THE ULTIMATE WHAT-IF: THE SUPERMARINE JETFIRE
Following the lead of the Yakovlev Yak-15 (a delegation from Vickers Supermarine having visited Soviet aviation facilities in late 1945), the Spitfire F.Mk 25 was an attempt to obtain an effective jet fighter aircraft whilst avoiding the tiresome rigmarole of designing one from scratch. Shoehorning a bulky Derwent engine into the slender nose of the Spitfire did nothing for the aesthetic qualities of the aircraft, nor, as it proved, did it radically transform the performance. Despite its new powerplant the ‘Jetfire’ proved to be slower than its Griffon engined progenitor. It did, however, possess a superior rate of climb. Soon after the start of production its meagre range was improved by the addition of tip tanks. Although adequate as a first generation jet fighter the Jetfire offered only limited development potential and it was soon supplanted by true jet aircraft that had been designed as such from the start.
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