10]. We still had some work to do to improve its longitudinal and directional characteristics, but it was powerful and performed magnificently. Introduced into service in 1946, the F Mk 24 differed greatly from the original Spitfire Mk I, was twice as heavy, more than twice as powerful and showed an increase in climb rate of 80 percent over that of the prototype, 'K5054'. The first Griffon-powered Spitfires suffered from poor high altitude performance due to having only a single stage supercharged engine. The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries before, during and after World War II. In comparative tests with a Mk IX it was 14 mph (23 km/h) faster at sea level, but above 20,000 ft (6,100 m) it had become slower. The oil tank (which had been moved from the lower cowling location of the Merlin engine variants to forward of the fuselage fuel tanks) was increased in capacity from 6 to 10 gal. In May 1955 the remaining F.22s were declared obsolete for all RAF purposes and many were sold back to Vickers-Armstrongs for refurbishment and were then sold to the Southern Rhodesian, Egyptian and Syrian Air Forces. The Spitfire was to be a sort of datum pacemaker – 'Mr Average Contemporary Fighter' – and its job would be to come in last, the real excitement of the proceedings being by how much it would be beaten by the Fw 190 and the Typhoon, and which of these two bright stars would beat the other and by how much. They were extended by eight inches, meaning that with a straighter trailing edge, the wings were not the same elliptical shape as previous Spitfires. The first batch of aircraft to fly with the Griffon 60 series engines were six converted Mk VIIIs JF316 to JF321 which were called Mk VIIIG. Type numbers (such as type 361) are the drawing board design numbers allocated by Supermarine. The Mk.1 Spitfire had a 1,030-hp Merlin II engine and eight Browning 0.303-in machine guns. This article adopts the convention of using Roman numerals for the Mks I–XX and Arabic numerals for the Mks 21–24. Outside on the tarmac at Worthy Down stood the inoffensive-looking but highly potent DP485 ... All went according to plan until, when we were about halfway between Odiham and Farnborough and going flat out, I was beginning to overhaul the Fw 190 and the Typhoon. The lower cowling lost its "pigeon-chested" appearance, with a shallower curve up to the spinner. In operational service many pilots initially found that the new fighter could be difficult to handle, particularly if they were used to earlier Spitfire marks. 329 Squadron RAF was a Royal Air Force fighter squadron founded upon the personnel and traditions of the French 1/2 fighter squadron Storks, having markings "5A" 1944-1945. The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. [40] The last operational sortie by a Mk 19 was in 1963 when one was used in battle trials against an English Electric Lightning to determine how best a Lightning should engage piston-engined aircraft. Bromley, Kent UK. The Supermarine Spitfire was developed in the mid-1930s as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by chief designer R. J. Mitchell. The majority of Spitfires, from the Mk VIII on, used C, D and E wing types. Unless otherwise noted, all Griffon-engined Spitfire variants used the strengthened … These figures were only true to the first prototypes, as serial production examples were fitted with a Griffon 65 with different supercharger gearing. 4 × 20 mm Hispano V cannon; 175 rpg inboard, 150 rpg outboard, 2 × 250 lb (110 kg) with 1 × 500 lb (230 kg) bomb, 2 × 20 mm Hispano II: late Seafire IIIs Hispano V cannon; 120 rpg. Some Spitfires of one mark or variant may have been modified to another; for example, several of the first Mk VBs were converted from Mk IBs; the first Mk IXs were originally Mk VCs. It combined features of the Mk XI with the Griffon engine of the Mk XIV. A total of 287 Mk 22s were built: 260 at Castle Bromwich and 27 by Supermarine at South Marston. Due to the many differences in production Spitfires, performance could vary widely, even between aircraft with the same Mark number. Animated 3D model VB Specifications Supermarine Spitfire Mk VB Except for the first two variants of the Supermarine Spitfire (the Mk I and 2), it is a remarkable fact that the most used and, generally, the most successful variants of this fighter were those originally developed as ‘stop gap’ types. There were also zero-point fittings for rocket projectiles under the wings. [50], Media related to Supermarine Spitfire Mark 24 at Wikimedia Commons. In these engines the carburettor injected fuel at 5 psi through a nozzle direct into the supercharger and the compressed air—fuel mixture was then directed to the cylinders. The British Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most outstanding fighter aircraft of the Second World War.The basic airframe proved to be extremely adaptable, capable of taking far more powerful engines and far greater loads than its original role as a short-range interceptor had allowed for. The debut of the formidable Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in late 1941 had caused problems for RAF fighter squadrons flying the latest Spitfire Mk Vb. 2 × 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannon with 120 rounds-per-gun (rpg) in the outer bays combined with 2 ×, 4 × 20 mm Hispano cannon with 120 rpg (this configuration was rarely fitted.). It certainly put the cat among the pigeons and among the VIPs. In keeping with company convention, the Griffon was named after a bird of prey, in this case the griffon vulture. "Your exciting Journey into digital world of aviation starts " There were eventually 26 variants of Spitfire, not including the carrier based version, the Supermarine Seafire. Spitfire Performance Testing, Last Viewed: 16 January 2014. For example, the Merlin II and III which powered the Spitfire I produced a maximum of 1,030 hp (770 kW) using the 87 octane aviation fuel which was generally available from 1938 through to 1941; from early 1940 increasing supplies of 100 octane fuel allowed the maximum power to be increased to 1,310 hp (977 kW) with an increased supercharger boost pressure, albeit for a maximum time limit of 5 minutes. The Royal Navy, noting both the success of the Spitfire in land-based service, and also the success of their own Sea Hurricanes, ordered the production of the Seafire, a carrier-based version of the Spitfire. The undercarriage legs also had a 7.75 in (19.7 cm) wider track to help improve ground handling. [29]. The Griffon variants were manufactured in fewer numbers to its Merlin counterpart, in a batch of around 79 aircraft which were delivered in 1945. The F Mk 24 achieved a maximum speed of 454 mph (731 km/h) and could reach an altitude of 30,000 ft (9,100 m) in eight minutes, putting it on a par with the most advanced piston-engined fighters of the era. The many changes were made in order to fulfill Royal Air Force requirements and to successfully engage in combat with ever-improving enemy aircraft. Spitfire F Mk XIIs of 41 Sqn. The Merlin III produced 1,030 hp (770 kW) at +6¼lb/in² (43 kPa) of "boost" (the "boost" is the pressure to which the air/fuel mixture is compressed before being fed to the cylinders). Its handling was also nearly identical and so it was not put through any performance tests. All this meant that the throttle needed to be handled judiciously on take-off but, once in the air, the aeroplane had a great feeling of power about it; it seemed to be the airborne equivalent of a very powerful sports car and was great fun to fly. When 150 octane fuel was introduced in mid-1944 the "boost" of the Griffon engine was able to be increased to +25 lbs (80.7"), allowing the top speed to be increased by about 30 mph (26 kn; 48 km/h) to 400 mph (350 kn; 640 km/h) at 2,000 ft (610 m). The intercooler, which was separate from the engine cooling system with its own supply of glycol and water coolant, was mounted in the induction system, between the outlet of the second-stage supercharger and behind the cylinder blocks. Unlike the Merlin engines the Griffons used superchargers which were designed to achieve maximum performance over a wider altitude band; as such there were no Griffon engined L.F. or H.F. Spitfire variants. Media related to Supermarine Spitfire Mark XIV at Wikimedia Commons. [3] The limitation of the single stage supercharger was that the maximum power dropped quickly as higher altitudes were reached; because air pressure and air density decreases with altitude the efficiency of a piston engine drops because of the reduction in the weight of air[nb 1] that can be drawn into the engine; for example the air density, at 30,000 feet (9,100 m) is 1/3 of that at sea level, thus only 1/3 of the amount of air can be drawn into the cylinder and only 1/3 of the fuel can be burnt. [46], Media related to Supermarine Spitfire Mark 22 at Wikimedia Commons, The Mk 22 was identical to the Mk 21 in all respects except for the cut-back rear fuselage, with the tear-drop canopy, and a more powerful 24 volt electrical system in place of the 12 volt system of all earlier Spitfires. