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POSTIIAR MILITARYAIRCRAFT' 5

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ANDSEAVIXEI\I

PHILIP BIRTLES
De Havilland VamPire,
Venom and Sea Vixen
PHILIP BIRTLES
Design of the Vampire began in 1941, its
twin-boom layout chosen to minimise the
length of the iet tailpipe, and hence the
power losses from the primitive jet engines
then under development. The type entered
squadron service in 1946, eventually equip-
ping several Fighter Command first-line
home defence squadrons. However, with the
introduction of the FB5 the role of the
Vampire changed from an interceptor fighter
to a close-support ground attack fighter-
bomber, and this variant became the most
common in RAF service, many squadrons
being stationed in Germany with the 2nd
Tactical Air Force.
Produced as a successor to the Vampire,
the Venom was a completely new design
based around the superior Ghost engine,
and received much praise for its excellent
rate of climb and good manoeuvrability at
high altitudes.
Both the VamPire and the Venom saw
wide squadron service, and were adapted to
night-fighter, trainer and naval versions'
Thiir reliable all-round performance and
capabilities attracted numerous overseas
buyers, and some aircraft still serve with
overseas air forces.
The third de Havilland twin-boom was the
Sea Vixen: this was not only the Fleet Air
Arm's first swept-wing two-seat all-weather
fighter, but also Britain's first naval aircraft
designed as an integrated weapons system,
and the first to become fully operational
armed with guided weaPons'
Philip Birtles surveys the development of
these twin-boom jet fighters, their squadron
service, variants and overseas operators to
produce a well-illustrated reference of three
of the most significant British postwar
military aircraft.

Cover: Sea Vixen FAW2s of No 899 Naval Air


Squadron in SePtember 1967.
Peter R. March

f9.95
DE HAVILLAND
\AMPIRE,VENOM
ANDSEAVIXEN

Above:
The Vonom FB4 had powered Gontrols and a revised
fin and rudder shape.
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POSTWARMILITARY
AIRCRAFT,5
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DE HAVILLAND
I \AMPIRE,VENOM
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ANDSEAVIXEN

PHILIP
BIRTLES

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LON DON

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Contents
I Jet Engine Development 5

2 Vampire Development and


Production 13

3 Thc Vampire Enters Service 24

4 Vampires for Export 32

5 The Vampire Night Fighter 41

6 The Vampire Trainer 44

7 Vampire Trainers Overseas 52

8 The Venom Fighter-Bombers 61


9 Venom Night Fighters 72

l0 Venoms With Hooks 77

11 The DH-110 9l
12 The Se a Vixen 96

Appendices
Previous page:
The FAW2 could carry four pods.of unguided rockets
I Vampire Spccifications 108
on underwing pylons, instead of Red Top missiles.
Underwing fuel tanks were carried outboard. 2 Vcnom Spccifications 108
Royal Navy
3 Sca Vixen Specifications 109
First published 986
1
4 Production 109
tsBN 0 71 10 1566 X

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be


reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photo-
copying, recording or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission from the
Publisher in writing.

@Philip Birtles l986


Published by lan Allan Ltd, Shepperton, Surrey;
and printed by la n Allan Printing Ltd at their works
at Coombelands in Runnymede, England

AII photographs are de Havilland/Hawker Siddeley/


Briiish Aerospace copyright unless otherwise
credited.
I
Jet Engine Development
\Lr account of de Havilland twin boom jet fighters company had been privately financed, but with the
a..uld be complete without at first dealing with development of jet engines, government support
:.:rlv de Havilland jet engine development. would be required, as well as contracts for military
The principle of the jet engine was well production.
:stablished before World War 2, and by 1939 Jet propulsion would be most efficient and
Germany was undertaking its own research into effective at speeds in excess of 500mph, and in
:he practical applications of this new form of early 1.941 the aircraft designers could foresee the
:-ircraft propulsion, which anticipated far greater possibility of building aircraft to achieve this
ileeds than attainable with the highest perfor- speed. A group of senior de Havilland personnel,
:rance piston engines. Britain, however, could not including Sir Geoffrey de Havilland and Frank
:rare the time, materials, facilities or manpower to Halford, visited RAF Cranwell to see Sir Frank
::rdertake any new research, relying on estab- Whittle's pioneer work on the jet engine, and
-r>hed production lines building Spitfires and witnessed an early flight by the experimental
Hurricane fighters and Merlin engines to attempt Gloster E.28139. The take-off run was very long
:ie seemingly impossible task of defending against and the flight duration very short, but it was a
. determined enemy during the Battle of Britain. significant start, which demonstrated the possi-
Only when the worst of this was barely over in bility of a completely new era in flight.
:arlr 1941, was it possible for Maj Frank Halford, In the early weeks of 1941, de Havilland was
:he architect of de Havilland engines, to spare given the go-ahead to produce the new engine, and
r.me effort for work on iet propulsion. The became the first British company to develop a jet
rre\\'ar de Havilland Engine Co had been geared
-.:p to producing a range
of light piston engines,
:nd production of the new turbine engines would Below:
The Halford H.1 iet engine when developed led to the
lequire a great deal of reorganisation, with new de Havilland Goblin, which was produced in large
:ools. machines, materials and skills. The engine numbers for the Vampire,
et
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engine for production, having been beaten in time Above:


