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Airplane Picture - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIX in 2008

Supermarine Information


Successor: Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft)
Founded: 1913 (as Pemberton-Billing)
Defunct: 1960 (incorporation into BAC)
Headquarters: Woolston
Key people: Noel Pemberton-Billing, R. J. Mitchell, Joe Smith
Parent: Vickers-Armstrongs (1928 onwards)

Supermarine was a British aircraft manufacturer that became famous for producing a range of sea planes and the Supermarine Spitfire fighter. The name now belongs to an English motorboat manufacturer.


Noel Pemberton-Billing set up a company, Pemberton-Billing Ltd, in 1913 to produce sea-going aircraft. It also produced a couple of prototypes using quadruplane designs to shoot down zeppelins; the Supermarine P.B.29 and the Supermarine Nighthawk. The aircraft were fitted with the recoilless Davis gun and the Nighthawk had a separate powerplant to power a searchlight. Upon election as an MP in 1916 Pemberton-Billing sold the company to his factory manager and long time associate Hubert Scott-Paine who renamed the company Supermarine Aviation Works Ltd. The company became famous for its successes in the Schneider Trophy for seaplanes, especially the three wins in a row of 1927, 1929 and 1931.

Airplane Picture - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIX in 2008

Picture - Supermarine Spitfire Mk.XIX in 2008

In 1928 Vickers-Armstrongs took over Supermarine as Supermarine Aviation Works (Vickers) Ltd and in 1938 all Vickers-Armstrongs aviation interests were reorganised to become Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) Ltd, although Supermarine continued to design, build and trade under its own name. The phrase Vickers Supermarine was applied to the aircraft.

The first Supermarine landplane design to go into production was the famous and successful Spitfire. The earlier Hawker Hurricane and the Spitfire were the mainstay of RAF Fighter Command fighter aircraft which fought off the Luftwaffe bombing raids with fighter escorts during the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. While the Hurricane was available in larger numbers and consequently played a larger role, the new Spitfire caught the popular imagination and became the aircraft associated with the battle.

Other well-known planes from World War II were the Seafire (a naval version of the Spitfire). Supermarine also developed the Spiteful and Seafang, the successors of the Spitfire and Seafire, resp., and the Walrus flying boat.

Airplane Picture - Swift FR.5 demonstrating at the Farnborough air show in 1955

Picture - Swift FR.5 demonstrating at the Farnborough air show in 1955

The Supermarine main works was in Woolston, Southampton which led to the city being heavily bombed in 1940. This curtailed work on their first heavy bomber design, the Supermarine B.12/36 which was replaced by the Short Stirling.

After the end of World War Two, the Supermarine division built the Royal Navys first jet fighter, the Attacker, which served front line squadrons aboard aircraft carriers and RNVR squadrons at shore bases. The Attacker was followed by the more advanced Swift which served in the fighter and photo-reconnaissance roles. The last of the Supermarine aircraft was the Scimitar.

After that, in the shakeup of British aircraft manufacturing, Vickers-Armstrongs (Aircraft) became a part of the British Aircraft Corporation and the individual manufacturing heritage names were lost. Northshore Marine Motor Yachts builds a range of motorboats under the Supermarine name in Chichester, Portsmouth, England.

Supermarine aircraft

Pemberton-Billing P.B.1
Pemberton-Billing P.B.9
Pemberton-Billing P.B.23
Pemberton-Billing P.B.25 (1915)
Pemberton-Billing P.B.29
AD Flying Boat (1916)
AD Navyplane (1916)
Supermarine Nighthawk (1917) - anti-Zeppelin fighter aircraft
Supermarine Baby (1917) - single seat fighter flying boat
Supermarine Sea Lion I (1919) - Schneider race flying boat
Supermarine Sea Lion II and III
Supermarine Channel (1919) - civil version of the AD Flying Boat
Supermarine Scylla early (1920s)
Supermarine Sea Urchin early (1920s)
Supermarine Commercial Amphibian (1920)
Supermarine Sea King (1920) - single seat fighter flying boat
Supermarine Seagull (1921) - amphibian Fleet Spotter
Supermarine Seal (1921)
Supermarine Sea Eagle (1923) - civil amphibian flying boat
Supermarine Scarab (1924) - military version of Sea Eagle
Supermarine Sheldrake
Supermarine Swan (1924) - experimental amphibian
Supermarine Sparrow (1924) - two-seat ultralight
Supermarine Southampton (1925) - flying boat
Supermarine S.4 (1925) - Schneider Trophy race seaplane
Supermarine S.5 (1927) - Schneider Trophy race seaplane
Supermarine Nanok (1927)
Supermarine Solent (1927)
Supermarine Seamew (1928) - twin-engined flying boat
Supermarine S.6 (1929) - single-seat racing seaplane
Supermarine S.6B (1931) - racing seaplane (first aircraft over 400 mph)
Supermarine Air Yacht (1931) - six-passenger flying boat
Supermarine Scapa (1932) - flying boat
Supermarine Stranraer (1932) - general-purpose flying boat
Supermarine Walrus (1933) - reconnaissance amphibian
Supermarine Spitfire (1936) - single seat fighter
Supermarine Seafire (1941) - single-seat carrier-based fighter version of the Spitfire
Supermarine Spitfire (early Merlin powered variants) - Merlin engine variants
Supermarine Spitfire (late Merlin powered variants) - two-stage Merlin engine variants
Supermarine Spitfire (Griffon powered variants) - two-stage Griffon engine variants
Supermarine Spitfire operational history
Supermarine Spitfire variants: specifications, performance and armament
List of Supermarine Spitfire operators
List of surviving Supermarine Spitfires
Supermarine Sea Otter (1938) - flying boat
Supermarine 318 (1936) - four engined heavy bomber to B.12/36
Supermarine 322 also S.24/37 or "Dumbo" (1939)
Supermarine Spiteful (1944) - replacement for the Spitfire
Supermarine Seafang (1946) - development of Spiteful
Supermarine Attacker (1946) - jet fighter
Supermarine Seagull ASR-1 (1948) - air-sea rescue and reconnaissance
Supermarine 510 (1948) -swept wing Attacker prototype
Supermarine 535 (1950) - Swift predecessor with Nene engine
Supermarine Swift (1951) - jet fighter
Supermarine 508 (1951) - V-tailed, twin engined straight winged fighter prototype
Supermarine 521 (1950) - Modified Attacker fuselage as basis for Handley Page HP.88
Supermarine 525 (1954) -immediate predecessor of Scimitar
Supermarine Scimitar (1956) - naval ground attack aircraft

Designs and submissions only

Supermarine Type 224 - failed design for a fighter aircraft in 1934
Supermarine Type 305 (1938) - design project for a turret armed derivative of the Spitfire
Supermarine Type 324 - design project for a twin Merlin engined, tricycle undercarriage fighter based on Spitfire wing and fuselage.
Supermarine 545 - supersonic version of Swift
Supermarine Type 553 (1953) - mach 2 research aircraft project
Supermarine Type 559 (1955) - submission for Operational Requirement F.155 for a high altitude supersonic fighter
Supermarine Type 571 - submission for GOR.339 TSR.2 requirement


Northshore Motor Yachts of Chichester, England has been marketing motorboats under the Supermarine name:

Supermarine Swordfish

Aerospace industry in the United Kingdom
Supermarine Aircraft

Andrews, C.F. Supermarine Aircraft Since 1914. London: Putnam, Second edition, 1987. ISBN 0 85177 800 3.

Supermarine Pictures and Supermarine for Sale.

Living Warbirds: The best warbirds DVD series.

Source: WikiPedia

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