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Sea King
Role Flying boat
Manufacturer Supermarine
Designed by R. J. Mitchell
First flight Early 1920
Number built 2

The Supermarine Sea King was a British fighter flying boat designed and built by the Supermarine Aviation Works.


Design and development

In 1919, Supermarine commenced design of a single seat flying boat fighter, similar to its 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 hp (119 kW) Beardmore 160 hp engine, first flying in early 1920, and later refitted with a 240 hp (179 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, and retractable main landing gear and fixed tail skid. The tail was of monoplane type mounted half way up the single fin with a single rudder. The Sea King II was powered by a single 300 hp (224 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 being 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 hp Beardmore or 240 hp Siddeley Puma engine. One built.
Sea King II
Revised Amphibian fighter. Powered by 300 hp Hispano engine.

Specifications (Sea King II)

Data from Supermarine Aircraft since 1914 [4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Length: 26 ft 9 in (8.15 m)
  • Wingspan: 32 ft 0 in (8.75 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 7 in (3.53 m)
  • Empty weight: 2,115 lb (959 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 2,850 lb (1,293 kg)
  • Powerplant:Hispano-Suiza in pusher configuration, 300 hp (224 kW)



See also

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.

External links



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