Spitfire FR IX : IFF, radios carried.

Discussion in 'Aircraft Requests' started by Tony Hill, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Active Member

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    Hello again,

    At the risk of Terry losing yet more nights' sleep in the books....

    I know that as a rule, PRU Spitfires were very light on radio gear. My question is whether that extended to the IFF sets. It seems risky to have a single aircraft, no radio, blasting its way back into friendly airspace with no means (other than visual) of identifying itself to the RDF stations. I would therefore summise that the IFF set was carried. Further because the aircraft operated alone, if they did have the gear then they would probably have ALL carried the Remote Contactor gear as well. Can anyone confirm this? The RC is pretty easy for me to make a copy of and sits high right and visible in the cockpit, so provides plenty of interest.


    Thoughts anyone?


    cheers





    .
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Hi Darryl, I've still got 'the book', as I forgot to get it back to the library on time! Oh well,there's a fine to pay! I'll have a look, as I think it mentions radio, IFF, and re-joining procedures for PR ops.
    I'll e-mail you with any result.
    Terry.
     
  3. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Active Member

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    Thanks Terry,

    I haven't been able to locate a copy yet but have a friendly bookdealer searching as well, so hopefully soon.

    I'd be happy to contribute to the fine directly or indirectly!


    cheers again,


    Darryl
     
  4. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Wasn't an FR Mk IX just a conventional, armed Spitfire Mk IX with an oblique camera fitted, rather than a full-on PRU job? I can't think why the cockpit would be laid out any differently
     
  5. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    The limit to the radio equipment was much more characteristic for PR Spitfire Mk.V.The Mk.IX was like Colin1's suggestion I think.What is more , as memo serves, later IFF device was a part of radio-set.
     
  6. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    You're quite right Wojtek. The TR sets in the MkIX incorporated the IFF transponder, which dispensed with the two wires, one either side of the fuselage, that ran to the tips of the tailplanes. The main antenna also did not require a wire to the fin on the later sets.
    I still need to check for Darryl though, as something is niggling me about the set-up for PR operations, although I think it might refer to the PRXI, and not the FRIX.
     
  7. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    The significant role designator FR, for Fighter Reconnaissance, implies that the aircraft carries defensive armament as apposed to PR, for Photo-Reconnaissance, which are unarmed. The main role of the FR type is tactical reconnaissance flying at low and medium altitude where it is thought more likely they would encounter enemy fighters, hence the reason for retaining some defensive armament.

    A number of examples of what is known as the FR.IX were produced. They were mostly modified in the field to undertake the tactical reconnaissance role. Several examples were flown in France, Holland and Germany during late 1944 and into 1945. Used for low and medium altitude photography below the cloud base they were painted pink. Each was equipped with a single camera looking to port and retained four machine guns in the wings.

    Before any PR.XIs were produced, a number of F.IXs were modified by removing their armament and installing photographic equipment similar to the PR.IV. At least three existing F.IXs, BS338, BS339 (F.Vs converted to F.IXs by Rolls Royce at Hucknall) and BS473 were equipped with camera systems at Vickers Armstrongs’ Worthy Down facility during October 1942. BS338 was delivered to 541 Squadron on 30th November 1942. Subsequently 15 F.IXs were similarly converted on the assembly lone. They probably all had the enlarged oil tank under the nose but lacked the wet-wing tanks and needed to carry external fuel tanks to extend their range. These aircraft were designated PR.IX (factory type 374). BS497 was the first of these. Apart from the 15 converted F.IXs, a single PR.IV (EN263) was apparently modified to PR.IX standard. The most famous PR.IX missions were the preparations for 617 Squadron’s Dambuster raid. During February and March 1943 the first PR.IXs entered service in the Mediterranean, EN153 was the first to reach Malta. Eventually all these PR.IXs were converted to PR.XI standard.

    When the Mk IX was introduced in 1942, the R3002 IFF set was fitted as standard on all fighters. This used two aerials located between the tips of the tailplane and fuselage. In early 1943 the IFF system was changed. Modification 801 dated 12th January 1943 contianed the instruction to introduce R3067 (radio) MK. III IFF (all marks). Photographs show the old system remained in use until mid-1943. After that a single rod aerial was fitted under the starboard wing near the aileron.


    FR.IX MK716 ‘X’ of 16 Squadron. Painted pale pink, the serial number and ‘X’ were probably Roundel Red.

    16 Squadron Spitfires at Bayeux, autumn 1944. In the foreground FR.IX MK915 ‘V’. Painted pale pink and fitted with a 50 gallon torpedo tank. In the background PR.XIs in PRU Blue Individual aircraft letters appear to be applied in white on all the Spitfires.

    Enlargement shows IFF rod aerial.

    EN149, one of the 15 F.IXs converted to PR.IXs. Similar in appearance to early production PR.XIs and often confused with them, the fixed tailwheel gives it away.
     

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  8. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Very useful information Antoni, thank you for confirming the IFF fit. But please note that the FRIX also retained the cannon armament.
     
  9. antoni

    antoni Banned

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    Not this one!
     

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  10. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Interesting again Antoni! I haven't seen that shot before; all of the pics I have seen, including the one in your earlier post, show the cannons in place. Years ago, a neighbour (since deceased) showed me some pics he had from his service on 16 Sqn, at Melsbroek. He was a Sergeant armourer, and some of the pics showed the cannons being re-armed. Thanks for the pic.
    Darryl, I found the info I was looking for; the radio was moved forward in the radio compartment, I've sent an e-mail with the details.
    Terry.
     
  11. Wurger

    Wurger Siggy Master
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    A nice stuff here Antoni.:D
     
  12. Tony Hill

    Tony Hill Active Member

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    Thank you all guys (sorry for the late reply, been away flying this long weekend).



    Plenty for me to think about! Part of the consideration for stripping down the PRU radio equipment was, as I understand it, weight. So the FR.IX's could possibly have had radio gear reduced. The other thing is that the Type 35 controller was fitted in place of the chanel selector. I can't see a valid reason for moving the selector somewhere else. The Type 35 would just as easily have fitted above the Rudder Trim instead and leave the Selector where it was?


    I presume also, that the "new" IFF arrangement retained the Remote Contactor? Or was the timing inbuilt?


    The lack of Cannon armament on at least one aircraft suits me well, the Spade Grip I have has the original round Firing Button, so four machine guns is a good result for me!


    A lot to digest and I am at work. I thank you all again for your input and I never cease to be amazed at the specialist knowledge which is out "there" and so freely shared.

    Antoni, thankyou so much for the pictures. I don't suppose the serial of the cannon free Spitty is legible on the original copy?

    Terry, I have your email and have replied, cheers



    Darryl
     
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