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced … Conclusions The critical trimming characteristics reported on the production Spitfire 21 have been largely eliminated by the modifications carried out to this aircraft. The wings were redesigned with a new structure and thicker-gauge light alloy skinning. [21] [22]. These remarkable increases in performance arose chiefly from the introduction of the Rolls-Royce Griffon engine in place of the famous Merlin of earlier variants. It was widely used as an aircraft, naval and land-based weapon by French, British, American and other military services, particularly during World War II. Jeffrey Quill commented that, The AFDU were quite right to criticise the handling of the Mark 21 ... Where they went terribly wrong was to recommend that all further development of the Spitfire family should cease. The first trial installation of the installation (modification 1029) was made in BS118, a Mark XI in November 1943. This information was needed in case RAF Lightnings might have to engage P-51 Mustangs in the Indonesian conflict of the time. No further attempts should be made to perpetuate the Spitfire family. Although designed as a fighter-interceptor aircraft, the Spitfire proved its versatility in other roles. This wing entered service on the Spitfire XXI. Suddenly I saw sparks and black smoke coming from the Fw 190's exhaust ... and I shot past him and never saw him again. ... and this was transmitted to the rear propeller (which was rotating in the opposite direction) through the transitional bearing mechanism. As a fighter, the F Mk 24 armament consisted of 4 × short-barrelled Mk.5 20 mm Hispano cannon – operational experience had proved that the hitting power of these larger weapons was necessary to overcome the thicker armour encountered on enemy aircraft as the war progressed. [12]. In the case of the Merlin II/III, XII and 40 series as the air was being compressed it was mixed with fuel which was fed through an SU carburettor before being fed into the engine's cylinders. It is notable that throughout the entire development process, which took place over twelve years, from 1935 through to 1948, there were no outstanding failures of the basic design: this is a real testament to the original genius of Reginald J. Mitchell, his successor Joseph Smith, and the design teams they led.[1]. The type has the distinction of being the first jet fighter to enter operational service with the FAA. The Supermarine Seafang was a British Rolls-Royce Griffon–engined fighter aircraft designed by Supermarine to Air Ministry specification N.5/45. "Spitfire: Simply Superb part three" Air International Volume 28, Number 4, April 1985. Up to 2 × 250 lb (110 kg) bombs (wing racks), plus 1 × 500 lb (230 kg) bomb (centre-section rack). Late in 1944 a number of high-back full-span Mk XIVEs were converted by the Forward Repair Unit (FRU) to have a single camera fitted, facing to port or starboard; a conversion identical to that used on the FRU-converted FR Mk IXC. The first Mk XIXs entered service in May 1944, and by the end of the war the type had virtually replaced the earlier Mk XI. The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries during and after the Second World War. Handling, however, was considered to be better than previous Spitfire marks, and the clipped wings conferred excellent manoeuvrability through enhanced aileron response. Media related to Supermarine Spitfire Mark XII at Wikimedia Commons, The Mk XII was the first Spitfire powered by a Griffon engine to go into service. The final development was the SU injection carburettor which injected fuel into the supercharger using a fuel pump driven as a function of crankshaft speed and engine pressures; although this was fitted to the 100 series Merlins, which were not used in production Spitfires, it was used in the Griffon 60 and 80 series. It had a new wing design, to improve its critical Mach number and allow safe operations at higher speeds. The new design also had a modern