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September 21, 2012

Spitfire lands at Edwards to commemorate Battle of Britain

A World War II era Royal Air Force Spitfire flies over an F-35 Lightning II parked on the Edwards flightline. The RAF fighter was brought in Sept. 14 to celebrate “Battle of Britain Night” hosted by the United Kingdom Lightning II Test and Evaluation Squadron.

The United Kingdom Joint Strike Fighter Test and Evaluation Squadron here at Edwards hosted the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Night at Club Muroc Sept. 14.

Patrons were treated to dinner and drinks to commemorate the World War II battle, which lasted from July 10-Oct. 3, 1940.

The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces; the British in the defensive were mainly using fighter aircraft, the Germans used a mixture of bombers with fighter protection.

It was the largest and most sustained bombing campaign attempted up until that date. The failure of Nazi Germany to destroy Britain’s air defense or to break British morale is considered its first major setback.

The highlight of the evening was the arrival of a Supermarine Spitfire, which made passes over the flightline before taxiing in to the 461st Flight Test Squadron Ramp.

The World War II-era plane is a British single-seat fighter aircraft that was used by the Royal Air Force and many other Allied countries throughout the war.

A Supermarine Spitfire parked next to F-35 AF-6 at the 461st Flight Test Squadron, Sept. 14.

During the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire was perceived by the public as the RAF fighter of the battle, though the more numerous Hawker Hurricane shouldered a greater proportion of the burden against the German Air Force. The Spitfire units had a lower attrition rate and a higher victory-to-loss ratio than those flying Hurricanes.

After the Battle of Britain, the Spitfire became the backbone of RAF Fighter Command, and saw action in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific and the South-East Asian theaters.

The Spitfire continued to be used as a front line fighter and in secondary roles into the 1950s. It was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft and was the only British fighter in continuous production throughout the war.

 




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