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Thread: Spitfire Mk.XVI and its engine

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    Default Spitfire Mk.XVI and its engine

    Hello,

    The Spit XVI was equipped with American-built Merlin (Packard) engines. Regarding those engines, who paid them? The British government or were they paid via the Lend-Lease?


    Thanks

    Phil

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    Phil,
    The overall concept of Lend Lease (apart from getting around the USA's neutrality laws) was that each participating partner should contribute to the pool of materials to wage the war, and that this system of mutual contributions would require an agreed pricing system so that any disparities in each nation's contibution could be "settled" by negotiations after the war, in cash or in kind. However as the United States was always the senior partner, and largest contibutor by far in all the sepaarate agreements with different Allied nations, the system was frequently viewed by the junior partners as being somehow weighted in the USA's favour in some way. Nevertheless they were still keen to sign up as it did ensure fairly rapid delivery of up to date aircraft, for example, or other desperately needed supplies. The USA also required that it alone would maintain all the financial books, and reserved the right to negotiate the values it was prepared to place on supplies from other nations. So the answer is that Lend-Lease engines supplied to the UK government, including V-1650 Merlins, Lycoming O-290s, Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14s, and P&W R-2800 Double Wasps and strangely even the obsolete R-1535 Twin Wasp Juniors, all fitted in British produced aircraft, had all to be eventually paid for. I believe the UK government finally completed settlement of these debts (as Britain only supplied a fraction of this debt by so-called "Reverse Lend-Lease" to US forces, usually in the form of aircraft or vehicles, raw materials etc.) as recently as about 10 years ago. Try googling this subject - it was seen at the time as the end of a long, vital at the time, and generally amicable agreement. Others saw it as bleeding the old, already practically bankrupt, British Empire completley dry!
    David D

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