Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has ordered six squadrons of Spitfires to equip Britain's new carriers in a move that's already been criticised as pandering to the over-50 male voter. But Hammond has responded by reminding doubters of the high combat effectiveness of the single-engined Rolls Royce Merlin powered fighter plane in Britain's last major conflict not counting the Falklands of course.
"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few, which is why we have to have value for money across the defence budget, and the spitfire offers this," Hammond explained. "Not only that, it's cool, and rest assured we will find the money to add that hook it's probably going to need for carrier use."
Much of the original plant, tooling and construction details used to manufacture spitfires during WW2 no longer exists, but plans for a one-twelfth scale model published in Aeromodeller March 1971 are to be scaled up by replacing inches with feet. The new fighter planes will be built by enthusiasts in various sheds across the land and assembled for flight testing on Chobham Common in Surrey, not all that far from from many of the historic airfields that got bombed a lot in the Battle of Britain.
"We looked long and hard at other options, including the torpedo-carrying Swordfish that was so highly effective against the Bismarck. But we decided quite rightly that Britain deserves a fighting force fit for the 20th Century and the spitfire is certainly that."