The Super marine 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 the Second World War. The Spitfire was built in many variants, using several wing configurations, and was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft. It was also the only British fighter to be in continuous production throughout the war.
The Spitfire was designed as a short-range, high-performance interceptor aircraft by R. J. Mitchell, chief designer at Super marine Aviation Works, which operated as a subsidiary of Vickers-Armstrong from 1928. In accordance with its role as an interceptor, Mitchell supported the development of Spitfire’s distinctive elliptical wing, designed by B. Shenstone, to have the thinnest possible cross-section which enabled the Spitfire to have a higher top speed than several contemporary fighters, including the Hawker Hurricane. Mitchell continued to refine the design until his death in 1937, whereupon his colleague, Joseph Smith, took over as chief designer, overseeing the development of Spitfire through its multitude of variations.
The operational history of the Spitfire with the RAF started with the first Mk Is K9789, which entered service with 19 squadrons at RAF Duxford on August 4, 1938. The Spitfire achieved legendary status during the Battle of Britain, a reputation aided by the famous “Spitfire Fund” organised and run by Lord Beaver brook, the Minister of Aircraft Production. In fact, the Hurricane outnumbered the Spitfire throughout the battle, and shouldered the burden of the defence against the Luftwaffe;however, because of its higher performance, the overall abrasion rate of the Spitfire squadrons was lower than that of the Hurricane units, and the Spitfire units had a higher victory-to-loss ratio. The key aim of Fighter Command was to stop the Luftwaffe’s bombers whenever possible, was to use the Spitfires to counter German escort fighters, by then based in northern France, particularly the Bf 109s, while the Hurricane Squadrons attacked the bombers.
Spitfire continued to play increasingly diverse roles throughout the Second World War and beyond, often in air forces other than the RAF. After the Battle of Britain, it superseded the Hurricane to become the backbone of RAF Fighter Command and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific and the Southeast Asian theatres. Much loved by its pilots, the Spitfire served in several roles, including interceptor, photo reconnaissance, fighter- bomber and trainer, and continued to serve in these roles the 1950s.
During and after the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire became a symbol of British resistance. Lord Beaver brook’s “Spitfire Fund” of 1940 was one campaign which drew widespread public attention to the Spitfire. It continues to be highly popular that many enthusiasts availed private jet charters to be at airshows, on airfields and in museums worldwide,and continues to hold and important place in the memories of many people, especially the few still living who flew the Spitfire in combat.
The Spitfire continued to be famous among enthusiasts, with approximately 54 Spitfires being airworthy,while much more are static exhibits in aviation museums throughout the world. Private jet charters made possible for these people to see exhibits of Spitfires, the formidable killing machine, and the much loved British icon.