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Spitfire Mk.VB

A single-seater, single-engined all-metal monoplane fighter. A later member of the Spitfire family, the Spitfire Mk.V (Type 349) variant had a redesigned airframe and a more powerful V-12 engine, the Rolls-Royce Merlin 45, with a centrifugal type supercharger and better performance characteristics. The first prototype was released for testing in December of 1940. The engine change necessitated strengthening the engine housing and installing a more effective oil radiator with a circular rather than U-shaped housing.

The armament of the Mk.VB was equivalent to that of the Mk.IB: two 20mm British-Hispano Mk.II cannons and four 7.7mm Colt-Browning Mk.II machine guns in the outer wing panels of the “B” models.

The last Mk.I and Mk.II planes produced used the Merlin 45. 154 such planes were produced. The first completely new Mk.V models were released in March of 1941.

Some of the fighters were made for tropical climate conditions: an extra Vokes filter was installed on the carburetor air intake, under the engine. It was covered by special “lips” which helped prevent excessive dust intake. This variant was named the Spitfire Mk.VB/Trop (Type 352) and was used in Mediterranean areas, especially North Africa and Malta.

The first planes using the new engine entered combat in February of 1941. The improved power and performance characteristics of the Spitfire Mk.V made it a competitive match for the new German Messerschmidt Bf.109F fighter.

The Mk.V's primary mission was raids on the continent. Fighters conducted raids both on their own and as support for bomber squadrons.

A total of 3,911 Spitfire Mk.VB fighters were produced.
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