Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Attacker developed from a Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jet project, the E10//44 . The project was intended to be an interim fighter for the RAF while another aircraft, being made by Gloster, was developed. Both were rejected by the RAF, with the Gloster Meteor and Vampire aircraft becoming the RAF's first two operational jet types. In response, Supermarine offered a navalised version of the project to the Admiralty.
The design of the Attacker used the 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 The Attacker suffered from a number of deficiencies which led to it quickly being superseded, one being that the aircraft retained the Spiteful's tail-wheel undercarriage, (due to the extent of the re-tooling that would have been required to alter the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. Because of the tail-down attitude, on a grass airfield the Attacker's engine jet-efflux would create a long furrow in the ground that three men could lie-down in.
The first navalised prototype first flew in June 1947, three years after the RAF's Gloster Meteor had made its first flight. The first production aircraft to take to the skies was the F.1 in 1950, entering service with the FAA the following year; its first squadron being No. 800 NAS . The F.1s armament consisted of four Hispano 20 mm cannons. It was powered by a single Rolls-Royce Nene Mk. 101 turbojet engine.
Two more variants of the Supermarine Attacker were built for the FAA. The FB.1 was a fighter-bomber which only differed from the F.1 in that a ground-attack role was introduced to it. 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 pylons capable of being armed with two 1000 lb (450 kg) bombs and eight unguided rockets. Over 100 Attackers would eventually be built for the Fleet Air Arm.
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) service for a little while longer; it was taken out of service in 1956. The Attacker was replaced by the more capable Hawker Sea Hawk and de Havilland Sea Venom jets in the Fleet Air Arm. The Attacker was only exported to one country, Pakistan. Between 1952-53, just over thirty Attackers were sold to the Pakistani Air Force (PAF). The aircraft was eventually replaced in the PAF by the 1960s.
- Crew: 1
- Length: m ( ft)
- Wingspan: m ( ft)
- Height: m ( ft)
- Wing area: m² ( ft²)
- Empty: kg ( lb)
- Loaded: kg ( lb)
- Maximum takeoff: kg ( lb)
- Powerplant: Rolls Royce Nene, kN (lbf) thrust
- Maximum speed: 590 mph (950 km/h)
- Range: 1200 miles (1900 km)
- Service ceiling: m ( ft)
- Rate of climb: m/min ( ft/min)
Squadrons that operated the Supermarine Attacker
- Fleet Air Arm
- No. 767 NAS
- No. 800 NAS
- N0. 803 NAS
- Pakistani Air Force
- No. 11 Squadron
- Jeffrey Quill OBE, AFC, FRAeS Spitfire - A Test Pilotís Story - Arrow Books 1983-89 - ISBN 0-09-937020-4
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