Supermarine Walrus

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Supermarine Walrus

Supermarine Walrus Biplane History
Starting out as the Supermarine Seagull V, the Supermarine Walrus was built by the Supermarine Aviation Works from a design by Reginald J. Mitchell. It was an amphibious biplane designed to be launched, by catapult, from battleships or cruisers and had wings that folded back to allow for easier storage on board ship. It’s single Pegasus II M2 radial engine was mounted on struts between the upper and lower wings and drove a four bladed propeller. Although this aircraft only required one pilot, there were positions for two, and places for two control columns. This allowed the control column to be removed from one position and placed in the other, allowing for pilots to fly from the left (main) or right positions. The maiden flight of the prototype took place on June 21, 1933. Variants included: Seagull V, Walrus I and Walrus II.

The Supermarine Walrus Biplane Operational History
The Royal Air Force began to receive these biplanes in 1936, although the Royal Australian Air Force had received the first Seagull V a year earlier. They were being used extensively by the outbreak of WW2. Although the intention was to use them for gunnery spotting in naval actions, they rarely carried out this role. They were more often used in other roles such as patrolling for submarines, and surface raiders, and picking up downed aircrew. Their use on battleships and cruisers was declining by 1943, however their deployment from aircraft carriers continued as they were used more for air sea rescue.

The Supermarine Walrus Biplane Later Years
The RAF and some foreign navies continued to operate this aircraft after WW2 and several found their way into civilian use.

Operators of these biplanes included: The Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, the Argentine Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy, the French Navy, the Irish Air Corps, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, The Royal New Zealand Navy, the Soviet Naval Aviation, the Turkish Air Force, Australia’s Amphibious Airways, Canada’s Kenting Aviation, the Netherlands whaling ship Willem Barentsz, Norway’s Vestlandske Luftfartsselskap and the UK’s United Whalers.

There are currently three examples displayed in museums. A Seagull V in the Royal Air Force Museum, London, a Walrus in the Royal Australian Air Force Museum, Victoria, and a Walrus in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yeovilton.

Various scale models, model kits and plans of this aircraft have been available in the market place.

Supermarine Walrus Biplane Specifications:

Supermarine Walrus Crew:
3 to 4
Supermarine Walrus Length:
37ft 7in (11.45m)
Supermarine Walrus Wingspan:
45ft 10in (14.0m)
Supermarine Walrus Height:
15ft 3in (4.6m)
Supermarine Walrus Wing area:
610ft² (56.7m²)
Supermarine Walrus Empty weight:
4,900lb (2,220kg)
Supermarine Walrus Maximum takeoff weight:
8,050lb (3,650kg)
Supermarine Walrus Engine:
Single Bristol Pegasus VI radial engine, 680 hp (510 kW)
Supermarine Walrus Maximum speed:
135mph (215km/h)
Supermarine Walrus Range:
600 mi (965 km)
Supermarine Walrus Service Ceiling:
18,500ft (5,650m)

Supermarine Walrus Biplane Armament:

6 x 100lb or
2 x 250lb or
2 x Depth Charges

2 or 3 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers K machine guns
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Modified 2018