inwards-retracting undercarriage. The squadron had little opportunity to engage the Luftwaffe before the war ended but scored a rare success on 26 April 1945, when two Spitfire Mk 21s shot up and claimed to have sunk a German midget submarine which they caught on the surface. The pitch control mechanism controlled the pitch on the front propeller. Since it had diverged considerably from the Typhoon, it was renamed Tempest. The aircraft was also used as a fighter-bomber, carrying 1 × 500 lb (230 kg) and 2 × 250 lb (110 kg) bombs, with rocket-projectile launch rails fitted as standard. The Rolls-Royce Griffon engine was designed in answer to Royal Naval specifications for an engine capable of generating good power at low altitudes. The standard armament was now four 20mm Hispano IIs or the shorter, lighter Hispano V cannons, each with 150 rounds per gun. The Mk 18 was a refinement of the Mk XIV. The most reliable performance figures and weight measurements came from the tests carried out throughout the Second World War by the Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) based at Boscombe Down. [43]. The Spitfire continues to be popular among enthusiasts; nearly 60 remain airworthy, and many more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world. To ensure sufficient ground clearance for the new propeller, the undercarriage legs were lengthened by 4.5 in (11 cm). However 12 squadrons of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force used the variant and continued to do so until March 1951. This would lead to 19 marks of Spitfire and 52 sub-varia… [2], These were specifically made for the Photo-Reconnaissance Spitfires, including the PR XIX; no armament was fitted and the "D" shaped leading edges of the wings ahead of the main spar, were converted into integral fuel tanks, each carrying 66 gallons. The Mk XII flew operationally with their rounded wingtips replaced by shorter, squared off fairings; the single-stage supercharger of the Griffon II or IV used in the Mk XIIs meant that it was rated and used as a low altitude fighter, and the LF prefix used by Merlin-powered Spitfires was never applied. Media related to Supermarine Spitfire Mark 21 at Wikimedia Commons By early 1942, it was evident that Spitfires powered by the new two-stage supercharged Griffon 61 engine would need a much stronger airframe and wings. Some of the squadron's aircraft went to the Hong Kong Auxiliary Air Force where they were operated until 1955. Spitfire L.F Mk Vb of 316(Polish) "Warszawski" Squadron. The Griffon IIB which powered the Mk IV was a single-stage supercharged engine of 1,735 hp (1,293 kW). Some aircraft had less than five hours flying time. "A British Masterpiece." [2], The undercarriage mountings were redesigned and the undercarriage doors were bowed in cross section allowing the legs to sit lower in the wells, eliminating the upper-wing blisters over the wheel wells and landing gear pivot points. The basic airframe proved to be extremely adaptable, capable of taking far more powerful engines and far greater loads than its original role as a short-range interceptor had called for. ... there was somewhat less ground clearance, resulting in a slight reduction in propeller diameter; the power available for take-off was much greater; and the engine RPM were lower than in the Merlin. Most of the Mk 22s were built with enlarged tail surfaces, similar to those of the Supermarine Spiteful. The majority of Spitfires, from the Mk VIII on, used three basic wing types — the C through to the E types. II which, it was decided, would be the first version to be produced exclusively by the huge new Nuffield “shadow” factory at Castle Bromwich. The modified, hand-built wing was first fitted to a Mk VIII JG204 which was tested from July 1944. Media related to Supermarine Spitfire Mark XIX at Wikimedia Commons The Mk XIX was the last and most successful photographic reconnaissance variant of the Spitfire. Stronger main longerons were needed to cope with the weight of the Griffon and it required a bigger radiator and oil cooler, although it kept the asymmetric under-wing radiator layout of the single stage Merlin marks. