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Supermarine Attacker

The Supermarine Attacker is a British single seat naval jet fighter designed and produced by aircraft manufacturer Supermarine for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (FAA).

The type has the distinction of being the first jet fighter to enter operational service with the FAA.

In order to rapidly introduce jet aircraft to Navy service, Supermarine proposed adapting their most advanced piston-powered design, the Supermarine Spiteful, with a new fuselage for the Rolls-Royce Nene engine.

Performing its maiden flight on 27 July 1946, the flight testing phase of development was protracted due to several issues, including handling difficulties.

The first Attackers were introduced to FAA service in August 1951.

Common to the majority of other first generation jet fighters, the Attacker had a relatively short service life before being replaced, this was due to increasingly advanced aircraft harnessing the jet engine being rapidly developed during the 1950s and 1960s.

Despite its retirement by the FAA during 1954, only three years following its introduction, the Attacker would be adopted by the newly formed Pakistan Air Force, who would continue to operate the type possibly as late as 1964.


Type 392

Prototype land version to specification E.10/44, ordered as one of three prototypes on 30 August 1944, one built and first flown 27 July 1946.

Type 398

Prototype navalised variant ordered on 30 August 1944, one built and first flown 17 June 1947.

Type 510

Prototype with swept wings and tail whose development led to the Supermarine Swift.

Type 513

Prototype second naval prototype to specification E.1/45 ordered on 30 August 1943, one built and first flown 24 January 1950.

Type 398 Attacker F.1

Production Nene 3 powered variant, 63 ordered on 29 October 1948 and built at South Marston, 50 built as F1 as two were cancelled and the last 11 built as FB.1s.

First flight of production F.1 was on 4 April 1950.

Attacker FB.1

Last 11 production F 1s were built as FB 1s plus an additional aircraft ordered on 27 March 1950 to replace one aircraft destroyed on a production test flight.

The FB1 had been modified from the original design to allow it to carry rocket projectiles or bombs under the wings.

Attacker FB.2

Updated fighter-bomber variant powered by the Nene 102, 24 ordered on 21 November 1950, 30 ordered on 16 February 1950 and a further 30 ordered on 7 September 1950, all 84 built at South Marston.

Attacker Mk.538

Land based Nene 4 powered variant for the Pakistan Air Force, 36 built with the first delivered in 1953.






37 ft 6 in (11.43 m)


36 ft 11 in (11.25 m)


9 ft 11 in (3.02 m)

Wing area

226 sq ft (21 m2)

Empty weight

8,434 lb (3,826 kg)

Gross weight

12,211 lb (5,339 kg)


1 × Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet,

5,000 lbf (22 kN) thrust


Maximum speed

590 mph (950 km/h, 512 kn)


590 mi (950 km, 510 nmi)

Service ceiling

45,000 ft (13,700 m)

Rate of climb

6,350 ft/min (32.3 m/s)



4 × Hispano No. 3 Mark 5 20mm Cannon

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