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Supermarine Walrus / Seagull V

The Supermarine Walrus (originally designated the Supermarine Seagull V) was a British single engine amphibious biplane reconnaissance aircraft designed by R. J. Mitchell and manufactured by Supermarine at Woolston, Southampton.

The Walrus first flew in 1933, the design effort having commenced as a private venture four years earlier.

It shared its general configuration with that of the earlier Supermarine Seagull.

Having been designed to serve as a fleet spotter for catapult launching from cruisers or battleships, the aircraft was largely employed in other roles, notably as a maritime patrol aircraft and as a rescue aircraft for ditched aircrew.

The Walrus featured numerous innovations for the period, being the first British squadron-service aircraft to incorporate in one airframe a fully retractable main undercarriage, completely enclosed crew accommodation and an all-metal fuselage. 

Early built aircraft featured the original metal hull design for its greater longevity in tropical conditions, while later-build examples instead used a wooden counterpart to conserve the use of light metal alloys.

The first Seagull Vs entered service with the Royal Australian Air Force in 1935.

The type was subsequently adopted in quantity by the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Air Force, Royal New Zealand Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Walruses operated throughout the Second World War against Axis submarines.

The Walrus was adopted by the RAF Search and Rescue Force for recovering downed personnel.

It was intended for the Walrus to be replaced by the more powerful Supermarine Sea Otter, but this was not implemented.

The Walrus continued to serve in a limited capacity with several militaries around the world during the post-war era, while some aircraft were also operated in a civil capacity in regions such as Australia and the Antarctic.

It was largely succeeded by the first generation of rescue helicopters.


Seagull V

Original metal hull version.

Walrus I

Metal hull version.

Walrus II

Wooden hull version.


(Supermarine Walrus I)




37 ft 7 in (11.46 m) on wheels


45 ft 10 in (13.97 m)


15 ft 3 in (4.65 m) on wheels

Wing area

610 sq ft (57 m2)

Empty weight

4,900 lb (2,223 kg)

Gross weight

7,200 lb (3,266 kg)

Max take-off weight

8,050 lb (3,651 kg)


1 × Bristol Pegasus VI, 9 cylinder air cooled radial piston engine,

750 hp (560 kW)


4 bladed wooden fixed pitch pusher propeller


Maximum speed

135 mph (217 km/h, 117 kn) at 4,750 ft (1,448 m)

Cruise speed

92 mph (148 km/h, 80 kn)

Alighting speed

57 mph (50 kn; 92 km/h)


600 mi (970 km, 520 nmi) at cruise

Service ceiling

18,500 ft (5,600 m)

Rate of climb

1,050 ft/min (5.3 m/s)

Time to altitude

10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 12 minutes 30 seconds

Wing loading

11.8 lb/sq ft (58 kg/m2)


0.094 hp/lb (0.155 kW/kg)



2× .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine guns 

(One in nose, one behind wings)


6x 100 lb (45 kg) bombs


2x 250 lb (110 kg) bombs


2x 250 lb (110 kg) Mk.VIII depth charges

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