The Supermarine Southampton
was a 1920s British flying boat
, one of the most successful flying boats
of the between-war period. It was a development of the Supermarine Swan
, which was used for a 10 passenger service between England and France.
Design and development
The Southampton was designed by the team of R. J. Mitchell
, better known as the designer of the later Spitfire
. Due to the success of the Swan, the Air Ministry
ordered six Southamptons direct from the drawing board, which was very unusual. As the Swan had acted in effect as a prototype
, development time was short.
The Southampton was a two-engine biplane
flying boat, with the tractor engines mounted between the wings. The Southampton Mk I
had both its hull
and its wings manufactured from wood. The Southampton Mk II
had a hull with a single thickness of metal (duralumin
) (the Mk I had a double wooden bottom). This change gave a weight saving of 900 lb
) allowing for an increase of range of approximately 200 mi
). In 1929, 24 of the Mk I were converted by having newly-built metal hulls replacing the wooden ones. Some of the later aircraft were built with metal wings and were probably designated as Southampton Mk III
.There were three positions for machine guns
, one in the nose and two staggered in the rear fuselage.
The first flight of a production aircraft was made on 10 March 1925, and delivery to the RAF
started in the middle of 1925.