Supermarine Scimitar


  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 55 ft 3 in (16.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 37 ft 2 in (11.33 m)
  • Height: 17 ft 4 in (5.28 m)
  • Wing area: 485 ft² (45.06 m²)
  • Empty weight: 23,962 lb (10,869 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 34,200 lb (15,513 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Avon 202 turbojet, 11,250 lbf (50.1 kN) each
  • Maximum Speed: 640 kn (736 mph, 1,185 km/h) at sea level
  • Range: 1,237 nmi (1,422 mi, 2,289 km
  • Service ceiling: 46,000 ft (14,000 m)
  • Armament
    Guns: 4 × 30 mm guns.
    Hardpoints: 4 underwing pylons for bombs, rockets and external tanks.

When it entered service in 1957 the Supermarine Scimitar was the heaviest fighter ever built for the Royal Navy. It was a powerful aircraft with high subsonic speed and was well liked by its pilots – a fact that hides an unenviable safety record. Although predominantly a fighter the aircraft entered service at a time when fighter aircraft being fitted with radar was becoming the norm rather than being confined to so-called “all-weather” fighters. Therefore by the 1960s it was almost an obsolete aircraft although it would have given a good account of itself against Soviet aircraft like the MiG-19 and early MiG-21s. Efforts to arm the aircraft with AIM-9 Sidewinders came to little as the Scimitar was slowly phased out in favor of the even bigger DeHavilland Sea Vixen with its integrated weapon system of radar and missiles.

This fact saw the aircraft relegated to the strike role until replaced by Blackburn Buccaneer S.1s. In this capacity they even became armed with free-fall nuclear weapons. Most Scimitars spent their last days as tankers for the thirsty Buccaneer S.1, orbiting the carrier to refuel the Buccs straight after take off. The aircraft last flew in 1970 as part of the Fleet Requirements Unit providing targeting training to the crews of frigates and destroyers.

A single example can be viewed at the Carrier Experience Exhibit at the Yeovilton Fleet Air Arm Museum.


6 responses to “Supermarine Scimitar

  1. Pingback: Blackburn Buccaneer S.1 | Defence of the Realm

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  3. Pingback: Defence of the Realm – Royal Navy | Defence of the Realm

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