Mr Coombe, who is now in his early 90s, was stationed in Burma at the end of the Second World War and is one of eight eye-witnesses to come forward.
The planes are believed to be buried some 25 to 30 feet below the ground, and Mr Cundall believes they may have been protected from erosion due to a lack of oxygen under ground.
Project archaeologist Andy Brockman said: “The archaeological team are treating this like a police mystery. We’ve got a missing person, we’ve got a crime scene, and at the end we’ll hopefully have the evidence to base a case to say what actually happened at Mingaladon in 1945.”
Wargaming.net is providing financial support for the hunt, which is hoped will unearth the first Spitfire in about two weeks.