The Rolls-Royce Griffon engine was designed in answer to Royal Naval specifications for an engine capable of generating good power at low altitudes. Concepts for adapting the Spitfire to take the new engine had begun as far back as October 1939; Joseph Smith felt that "The good big 'un will eventually beat the good little 'un." and Ernest Hives of Rolls-Royce thought that the Griffon would be "a second power string for the Spitfire".The first of the Griffon-engined Spitfires flew on 27 November 1941.
FR Mk XIV
Late in 1944 a number of high-back full-span Mk XIVEs were converted by the Forward Repair Unit (FRU) to have a single camera fitted, facing to port or starboard; a conversion identical to that used on the FRU-converted FR Mk IXC. To achieve this a new hatch, similar to the radio hatch on the port side, was installed on the starboard side, and both hatches were fitted with camera ports in streamlined blisters. Otherwise this version of the FR Mk XIVE was essentially the same as the standard aircraft. These field-converted aircraft were allocated to 430 squadron RCAF. Later, purpose-built conversions, also known as the FR Mk XIVE, had the later cut-down rear fuselage with its tear drop–shaped canopy, port and/or starboard camera ports (without blisters), and an additional rear fuel tank of 34 gallons which extended the Spitfire's range to about 610 miles (980 km) on internal fuel. Because it was used mainly at low altitudes the "production" FR Mk XIVE had clipped wingtips.
In total, 957 Mk XIVs were built, over 430 of which were FR Mk XIVs.
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