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced … a8x .303 inch (7.7 mm) Browningmachine guns, 300 rounds/gun b2x 20 mm Hispano HS.404 cannons, 60 rounds/gun 4x .303 inch (7.7 mm) Browning M1919machine guns, 350 rounds/gun c- universal wing allowing either "a," "b," or 4x 20 mm Hispano HS.404 cannon armament. The intercooler also circulated coolant through passages in the supercharger casing and between the impellers. [39]. This, though not ideal, produced a very marked improvement in directional characteristics and we were able to introduce minor changes thereafter and by various degrees of trimmer tab and balance tab to reach an acceptable degree of directional stability and control. Many variants of the Spitfire were… The larger diameter four-spoke main wheels were strengthened to cope with the greater weights; post-war these were replaced by wider, reinforced three spoke wheels to allow Spitfires to operate from hard concrete or asphalt runways. As an example, the maximum power generated by the Merlin 61 was 1,565 hp (1,167 kW) at 12,250 feet (3,730 m) (critical altitude) at M.S. Supermarine Spitfire variants: specifications, performance and armament — Spitfire Role Fighter Manufacturer Supermarine Designer R. J. Mitchell First flight 5 March 1936 Introduction 1938 Retired 1955, RAF Primary user Royal Air Force … Wikipedia F Mk IIc its multitude of variants Spitfire VIIIs. Factors such as weight, external fittings, airframe and engine condition, among others, influenced how an aircraft performed. 4 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns, 350 rpg. The use of these prefixes did not change according to the wings, which could be fitted with "clipped" tips, reducing the wingspan to about 32 ft 6 in (9.9 m) (this could vary slightly), or the "pointed" tips which increased the wingspan to 40 ft 2 in (12.29 m). https://military.wikia.org/wiki/Supermarine_Spitfire_variants:_specifications,_performance_and_armament?oldid=4790233, 1,030 hp (770 kW) at 16,000 ft (4,877 m) 87 Octane fuel, +6 lb/in² boost, 1,135 hp (846 kW) at 12,250 ft (3,734 m) 100 Octane fuel, +9 pounds lb/in² boost, 1,470 hp (1,096 kW) at 11,000 ft (3,353 m), 1,585 hp (1,181 kW) at 3,800 ft (1,158 m), 1,415 hp (1,054 kW) at 14,000 ft (4,267 m), 367 mph (582 km/h) at 18,600 ft (5,669 m), 354 mph (570 km/h) at 17,550 ft (5,349 m), 371 mph (597 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,096 m), 350.5 mph (564 km/h) at 5,900 ft (6,096 m), 354 mph (570 km/h) at 17,400 ft (5,349 m), 2,175 ft/min (11.0 m/s) at 9,700 ft (2,956 m), 2,995 ft/min (15.3 m/s) at 10,000 ft (3,962 m), 3,250 ft/min (16.5 m/s) at 15,000 ft (4,572 m), 1,350 ft/min (13.5 m/s) at 28,000 ft (4,267 m), 1,530 mi (2,462 km) with 170 Imp gal (204 US gal) drop tank. Spitfire IX: Temporary stop gap marriage of uprated two stage engine, Merlin 61, 63, 66 or 70 with the Mk V airframe. The cannon is also referred to as Birkigt type 404, after its designer Marc Birkigt and later versions based on British development are known as 20 mm Hispano. The fighter's maximum range was just a little over 460 miles (740 km) on internal fuel, since the new Griffon engine consumed much more fuel per hour than the original Merlin engine of earlier variants. "Johnnie" Johnson it was the best conventional defensive fighter of the war. [18]. Although the first version of the Seafire, the Seafire Ib, was a straight adaptation of the Spitfire Vb, successive variants incorporated much needed strengthening of the basic structure of the airframe and equipment changes in order to survive the demanding maritime environment. Because it was used mainly at low altitudes the "production" FR Mk XIVE had clipped wingtips. Some 300 F Mk 18s and FR Mk 18s were built, before production ended in early 1946. The Mk 22 was also used at Flying refresher schools. Griffon-powered variants of the Supermarine Spitfire. Air International (article). Starting in early 1945 most Spitfire Mk XIVs also used clipped wingtips, mainly in an effort to reduce wrinkling of the wing's skin; again the LF prefix was not applied to these aircraft. [4], The Hispano Mk.II cannons were now belt fed from box magazines allowing for 120 rpg (the "Chattellerault" system). The original Merlin and Griffon engine designs used single-stage superchargers. Media related to Supermarine Spitfire Mark XVIII at Wikimedia Commons. One feature of the Griffon engine which was to catch a lot of pilots out was that the propeller rotated in the opposite direction to that of the Merlin; i.e.,: to the left, from the pilot's perspective, rather than to the right. It is considered that the modifications to the Spitfire 21 make it a satisfactory combat aircraft for the average pilot. All had the larger "Spiteful" tail units; modifications were also made to the trim tab gearings to perfect the F Mk 24's handling. A contemporary of the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane, it was the first single-seat, twin-engined, cannon-armed fighter of the Royal Air Force. Even with full aileron, elevator and rudder, this brute of a fighter took off slightly sideways. 