By Roger Chesneau
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Extra info for Aeroguide 23: Republic Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II
However, the Spitfire had a larger wing, and though flaps were fitted, there was no need for leading-edge slots. Also different was the armament, for the British had decided that cannon were not yet ready for combat use, and instead opted for a battery of no fewer than eight rifle-calibre machine-guns to provide the volume of fire necessary to cripple an opposing bomber in the short time it could be kept in the pilot's reflector gunsight. The first definitive model of the Spitfire was the Mk lA, which played an important part in the Battle of Britain.
The THE FIGHTER 1939-1961/47 48/THE FIGHTER 1939-1961 Mk VIII was intended for this role, but its development was slow, so the Mk V airframe was modified to accept the Mk VIIFs two-stage two-speed supercharged Merlin 60 series engine, rated at between 1,565 and 1,650 hp (1,167 and 1,231 kW). 7-mm) Browning machineguns, plus a maximum bombload of 1,000 lb (454 kg) compared with' the Mk V's 500 lb (227 kg). Intended as an interim measure, the Mk IX eventually equipped nearly 100 squadrons, and production was greater than that of any other Spitfire mark, totalling some 5,665 built as such and many more converted from Mk Vs.
The range factor could be alleviated only marginally by internal fuel increases, the structure not having been designed with this in mind, so a long-term remedy had to await the remarkably protracted British development of jettisonable external fuel tanks. Spitfire performance increased by leaps and bounds, however, in a series of marks numbering about 30 for Spitfires and five for the equivalent naval version, the Seafire. And along with performance upgradings went improved armament fits and other modifications, the latter intended to keep the Spitfire's handling characteristics up to the latest standards, especially in terms of roll rate and acceleration in the dive, and to improve protective features such as armour and self-sealing fuel tanks.
Aeroguide 23: Republic Fairchild A-10A Thunderbolt II by Roger Chesneau