During running on the test bed the Halford H.1 engine
by only Germany. No earlier attempts could have suffered some fire damage.
been made without risking defeat in the air by the
Luftwaffe. Above right:
The engine layout chosen rvas the centrifugal The first Gloster Meteor to fly was DG2O6/G f rom
Cranwell on 5 March 1943, powered by two Halford
type, which was easier to develop with less risk. H.1 engines.
but was less efficient, and had less development
potential than the later axial type. The Halford Bight:
I{.1 engine, code-named'Supercharger', and later The Halford H.1 engines litted in the Meteor nacelles
with space to spare and were easily accessible.
named Goblin, pioneered practical jet develop-
ment, and was therefore not the most efficient and
refinecl design. Much experience had to be gained
with materials and improvement in design. To of a piston engine driving a propeller, the early jet
achieve the best performance from these early porvered aircraft had a painfully slow acceleration,
power plants, a great deal of air had to be fed to particularly on take-off. and so they required long
ihe compressor, and the maximum thrust rvas iunrvays. A fair proportion of the fuel carried was
achieved by having as short a jet pipe as possible to uscd during taxying.
avoid loss of performance. The unusual twin boonl Design of the Goblin engine commenced and
conliguration of the Vampire provided the means the first drarvings rvere issued to the shop floor on
to achieve this, while keeping drag and rveight to a 8 August 1941. The projcct required a whole new
minimum. Furthermore, the centrifugal engine approach to thermal, dynamic, mechanical and
t'eatured a larger diameter than the axial florv jet. rninuiacturing considerations. the cornpressor and
and high fuel consumption particularly iit low some of the other large components causing
altitudes
-
kept the endurance of the aircraft special problems.
-
short. Any rvay of keeping drag and weight to a On 13 April 19,12. only 248 days from the issue
minimum therefore gave the aircraft a better of the first drarvings. the prototype turbine engine
performance, justifying the installation of a jet was run on the Hatfield test-bed for the first time,
cngine. Also. without the instant power capability rvith security ensured by posting armed guards

6
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Gloster Meteor DG2O7/G was the prototype F2 Towards the end of July de Havilland was
powerd by a pair of H.1b Goblin engines, and was investigating potential production arrangements,
dloc€ted to de Havilland Engines foi trials. and on 10 September the company was asked to
submit a complete detailed manufacturing plan,
-::
A Halford H,1 engine was fitted to the American which it accomplished by 18 September. Eight
Lockheed XP-8O prototype iet fighters, To ease days later a 25-hour flight approval run was
rccess, the rear fuselage could be removed. completed. bringing total test bed running to
nearly 20 hours on two engines, with others nearly
completed.
The_production Goblin engine had a similar layout to
6e H.1 engine with a c€ntrifugal compressor and split The basic design of the Goblin remained largely
.ntakes to suit the Vampire installation. unchanged during development, but a characler-
istic of gas turbine engines is that any minor
improvements in efficiency have a relatively large
eff'ect on thrust. The major concentrations of
-:' rund the installation. Two days later a half-hour effort in refining the design were on the
::J;ptaDC€ test run was made at half speed, and combustion chambers (a new problem to the team
:,.; follorving stripping down of the engine proved of designers) and the engine compressor. New
: i(r be fully satisfactory. The engin-e was techniquesof investigating vibration had to be
::-::sembl€d to begin its main programme of evolved, one problem being to adhere strain
::"..lopment running, its characteristic but unfam_ gauges to the compressor blades at very high
.,: *hine being heard from the other side of the speeds.
.,::eld. When questions were asked, the noise was However, all the problems were overcome, and
.:::ibuted to a new electrical plant. within two years of the start of design work the
During running on 5 May, the engine went quiet Goblin engine was ready to fly. The aircraft
-. ii came to a sudden stop. The intake had been company had been busy with Mosquito develop-
--,-ied flat by the compressor, cutting off the air ments and the Hornet long range fighter, delaying
.-flll
?nq stalling the engine. A complete strip progress on the Vampire airframe designed to take
:Jr -aled little damage and, following iepair and the new jet engine. The Gloster aircraft company
::-.1ssembly, it ran at full speed for the firsi time on had meanwhile followed the experimental E.28139
I -'une. achieving its designed thrust within two with the twin jet Meteor single-seat day fighter,
- -- rlhs of its first run. and its first prototype was ready to fly. Although
10
later aircraft were to be powered by a pair of
Rolls-Royce Derwent jet engines, Goblin engines
were installed and powered the maiden flight of
the Meteor on 5 March 1943 flown by Michael
Daunt, Gloster's chief test pilot.
Six months later the Vampire was ready with its
single_Goblin-engine, and it made its maiden flight
from Hatfield on 20 September, in the hands of
Geoffrey de I{avilland Jnr, son of the company's
founder. The engines worked well and, alt'hough
there was no hazard of a whirling propeller, the
-be
suction of the jet intakes were found to enough
to pull a man in, if he was unfortunate to 5e
standing nearby.
With the Goblin norv flying, de Havilland was
instructed to send an example of the engine to the
Lockheed Co in California, for installalion in its
XP-80A single-seat jet fighter. Unfortunately, the

