Supermarine Type 545: Britain's Lost Fighter

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Introduction: The Supermarine Type 545 is one of Britain’s “lost fighters”, never being able to explore its natural habitat in the air, despite being almost fully completed, due to a changing defence environment and politics. Despite this, the aircraft offered much potential, and would certainly be a great addition to the British tech tree, where it would be able to fulfil its role as a top-of-the-line predator.

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Description: The Type 545 story starts out in 1950 as a further development of the Swift, which was still being developed. This was at a time when all of Britain’s aircraft manufacturers were spending great amounts of effort in trying to refine their current designs, in order to stay ahead of the game, and Supermarine was no different. Two designs were proposed: Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 1 was essentially a Swift which was modified with a new wing, with higher sweep. This was most suited at medium- to low-altitudes. Stage 2 was a very different beast; featuring a completely new crescent wing, and major redesigns to the fuselage. It was clear that Stage 1 would offer no significant improvements over the standard Swift, and it was decided to go ahead with Stage 2. This was not only just an effort to keep the Swift as modern as possible, but also to pre-empt any attempts by the Soviets at developing a new high-speed fighter. Geoffrey Tuttle emphasised the need for advanced types of current aircraft, specifically in regards to the Hunter and Swift. At this time, the latter was the preferred option. The prototypes were constructed from fuselage components taken directly from the Swift production line. The cancellation of the Hawker P.1083 put more emphasis on the Type 545, and a lot of weight was put behind its development. Design work moved ahead smoothly and a mockup was constructed. This was until the Air Staff began changing the requirements of the project, which increased cost; by a staggering 38%. This led to a complaint from George Edwards, who complained about the constant problem of having the requirement change while the project was already underway. In 1954, all-weather capability through the installation of Airborne Interception (AI) equipment was put forward. Mach 2 capability was mooted that year, which would’ve required a significant redesign of the airframe to incorporate a new engine. Despite this, both the company and the Air Staff thought it was reasonable. The prototypes under construction were capable of Mach 1.3, and could climb up to 51,000ft, with all-weather capability. The RAE was, however, quite doubtful in regards to the performance leap made by the Mach 2 variant which was under consideration, due to the amount of work required to get the 545 to that level of capability in only 2.5 years. The first blow to the program came when the second prototype was cancelled, though the RAE was happy to continue with the first one. However, this was also put in jeopardy, when it was realised that the 545 was delaying both the Swift F.Mk.7 and the Scimitar program as a whole, on top of which, the RAE began to lose interest. The research about the crescent wing was now considered to be surplus to requirements, as other programs had helped fill the gap in knowledge. Though there was some pushback to its cancellation, the order was given on 22nd December, 1955. The complete airframe was sent to the Cranfield College of Aeronautics, while parts and test rigs were sent to the RAE for research into materials.

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Performance and Weaponry:

Spoiler
Span: 39ft 0in (11.89m)
Length: 47ft 0in (14.33in)
Gross Wing Area: 381sq ft (35.45 sq m)
T/C Ratio: 7.5% mean
Gross Weight: 20,147lb (9,139kg)
Powerplant: 1x Avon RA.14R 9,500lb thrust (42.2kN) dry, 14,500lb (64.4kN) with reheat
Maximum Speed/Height: 745mph (1,213km/h) at sea level,

667mph (1,073km/h) at 45,000ft (13,761m)|
|Armament:|4x 30mm ADEN cannons|
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Conclusion: Considering how close to completion the aircraft was, as well as its significance as one of Supermarine’s last products, I believe it would make a fine addition to the game, where it will be able to roam about the skies in the virtual world, allowing it to be brought back to life.

Sources:

Spoiler

“British Secret Projects 1: Jet Fighters since 1950” by Tony Buttler

Alternative Supermarine Swift Scenario / Type 545 | Secret Projects Forum

Supermarine Type 545

Supermarine Type 545 | Aircraft of World War II - WW2Aircraft.net Forums

https://www.destinationsjourney.com/historical-military-photographs/supermarine-type-545-fighter-prototype/

Supermarine 545

10 Likes

I would like to add that the Aircraft actually DID have drawings made for Hardpoints capable of carrying the Firestreak/Red Top missile. Along with Bombs, droptanks, and rocket pods.

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4 Likes

+1 for the British tech tree. It would be cool to see the last of the Supermarines in-game.

4 Likes

I can definitely recommend this for consideration.
An Aircraft such as this would be no joke around the 9.0/9.3 BR currently, though I worry for such an addition should we ever receive it due to High G missiles and lack of countermeasures.

4 Likes

This should definitely be in the British tree, it’s essentially a British F-100, the Firestreaks would probably be a bit better than the F-100’s AIM-9E’s but only marginally. Depending on which engine Gaijin chose to fit it with it could be limited to Mach 1.3 with the RA14 engine which is firmly in F-100 territory, or mach 1.7 which was proposed using the RB106 engines, which is obviously much faster.

It should also definitely receive the Firestreak missiles as they were intended for carriage in the specification. It was designed with a radar in mind and although the radar slaving would be useful given that a radar was never specified i don’t think it matters if it gets the radar or not. It gives Britain a good alternative to the Hunter in the rank 6 bracket. I’m surprised it wasn’t added in update supersonic over the Javelin.

Overall a really great proposal with a lot of potential, I hope to see this aircraft gain more attention.

4 Likes

It can be considered as a counter to MiG 15.+1

4 Likes

Personally i think the Aircraft deserves to be added just because of the History of it.

Its the Last of the Supermarine’s, The last gasp of the great builders of the Spitfire.

IT is LITERALLY the last of its kind. The last in that great Lineage.

A Aircraft that they were so confident in, only to have the rug pulled out from under it by Garbage politics mere DAYS before its first flight, Leading to Supermarine’s Bankruptcy and absorption into BAE.

4 Likes

+1

2 Likes

Just gonna comment here so it gets more attention again.

UK didn’t get any TT aircraft this update hopefully we see something in the next one.

1 Like

+1, Given how it was the very last of Supermarine’s aircraft I think it deserves to be added, especially considering how it signifies not just the end of an era, but the end of one of the most iconic British Aircraft manufacturers of the 20th Century

3 Likes

Absolutely +1. this thing needs to shine and bring the Supermarine family the last worthy heir in game.

2 Likes