Sea Otter 



The Supermarine Sea Otter was a biplane amphibian for reconaissance and 'Search and Rescue' duties. The forst two prototypes ordered under Contract No 493798/36 to specification  5/36 from Supermarine were given the original name for the Sea Otter which was due to be called the Stingray. The first prototype K8854 carried out its first flight on 29 September 1938 ansd subsequently was involved in various recovery trials with HMS Pegasus in February and November 1939. The second prototype K8855 was destroyed in an air raid on Woolston on the 26 September 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain.

The first prototype was sent to C squadron A& AEE, Boscombe Down for w/e in December 1941 and subsequently to Admiralty charge and became the first Sea Otter to enter squadron service with 763 squadron at Sandbanks in June 1943.

RAN Sea Otter at the end of WWII

The Sea Otter was broadly based on the Walrus, with a tractor engine and more refined construction. It could be either Carrier or shore based and served with the RAF Coastal Command and the FAA. It consisted of two marks, Mk I Amphibian with optional underwing bombs or depth charges and the A.S.R. Mk II Air/Sea rescue version.

Following the success of the prototypes, 250 production Sea Otter ABR.I were ordered under Contract No Ctts/Acft/1806 from Saunders-Roe Ltd, Cowes and the final aircraft being completed as ASR.II from JN185-JN257.

The first production aircraft was delivered in August 1943, and a total of 4 had been delivered by the end of the year, the rest been delivered in 1944 and 1945. The Sea Otter was the last biplane to enter RAF and FAA service in 1944. A total of 292 were built mainly for the FAA although only 94 had been delivered by August 1945.

         Fleet Air Arm history
        Total FAA 1939-1945               94 (252 in total)
        First delivered to RN:                1939
        First squadron 1939-1945:          1943 763 sqdn
        Operational squadron:                None
        Last served with RN                 1945
2 Sea Otter Prototypes ordered under Contract No 493798/36 to spec 5/36 from Supermarine
Serial Numbers: K8854 to K8855

250 Sea Otter ABR.I ordered under Contract No Ctts/Acft/1806 from Saunders-Roe Ltd, Cowes.
Serial Numbers JM740-JN257. Completed as ASR.II from JN185.

By August 1945 there were 92 deld
First deld 8.43 (only 4 in 1943 and rest in 1944 and 1945)

Aircraft Type:
Supermarine Sea Otter
Mk I
Primary Role:
Reconaissance / Search and Rescue Biplane
Communications or air-sea rescue
First Flight: 
29 September 1938
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
1943-1945 post war
Saunders-Roe Ltd, Cowes.
One 870 HP Bristol Mercury 30 radial engine
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Wingspan 46 ft (14.02 m) 
Length 11.40 m
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
Empty Weight 3087kg
 Maximum Take Off Weight 4536kg



Speed 154 mph  (248 km/h) 
Ceiling  16,076 ft (4,900 m) 
Range 833 mi  (1,340 km)

One .303in Vickers 'K' gun in a bow position and two .303in Vickers 'K' guns amidships 
450kg bombs
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA

Surviving aircraft and relics
There is only one known preserved Sea Otter in the world, at the Australia Museum of Flight (Naval Aviation Museum, Nowra NSW, Australia), which houses the nose section of JN200, a Sea Otter which served with the RAN.

Associations and reunions
No Information
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995)  'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


Return to Home Page


This page is published by Fleet Air Arm Archive and is updated regularly.
© 2000-2001 All rights reserved for all information created for or on behalf of the Fleet Air Arm Archive
Contact email: