Supermarine Sea King

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Sea King
Supermarine Sea King.png
Supermarine Sea King II
Role fighter aircraft
Manufacturer Supermarine
Designer R. J. Mitchell
First flight Early 1920
Number built 2

The Supermarine Sea King was a British, amphibian, fighter aircraft designed and built by the Supermarine Aviation Works.

Design and development[edit]

In 1919, Supermarine commenced design of a single seat flying boat fighter resembling the Baby of the First World War and the contemporary Sea Lion racing aircraft. The resulting aircraft, known as the Sea King, was a single seater biplane powered by a pusher 160 horsepower (120 kW) Beardmore 160 hp engine, first flying in early 1920, and later refitted with a 240 horsepower (180 kW) Siddeley Puma.[1]

In 1921, Reginald Mitchell, by now chief designer of Supermarine, produced a revised design, possibly to meet the requirements of Specification N6/22 for a fighter capable of operating both from the deck of an aircraft carrier and from water.[2] The resulting Sea King II was a single seat biplane, with a wooden hull, a retractable main landing gear and a fixed tail skid. The tail was of monoplane type mounted halfway up the single fin with a single rudder. The Sea King II was powered by a single 300 horsepower (220 kW) Hispano-Suiza 8 engine.

The Sea King II first flew in December 1921.[3] While it demonstrated excellent manoeuvrability,[4] the Sea King was not selected for production. The Fairey Flycatcher and Parnall Plover, both biplanes that could be converted between having conventional tailwheel undercarriage and floats were ordered in small numbers for further evaluation, the Flycatcher finally being successful in equipping the Royal Navy's carriers.

This was not the end for the Sea King, however, as the Sea King II was rebuilt to become the Sea Lion II racer, winner of the 1922 Schneider Trophy.[4]


Sea King I
Flying boat fighter. Powered by 160 horsepower (120 kW) Beardmore or 240 horsepower (180 kW) Siddeley Puma engine. One built.
Sea King II
Revised Amphibian fighter. Powered by 300 horsepower (220 kW) Hispano engine.

Specifications (Sea King II)[edit]

Supermarine Sea King Plan.png

Data from Supermarine Aircraft since 1914[4]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 125 mph (201 km/h)
  • Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 12 min
  • Endurance: 2 hr


See also[edit]

Related development
Related lists


  1. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1987, p.52.
  2. ^ Mason 1992, p.151.
  3. ^ Andrews and Morgan 1987, p.355.
  4. ^ a b c Andrews and Morgan 1987, p.56.
  • Andrews, C.F and Morgan, E.B. Supermarine Aircraft since 1914. London:Putnam, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-800-3.
  • Mason, Francis K. The British Fighter since 1912. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1992. ISBN 1-55750-082-7.