By Tom Choy
The Supermarine Seafire Mk.XV was a real mongrel of an aircraft, combining
the airframe and C-type wings of the Seafire Mk.L.III with the wing
root fuel tanks of the Spitfire Mk.IX, the retractable tailwheel and
enlarged rudder of the Spitfire Mk.VIII and a navalised version of the
Rolls-Royce Griffon engine, the Mk.VI. The Mk.XV production totaled
384 examples, most being equipped with sting-type arrestor hooks (like
the one featured in this model), the exception being a number of the
early production aircraft which retained the A-frame arrestor hook of
the Seafire Mk.I, II and III (which this kit also has). The type entered
operational service with No.802 Sqn. FAA in May of 1945 and remained
in post-war Commonwealth and French naval service for a number of years.
Thirty-five Seafire Mk.XV's served with the RCN from June of 1946. These aircraft, operated by 803 and 883 Squadrons as well as the Training Air Group, represented the first of three generations of single-seat fighters that were to serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the other two being the Sea Fury and the Banshee. The Seafire Mk.XV saw only limited service aboard HMCS Warrior before the type was restricted to operation from shore bases, due to a supercharger clutch defect that took almost a year to correct. The last Canadian unit to fly Seafire Mk.XV's was the Training Air Group, which grounded its surviving examples of this aircraft in the spring of 1949.