With its diesel engines and pressurised cockpit, the German reconnaissance Junkers Ju 86P could fly at up to 46,000 ft well above the normal altitude obtainable by RAF Spitfires in the Mediterranean. That was until 103 Maintenance Unit based at Aboukir near Alexandria modified three Spitfires MkVc. The Spitfires were serialled BP985, BR114 and BR234. The aircraft were stripped of all unnecessary equipment, radio, armour an part of their armament, with specially tuned Merlin engines and locally fabricated extended wing tips. The Spitfires were flown by Test Pilots from 103MU Special Duties Flight at Aboukir.
A tactics was developed whereupon the aircraft operated in pairs. The Spitfire flew as “Striker” aircraft accompanied by either another Spitfire or Hurricane callsigned “Marker” that climbed to a lower altitude, shadowing the enemy aircraft from below and “marking” it for the “Striker” and the radar as the enemy aircraft was often invisible both visually and to radar at those high altitudes.
The aircraft were then handed over to No. 123 Squadron with the modifications still intact. Two of the Spitfires were subsequently handed over to No. 451 Squadron RAAF who continued to use them within the Desert Air Force to combat high-flying Luftwaffe aircraft.
The model is 1/32 scale, based on the Hasegawa kit.
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