Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Last Supermarine

For our first appearance in right around thirty more than half a full three-sixty-five, we here at TWW thought to bring ya'll something of an obscurity from the heyday of the Cold War... an obscurity known as the Supermarine Scimitar.

Compared to its somewhat distant and world-renowned ancestor, the Supermarine Spitfire, the Scimitar is indeed not all that well-known. But it was a significant type in that it was the Royal Navy's first swept-wing, single-seat jet fighter, and its first nuke-carrier. It was also significant in being the last aircraft manufactured under the fabled Supermarine name.

The Scimitar served with five squadrons, 736, 800, 803, 804, and 807, aboard the Royal Navy's flattops for a little over ten years. Despite a horrible accident rate that saw the loss of 39 of the 76 production aircraft delivered, (which was due more to incompatibilities of the relatively small British carriers and a fairly large, powerful aircraft than any inherent deficiencies with that aircraft) the Scimitar was well-liked by those associated with it, and the type was able to fill a number of roles, including interception and reconnaissance, aside from its primary function as an attack bomber. Later on, toward the end of its front-line service life, the Scimitar also filled the role of flying gas station, bar-tending to thirsty, gas-guzzling customers... especially its replacement in Fleet service, the Blackburn Buccaneer.

Scimitar F.1 XD215 of 736 Squadron at RNAS Lossiemouth in 1964.

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