Model Airplane News
February, 1954

Model Airplane News Cover for February, 1954 by Jo Kotula Supermarine Swift

Supermarine Swift
Model Airplane News Cover Art for February, 1954
by Jo Kotula
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The Supermarine Swift was a British single-seat jet fighter of the Royal Air Force (RAF), built by Supermarine during the 1950s. After a protracted development period, the Swift entered service as an interceptor. Due to a spate of accidents, its service life was short.

The Supermarine Swift      The Supermarine Swift

Photos of the Supermarine Swift
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The Swift evolved from a number of prototypes, particularly the Type 510. The Type 510 became the first British aircraft to have both swept wings and a swept tailplane and the first swept-wing aircraft to take off and land from an aircraft carrie The Swift had been ordered into "super-priority" production, a policy created by Sir Winston Churchill who had become Prime Minister in 1951 at a time of particular tension between NATO and the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War; the Korean War had begun in 1950. The first production variant was a fighter designated the Swift F Mk 1, of which 18 were eventually built. The first flight occurred in 1953 and the F.1 entered service with No. 56 Squadron RAF in February 1954, becoming the RAF's first swept-wing aircraft. It was powered by a 7,500 lb-thrust engine and carried an armament of two 30 mm cannon.

Tragedy began to strike early in the career of the Swift with a number of accidents. The F 1 was grounded in the August of the same year it had entered service All fighter variants of the Swift were withdrawn from service by the RAF, after a short time in service, to be replaced by the more capable Hawker Hunter.

The Swift never saw combat action with the RAF. It did break a number of speed records in its time; in Libya, in 1953, an F.4 (WK198) piloted by Commander Mike Lithgow broke the world absolute speed record, reaching a speed of 737.7 mph. The Swift has the distinction of being the last British production aircraft to hold this record . Under two hundred Swifts were built from an order of 497. A number of Swift airframes went to Australia for Operation Buffalo in 1956, being placed at various distances from a detonating atomic bomb.

Here is a video of the Supermarine Swift:

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 131 of the Wings Friend or Foe series The Supermarine Swift

Trading card representation of the Supermarine Swift
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the Supermarine Swift.

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