This story is not about JSF, or Rafale or Typhoon or Gripen but about one of the world's legendary planes: the Spitfire, a large number of which – up to 120 – were found in almost pristine condition in Burma last February and are now going to be returned to the UK.
Thanks to an English farmer's dogged determination and willingness to spend a considerable amount of his own money, the Griffon-engined Mark XIVs Spitfires have been located and British Prime Minister David Cameron has secured a deal that will allow them to be dug up and shipped back to Britain almost 67 years after they were hidden more than 40-feet below ground.
The aircraft were discovered in February by English farmer David Cundall, 62, who has spent 15 years, travelled 12 times to Burma and spent more than £130,000 in his quest. Using radar imaging technology Cundall found the aircraft buried at a former Royal Air Force base. They had been shipped to Burma and then travelled by train to the RAF base during the war, but were never used because by the end of the war they were nearing obsolescence. Unwilling to leave high-performance, if out-dated, aircraft in a country with an uncertain future, Britain’s South East Asia command decided to bury them. As many as 120 Spitfires, original cost about £12,000, may have been disposed of in this way.
“They were just buried there in transport crates,” Cundall told the Daily Telegraph which published the story today (May 7). “They were waxed, wrapped in greased paper and their joints tarred. They will be in near perfect condition.”
The £500,000 excavation of the planes is being funded by the UK-based Boultbee Flight Academy and will start imminently.
You can read the full story with all the details here.