Griffon engined Seafire marks progressively better then the American naval fighters?

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Airman 1st Class
Mar 9, 2005
I heard a report that the Fleet air arm and the RN thought the Seafire Mk XV and later variants to be better then the American piston engined Carrier based fighters in service around the same time as these variant were front-line.

I am interest in any views, ideas and opinions of this and any comparisons between aircraft. :?:
Range always in favour of the USN, the Seafire undercarridge although improved still not as robust plus the view on approach.

Now if we were talking about the Sea Fury taking on any USN piston engined fighter, no problem.
You've got three families of Seafires. 1) Early Merlin engined marks, based of the Mk V.
2) Late war Griffon engined marks based of the Mk XII
3) Post war Griffon engined marks based of the Mk 21.

I'd say the XV and XVII were marginally better interceptors and dogfighters than the F6F-3/5 and F4U-1, but definately worse as strike, reconnisance and escort aircraft. The were really just navalised Mk XIIs with extra fuel tanks and arrestor gear.

The F4U-4 and later F7F and F8F were better than the XV and XVII, without doubt. The Seafire F. 46/47 with 2,150 hp Griffon 87/88s with contra rotating props were probably the best Seafire marks, and certainly competitive with the very late war USN fighters, but they didn't enter service until the middle of 1946/ beginning of 1947. Best thing about them was their initial climb, around 5,500 feet/minute!

Seafires, as usual for the Spitfire family, were slightly hampered by their short legs. The Mk 47 could do about 650 miles on internal fuel, and about 1100 with a 90 gal drop tank, a little better than the 450/950 mile range of the XV and XVII.
Purely performance wise its advantage to the Seafire XV+, F-series and Seafang

Suitability as a carrier aircraft is something else. Then again the Seafire performed reasonably in the Atlantic and Med. If you want a carrier interceptor there isn't a great deal that can come close to it. An all-round fighter bomber - isn't that why you have the Firefly?
In the pure air defense role you couldn't beat the late mark Seafires, however the lacked the versatility so if you had a small carrier that could only take so many planes to do the job I would likely take the F4U-5 (or Seafury) however if you could afford to have multiple types aboard then I would take the late mark Seafires along with some bombers/fighter bombers.
It would be interesting to see the serviceability rates for an inline vs radial engine at sea. Or, failing that, something on land for roughly the same time period. A P47 group and an P51 group. What the operational rates and sortie rates were for both groups might help in the discussion. Would give an idea of which aircraft would be easiest to keep up, given the tempo of carrier operations. Both aircraft used engines similar (if not the same) as those used in the later part of the war.

I would suspect the radials would be easier to keep turning. Both from the standpoint of battle damage and just operationally active.
For carrier operations I'd take the F4U-4 Corsair over any Seafire anytime !
for just a back to baisics one on one dogfight i'd rather have the seafire, for anything else the corsair, and RE the engines the merlin/griffon series were comfortably some of the most reliable engines of the war.........
Thanks to all so far... I forgot to mention the RN and Fleet air arm were speaking in terms of a interceptor, sorry. Does anyone not like the looks of the restored seafire mk XVII?

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