TYPE: Single-engined monoplane reconnaissance aircraft

DIMENSIONS: Length: 32 ft 8 in (9.96 m)

Wingspan: 36 ft 10 in (11.23 m)

Height: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)

WEIGHTS: Empty: 6,550 lb (2,971 kg)

Max T/O: 10,450 lb (4,740 kg)

PERFORMANCE: Max Speed: 460 mph (740 km/h)

Range: 1,550 miles (2,494 km)

Powerplant: Rolls-Royce Griffon 66

Output: 2,035 hp (1,517 kW)




Following the usual practice, as soon as Spitfires were available with powerful Griffon 61 series engines, the PRUs made their demands. Still more altitude and a higher top speed suited their needs admirably, but they wanted the advantage of a pressure-cabin which allowed pilots to safely fly the aircraft at altitudes in excess of 40,000 ft. Units had experienced a taste of this with the limited production run PR X (based on the F VII), and they were keen to get hold of the new PR XIX, which evolved from the Spitfire XIV. Boasting a greater range than the PR XI and the cockpit conditions of the PR X, the aeroplane would be broadly similar to the Mk XIV but with modified PR XI wings (more fuel tanks were added) and other modifications associated with the installation of cockpit pressurisation. In general, the latter system was the same as that installed in the Spitfire VII, except that for this aircraft the air intake and blower were on the port side of the engine rather than to starboard.

The camera installation in the PR XIX was broadly similar to that found in the PR XI, with a ‘U’ fitting provided for either two ‘fanned’ or a single F52 36-inch vertical camera, two ‘fanned’ F52 20-inch vertical or two ‘fanned’ F24 14-inch vertical cameras and one F24 14-inch or 8-inch oblique. In addition, the wing camera installation as used on later PR XIs could be fitted in place on the inter-spar fuel tanks.

The all-up weight of the PR XIX was 7,500 lbs, and with its overall PR blue finish and no guns, the aircraft looked the last word in smooth, purposeful efficiency. Little wonder, then, that the PR XIX was the fastest Spitfire of them all with a top speed of 460 mph – an increase of 100 mph over its elder brother, the Mk I.

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