Supermarine Attacker


Back to the Virtual Aircraft Museum
  CARRIER-BORNE FIGHTERVirtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / Supermarine  

Supermarine Attacker

Originally conceived in 1944 as a land based jet fighter for the RAF, the Supermarine Type 392's design combined the new laminar flow wing which was being developed for the unsuccessful Spiteful piston engined fighter (intended as a successor to the Spitfire) with a new fuselage and tail plus the Rolls-Royce RB.41 (later Nene) centrifugal flow turbojet.

The undercarriage was also taken from the Spiteful, resulting in a tailwheel configuration - unusual for a jet aircraft. The wing retained the Spiteful's four cannon armament but the radiators for its Griffon piston engine were naturally removed and replaced by fuel tanks.

Three prototypes were ordered in August 1944 but development was slower than anticipated due to delays in laminar flow wing research, with low speed handling problems proving difficult to solve. As the RAF had begun to lose interest in the aircraft, it was decided that the last two prototypes would be navalised.

The first prototype flew on 27 July 1946 and the second on 17 June 1947 (the name "Attacker" applied on the same day), this differing in having longer stroke undercarriage, smaller fin, enlarged tailplane, increased fuel capacity, arrester hook and an ejection seat. Folding wings would not appear until the production versions were built. By then, the RAF was no longer a prospective customer and the aircraft was ordered only tor the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm.

The first production Attacker F.1 flew on 5 May 1950 and operational service began in August 1951 with No 800 Squadron FAA. Subsequent versions were the FB.1 fighter-bomber with provision for underwing ordnance and the FB.2 which differed mainly in its Nene Mk.102 engine with a throttle acceleration control unit to prevent flameout if the throttle was opened quickly, such as when performing a go-around. The Attacker served with only two FAA front line squadrons and had been relegated to Volunteer Reserve units by 1954 and retired two years later.

The only export was to the Pakistan Air Force, which received 36 'denavalised' aircraft between 1951 and 1953 for operation from land. These lacked the folding wings and arrester gear of the Royal Navy's aircraft but were otherwise similar to the Attacker F.1.

Supermarine AttackerA three-view drawing (1670 x 1090)

 MODEL"Attacker" F.Mk.1
 ENGINE1 x Rolls-Royce "Nene 3", 22.24kN
  Take-off weight5339 kg11771 lb
  Empty weight3826 kg8435 lb
  Wingspan11.25 m37 ft 11 in
  Length11.43 m38 ft 6 in
  Height3.02 m10 ft 11 in
  Max. speed950 km/h590 mph
  Ceiling13700 m44950 ft
  Range950 km590 miles
 ARMAMENT4 x 20mm cannon

Gambeir, e-mail, 12.12.2016 06:05

Thanks to all the Brit's for their comments. Very interesting but pretty critical as well. I think it's an attractive looking aircraft. Although later than the McDonnell FH-1 Phantom this plane was also 100 knots faster while giving up 200 miles of range, but doing it on one engine which was significantly more reliable by nature. It was significantly more heavily armed with 20mm cannons over the McDonnell FH-1 with it's equal number 50 caliber machine guns. The real issue is which plane would you rather have been in when confronted with a Mig-15 or other Soviet Jet Fighter of that epoch. I have no idea, but I think that 100 knots is significant in the issue.


Tony Fosh, e-mail, 07.04.2016 14:19

Am seeking info about Attacker WA 477 (Sqrn leader Robarts) That crashed near Marlborough 05 02 51, in particular cause of crash.


VinceReeves, 05.03.2013 22:49

This aircraft was brought into service with the RN because it was the first aircraft to mount the RR Nene. Earlier British jet engines had longer spooling times that were unsuited to deck operations.

The Attacker pretty much functioned as a trials aircraft, acquainting the RN with jet operations prior to the Sea Hawk, which was seen as "the real thing".


Billy Pryce, e-mail, 27.07.2011 13:55

Flown in June 1947, around the time the MiG 15 and F86 were undergoing a more advanced stage of testing prior to their imminent service entry. Why? why? why? It's almost comic when you think of the types they chopped compared to the ones they grimly carried on with.


David, e-mail, 27.05.2011 06:31

As an L /PM on 800 squadron 1952-1953 I had plenty of experience of the Attacker. Reliable but liable to loose deckhook on landing askew probably due to the tail down attitude and hook hitting arrestor wire support. Also had problems with compressor-turbine shaft splined coupling due to fluctuations in engine revs as a result of the twin fuel pumps competing with each other. This was cured by setting one pump up as the master thus maintaining a steady output. We lost a plane No 104 due to this off N Irish coast. Pilot ejected and was saved by a trawler. Good videos of 800 Sq. Attackers taking off and landing during NATO Operation Mariner courtesy of Pathe Internation News


bombardier, e-mail, 22.05.2011 19:17

This aircraft was the ancestor of the Swift the first swept wing aircraft to serve with the RAF and the last British production aircraft to hold the world speed recrd.


Barry, 10.03.2011 16:21

This gave the Royal Navy it's first jet powered aircraft you would think they could have done better! But there again, this was the service resposible for ordering and flying the Roc, Skua, and Barracuda plus a number of other fiascoes.


Sgt.KAR98, 11.02.2009 19:58

P-80 like.But nicer.


Do you have any comments?

Name    E-mail


All the World's Rotorcraft

All rhe World's Rotorcraft AVIATION TOP 100 -