Technical data
Type Spitfire L.F.Mk.IX
Function Fighter, fighter-bomber
Year 1942
Crew 1
Engine 1*Rolls-Royce Merlin 66
Power 1,580hp
Length 9.47m
(9.56m with enlarged fin)
Height 3.84m
(clipped wing)
Wing area 22.48m2
(21.46m2 with clipped wing)
Empty weight 2,631kg
Loaded weight 3,331kg
Maximum weight 3,583kg
Wing Load (kg/m2) 159.4kg/m2
(167kg/m2 with clipped wing)
Power load (kg/hp) 2.27
Speed at 3,200m 618km/h
Speed at 6,401m 650km/h
Landing speed ?km/h
Landing roll ?m
Takeoff roll ?m
Turn time ?sec
Normal range 698km
Maximum range
(external fuel)
Flight endurance ?h ?min
Ceiling 12,954m
6,096m 6.4min
Fuel+Oil 305kg
Guns 4*mg 7.7mm Browning Mk.II and 2*g 20mm British Hispano or ("E" wing) 2*mg 12.7mm Browning and 2*g 20mm British Hispano
Bombs 2*113kg and 1*227kg
Rockets Up to 8*76.2mm rockets with 11 or 27kg warheads

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX

(92k b/w photo from "Red Stars in the Sky") V.A.Matsiyevich, Commander of the 26 GvIAP (Leningrad Air Defence Troops) reading Stalin's order of the day to the regiment's staff in front of Spitfire L.F.Mk.IXE fighters (note clipped wings and 20mm cannon in outboard position) in April 1945. The aircraft in the foreground has the enlarged vertical tail of late production machines.

With the arrival of the Fw 190A on the Channel coast late in 1941 the RAF faced a serious dilemma. The new German fighter outclassed the Spitfire Mk.V on nearly every count, so the need for an improved Spitfire variant became paramount. But it was also felt that the introduction of a radically changed development would take too long and seriously interrupt production and operations at a critical stage of the war. So an interim solution had to be chosen, which was basically a more powerful Mk.V and could be produced and delivered to the squadrons with the least possible delay.

This interim type was designated Spitfire Mk.IX and consisted of a basic Mk.V airframe married to a two-speed two-stage supercharged Merlin 61 engine rated at 1,565hp which drove a four-blade Rotol propeller. Apart from the changes necessary to install this engine no other changes were made to the basic Spitfire V airframe. Externally the Spitfire IX could be distinguished from its predecessor by its four-blade propeller, the six individual exhaust stubs on each side, the symmetrical radiators under the wings and (late aircraft only) the enlarged vertical fin. These differences normally could not be recognized at combat range which provided Spitfire IX pilots with some tactical advantage at first, when their machines were mistaken for the inferior Spitfire Vs by their adversaries. The Mk.IX entered service with the RAF in July 1942. Later in its service life this variant was employed primarily as a fighter-bomber, having been replaced as an interceptor by Spitfire models with Rolls-Royce Griffon engines.

Depending on the particular version of the Merlin fitted, the Spitfire IX was built in three sub-types:

As with the Spitfire V the wing/armament layout was denoted by a suffix letter to the designation. Besides the "B" (only on a few early machines) and "C" wings already used on the Mk.V the Spitfire IX introduced the so-called "E" wing. This wing had the two 7.7mm machine guns replaced by a single 12.7mm Browning gun. This gun was installed in what had been the inner cannon bay of the "C" wing and the 20mm cannon was moved to the outboard position. So the total of 5,665 Spitfire IXs delivered consisted of the following sub-types (source: Profile Publications, No.206):

  • L.F.Mk.IXB, L.F.Mk.IXC, L.F.Mk.IXE
  • F.Mk.IXB, F.Mk.IXC, F.Mk.IXE
  • H.F.Mk.IXC, H.F.Mk.IXE

  • In later years some Spitfire IXs depending on their role received the designations F.B.Mk.IX (fighter-bomber), F.R.Mk.IX (fighter-reconnaissance), T.T.Mk.IX (target towing) or MET.Mk.IX (meteorological). A further development of the Spitfire IX and the last major production variant (1,054 built from 1944 onwards) with Merlin engine was the Spitfire L.F.Mk.XVIC or E (with a Packard-built Merlin 266 of 1,705hp), a fighter-bomber which in its later versions had a cut-down rear fuselage and an all-round-vision cockpit canopy (one source quotes that this modification was made on some late Spitfire IXs also). There was also built in 1943 one prototype (MJ892) of a floatplane version (with a top speed of 607km/h the fastest float seaplane of World War II) of the Spitfire IX, but further its development was abandoned early in 1944.
    23k b/w photo of Spitfire IX floatplane from "War Planes of the Second World War Vol.6 - Floatplanes".

    (22k b/w from "War Planes of the Second World War - Fighters Vol.2") 3-view drawing of the Spitfire Mk.IXC.

    To the Soviet Union were sent under the "Aid to Russia" program a total of 1,188 Spitfire Mk.IXs, all but two of them being L.F.Mk.IXs. These machines were delivered between mid- 1944 and April 1945. There is no information available about possible losses en route. Details about the service career of these aircraft with the Soviets are also lacking. But there is pictorial evidence (see below), that the Russians converted some of those machines into two-seat conversion trainers (an equivalent modification also appeared in England in small numbers after the war).

    (31k b/w photo from "Red Stars in the Sky") Spitfire Mk.IX "UTI" two-seat trainer, modified by 1 Aircraft Depot at Leningrad in 1945.

    15k color drawing of a Spitfire IX two-seater from "Aero" magazine, Vol. 21.


    No later variants delivered to Russia.
  • "Red Stars in the Sky" by C.F.Geust, K.Keskinen, K.Niska and K.Stenman; Vol. 1;
  • "Sowjetische Jagdflugzeuge" ("Soviet Fighters") by W.Kopenhagen (in German);
  • Profile Publications No.206 "Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IX" by P.Moss and L.Bachelor;
  • "War Planes of the Second World War - Fighters Vol. 2" by W.Green;
  • Squadron/Signal Publications, Aircraft No.39 "Spitfire in Action" by J.Scutts;
  • "Aero" magazine, Vol.21 (in German)
  • The Vickers-Supermarine Spitfire
  • The Story of the Supermarine Spitfire
  • The Spitfire Society
  • The Supermarine Spitfire, an operational history by Christopher Whitehead
  • Supermarine Spitfire HF.Mk.IXE
  • Flying the Supermarine Spitfire

  • Created for RAM November 19, 1999
    by Thomas Heinz
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