Supermarine Spitfire FR18
The Supermarine Spitfire FR18 was one of the final versions of the legendary Spitfire of Battle of Britain fame. However, although the FR18 was easily recognised as a Spitfire, it was vastly different from the early Mk 1 aircraft. The FR 18 was larger in every respect, weighing nearly more than 3000lbs fully loaded than the Mk 1, it was also 3 feet longer and instead of the 990BHP RR Merlin II, the FR18 was powered by a 2000BHP RR Griffon 65. The performance difference between the two aircraft showed even more clearly how rapid aircraft development had been during WW2; in 1940 the Spitfire Mk I could achieve a maximum speed of around 350mph and had a service ceiling of 34,700ft, yet just four years later in 1944 the Spitfire FR18 was capable of 450mph and had a service ceiling of 44,000ft. As a dedicated fighter reconnaissance aircraft, the Spitfire FR18 carried a 31-gallon fuel tank, two vertical cameras and one oblique camera in the rear fuselage and entered widespread service with a number of squadrons towards the end of WW2.