Military Wiki
Role Amphibian
Manufacturer Supermarine
First flight 9 January 1928
Number built 2

The Supermarine Seamew was a British twin engined amphibian, built by the Supermarine company, intended as a small, shipborne aircraft.

Design and development

The British Air Ministry placed an order for two Seamews in 1925, to meet Specification 29/24.[1] The Seamew featured a wooden hull and two bay folding biplane wings with mainplanes utilizing a wood and metal composite construction with fabric covering and braced tail unit with twin fins and rudders. The aircraft was powered by two 238 horsepower (177 kW) geared Armstrong Siddeley Lynx IV radial engines mounted between the wings, driving two-bladed tractor propellers. As an amphibian, it had a retractable main undercarriage with fixed tailskid. The crew of three had a single pilot in the nose cockpit, a forward gunner behind the pilot but forward of the lower wing and rear gunner aft of the lower wing.[2][3]

Development of the Seamew was slow, as Supermarine were busy with other projects, including the Southampton flying boat and the S.4 and Supermarine S.5 racing floatplanes for the Schneider Trophy.[1][4] The Seamew first prototype N212 made its maiden flight on 9 January 1928.[5]

Operational history

Testing showed several major problems with the Seamew. The aircraft was nose heavy in flight, and water spray during take-off damaged the 10 feet (3.0 m) diameter propellers. The second prototype was fitted with reduced (8 feet (2.4 m)) diameter, four-bladed propellers in an attempt to reduce the spray damage problem, but these gave a poor rate of climb.[6] Another problem was corrosion of stainless steel fittings. These required replacing at considerable expense and as the type was unsatisfactory, the two prototypes were instead scrapped in 1930.[3][7]


 United Kingdom

Specifications (Seamew)

Data from Supermarine Aircraft since 1914 [8]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3 (pilot and two gunners)
  • Length: 36 ft 558 in (11.12 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 1112 in (14.00 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 1 in (4.60 m)
  • Wing area: 610 ft² (56.7 m²)
  • Airfoil: Göttingen 387[9]
  • Empty weight: 4,675 lb (2,120 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 5,800 lb (2,631 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Armstrong Siddeley Lynx IV 7-cylinder radial, 238 hp (178 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 95 mph (83 kn, 153 km/h) at 2,000 ft
  • Service ceiling: 10,950 ft (36,337 m)
  • Rate of climb: 523 ft/min (2.7 m/s)


  • 2 × .303 in (7.7 mm) Lewis Guns
  • References

    1. 1.0 1.1 London 2003, pp. 92, 94.
    2. Andrews and Morgan 1987, pp. 112–114.
    3. 3.0 3.1 London 2003, p. 94.
    4. Andrews and Morgan 1987, p. 113.
    5. Andrews and Morgan 1987, p. 114.
    6. Andrews and Morgan 1987, pp. 115–116.
    7. Andrews and Morgan 1987, p. 115.
    8. Andrews and Morgan 1987, p. 116.
    9. Andrews and Morgan 1987, p. 112.
    • Andrews, C.N. and Morgan, E.B. Supermarine Aircraft since 1914, Second edition. London: Putnam, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-800-3.
    • London, Peter. British Flying Boats. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Sutton Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-7509-2695-3.
    • Thetford, Owen. British Naval Aircraft Since 1912, Fourth Edition. London: Putnam, 1978. ISBN 0-370-30021-1.

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