Spitfire Mk IX

British Supermarine fighter plane

Spitfire formation 1944

A Spitfire formation during a operation for preparing D-day.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX
Type:
British fighter plane.

History:

The year 1942 saw the tide of battle begin to turn in favour of the Allies, and a contributing factor was the increased adaptability of the Spitfire.
The high-altitude Spitfire VI entered service in April 1942 with 616 squadron, but it was never to be really successful, as the weight of its cockpit-pressurization equipment reduced its effective ceiling. However, the Mk VII overcame this problem with the new supercharged Merlin 60/70 series engine, and a few went into service in the autumn of this year. This version was followed by the Supermarine Spitfire VIII (essentially a Mk VII without pressurization) which first flew towards the end of the year. Incorporating many refinements, it had the best handling characteristics of all the Spitfires and also the highest speed, at altitude, of all the Merlin-engined fighter variants.

However, early in the year it was obvious that the threat of the German Focke-Wulf Fw 190 for the Spitfire V could not wait for the Mk VIII. Therefore, the Spitfire IX was hurriedly introduced as ‘stop-gap’, using the Mk VC airframe with initially, the Merlin 61 and 63 engine. Going into service with 64 squadron in July 1942 it averted the crisis in Fighter Command, but its introduction was rather slow until larger numbers became available in 1943.

In the Mediterranean, 81 RAF squadron obtained the first, much-needed, Spitfire IX ‘s at the end of January 1943. With the German and Italian defeat in North Africa, the Allies landed on Sicily in July and the Mk VIII began to arrive to supplement the increasing numbers of Spitfire IX. The invasion of Italy followed, some units initially using a combination of Mk VC, VIII, and IX.

For operations in 1943 from Great Britain, preparatory to the invasion, the Spitfire VB has supplemented the Mk IX, but by D-Day nearly all the first-line Spitfire squadrons hat the Mk IX. Many were fighter-bomber versions, carrying one 500 lb and two 250 lb bombs.

Introduction of the Mk IXE (with 0.5in guns) and the installation of gyro gun sights increased the effectiveness of the aircraft in 1944.
As the Spitfire XVI began to appear on the production lines in September 1944, most Mk IX’s that followed went to foreign Air Forces, particularly to Russia – 1,188 being shipped in the short period remaining up to the end of WW2.

As the war ended the Spitfire IX was phased out of RAF service and became available for the many foreign air forces requiring new equipment, so as the Belgian, French, Israeli and Egyptian Air Forces.


Pictures of Spitfire Mk IX


Data for Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX

Technical data
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX data
Type single-seat fighter, fighter-bomber
Power plant one 1,660 hp Merlin 61 engine (IX E from 1944: Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 with 1,720 hp)
Accommodation 1
Wing span 36 ft 10 in
Length overall 31 ft 3.5 in
Height overall 11 ft 5.5 in
Wing area 242.0 sqft
Weight empty 5,610 lb
Maximum overload 9,500 lb
Maximum speed 408 mph at 25,000 ft, 312 mph at sea level
Cruise speed 250 – 330 mph
Initial climb 4,100 ft/min (IXE: 3,950)
Time to 20,000 ft 6.4 mins
Best combat altitude 15,000 – 25,000 ft
Range 434 miles
Armament
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX data
in wings 2 x 20 mm cannon and 4 x 0.303-in machine-gun
IXE in wings 2 x 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannon (120 rpm) and 2 x 0.5 in Browning MG (250 rpm)
External load all with centreline rack for 500 lb bomb or tank and two 250 lb bombs under wings (total 1,000 lb)
Service statistics
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX data
Production delivery July 1942
Final delivery 1945
Total production figure 5,665 – of these from October 1944 1,188 to Russia (all variants: 20,351)

Animated 3D model of Spitfire Mk IX


Call of War
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