57 Related Articles [filter] Supermarine Spitfire. ". The British Supermarine Spitfire was one of the most popular fighter aircraft of the Second World War. Barbic, Vlasco. The Mk XIV assemblies produced by the Vickers-Armstrongs Supermarine factories at Aldermaston, Chattis Hill, Keevil, Southampton and Winchester appeared in two versions: the F Mk XIV fighter version and the FR.Mk XIV for fighter-reconnaissance work at low altitude. The cowling fasteners were new, flush fitting "Amal" type and there were more of them. LA201's poor flight control qualities during trials in late 1944 and early 1945, led to a damning report from the Air Fighting Development Unit, ...it must be emphasised that although the Spitfire 21 is not a dangerous aircraft to fly, pilots must be warned ... in its present state it is not likely to prove a satisfactory fighter. (article and images). This wing was structurally modified to reduce labour and manufacturing time plus it was designed to allow mixed armament options, A type, B type or four 20 mm Hispano cannon. The Spitfire was the only British plane to be in constant production before, during and after World War II. The last 45 or so Mk XIIs, were based on Mk VIIIs with two wing fuel tanks, each containing a maximum fuel load of 14 gal, and featured the larger horn balances, retractable tailwheel and undercarriage legs with torque-links, "dished" leg fairings and the stronger Dunlop AH10019 four spoke wheels. "A Case For Standardisation: Puzzle of the Boost Gauge; British Unit an Anachronism: "Centibar" Suggested" (article and images). The majority of Spitfires, from the Mk VIII on, used C, D and E wing types. [27] [28]. A total of 225 were built with production ceasing in early 1946, but they were used in front line RAF service until April 1954. In the end it was a slightly modified engine, the 65 series, which was used in the Mk XIV. After the first 25 (type 389s) were produced, later aircraft were also fitted with the pressurised cabin of the Mk X and the fuel capacity was increased to 256 gallons, three-and-a-half times that of the original Spitfire This version was the type 390. The Supermarine Spiteful was a British Rolls-Royce Griffon-engined fighter aircraft designed by Supermarine to Air Ministry specification F.1/43 during the Second World War as a successor to the Spitfire. This engine included a Coffman cart… Spitfire XIVs began to arrive in the South-East Asian Theatre in June 1945, too late to operate against the Japanese. [30], F Mk XIVs had a total of 109.5 gal of fuel consisting of 84 gal in two main tanks and a 12.5 imp gal fuel tank in each leading edge wing tank; other 30, 45, 50 or 90 gal drop tanks could be carried. [45] In 1946 forty Spitfire 21s were delivered to Shoeburyness; once there their leading edges were removed and destroyed in "lethality" tests. SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and other Allied countries before, during and after World War II. [43]. The early Spitfire variants powered by the Rolls-Royce Griffon were adaptations of Mk VC (early Mk XII) or Mark VIII (late Mk XII and Mk XIV) airframes. The hot air—fuel mixture from the supercharger was circulated though and around the coolant tubes and was then passed on to the main induction manifold through which it was fed into the cylinders. Post-war, the Spitfire's service career continued into the 1950s. Mark XVI or Mark 16 often refers to the 16th version of a product, frequently military hardware. In 1951, Hainan Island (People's Republic of China) was targeted at the behest of US Naval Intelligence for RAF overflights, using Spitfire PR Mk 19s based at Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong. The British Supermarine Spitfire was the only Allied fighter aircraft of the Second World War to fight in front line service from the beginnings of the conflict, in September 1939, through to the end in August 1945.