Left:
Two Avro Lancastrians were used as flying test beds
for the Ghost engines prior to their insiallation in the
Comet airliner. Flying at the low€r altitudes, the
Lancastrians could cruise with their two Merlin
enginesshutdown. C. E. Brown

lnset:
High altitude testing of the Ghost engine was
undertaken in specially-modified Vampire TG27g
fitted with a pressurised cabin and extended wing
tips.

Below:
The Ghost engine for the Venom was similar in
configuration to the Goblin, but had largel
combustion chambers and developod moro thruat.

11
XP-80A's intake structure was not strong enough' overhaul, including 100 hours at full power, tn
ancl during ground runs it was sucked in. badly representative operational conditions.
damaging the engine. A replacement engine was The Ghost engine for the later Venom was of
shipped out rapidly, allowing the XP-80A to fly for similar design to the Goblin, benefiting from the
the hrst in January 1944. Both the Vampire and growing experience which gave it 5,0001b thrust.
XP-80A easily exceeded 500mph in the spring of Test bed running of the Ghost engine commenced
1944, powered by the all-British Goblin jet engine. just before VJ Day, and four years later it was
The^Air Minisiry type approval tests were passcd powering the next generation of jet fighters. The
on 2 February 1945. the Goblin thus becoming the Ghost was at that time the most powerful jet
first jet engine to achieve this feat. ancl a new engine available and had a lower installed drag and
factory was starting deliveries of the production weight than any other turbine powerplant.
units. The prototype engines had a static thrust of Both the Goblin and Ghost engines were good
2,'7001b, and by the end of the war, with a thrust of examples of effective use of the design knowledge
3,1001b, the Goblin was the most powerful jet available at the time. The adoption of the
engine in production in Britain. Later versions of relatively safe centrifugal design gave a reliable
the Goblin developed 3,5001b of thrust. engine for world-wide service at an early date,
Despite a relatively low effort, compared with while the more advanced layout of the axial type
Germany, de Havilland had built a lighter engine could be studied with less urgency. By choosing a
with a lower fuel consumption per pound of thrust' single-sided. rather than double-sided compressor,
Also the standard of reliability was much higher, the combined efficiency of the aircraft and power
the typical BMW 003 axial flow engine needing an unit was greater. This was achieved by close
overhaul every 25 flying hours. collaboration between the engine and the aircraft
In July and August 1948 the Goblin had the divisions of de Havilland.
most severe tests ever conducted on an aero- Simplicity of design was maintained in the Ghost
engine. It was run on the test bed over a period of by pioneering the straight-through flow of combus-
seven weeks, giving the equivalent of 462 combat tion gases, without any major changes of direction
sorties each of 65 minutes duration. Maximum before reaching the turbine blades. The straight-
power was used for each for 17: minutes to forward cantilever mounting and simple two
simulate take-off, and five minutes to represent bearing main shaft were examples of practical
combat. The engine still gave full power at the end thinking at an early stage.
of the test, and when stripped looked in such good The Ghost engine was then redesigned to
condition that from January to March 1949 the test become the world's first jet engine certificated for
was repeated: it attained 1,000 hours between civil flying when it was selected for the de
Havilland Comet airliner. With some 80% of its
components redesigned the 'civil' Ghost engine
Below: was awarded its type certificate on 28 June 1948,
Vampire Mk 1 VV454 was fitted with a re-heat to a
Ghost iet engine in the autumn of 195O. Before flight
the first jet ever to be approved in the normal
trials it was tested in a spacial ground rig. category for civil transport operation.

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Vampire Development
and Production

.-';:.ril design of the de Havilland DH. 100 Vampire application for the Goblin engine, which otherwise
-:menced rn early I94Z to Air Ministry would have been lacking.
>:;.-iticnrion E.614l. Although this specification The official specification demanded a maximum
-.,..'d for an experimental prototype, provision speed of 490mph, together with a service ceiling of
_".:> mode for fitting four of the new 20mm over 4u,000ft. To achieve this performance using a
:---.r.lno cannons in the underside of the fuselage new form of power, whilst carrying four guns with
-.:r'lle. Early in May 1942 permission was grantEd 150 rounds each, required an efficient design. As a
: :roceed with construction of the jet fighter, but result the Vampire was the last of the unsophisti-
-:.'. production line for quantities of aircraft would cated combat aircraft to be flown by RAF Fighter
.:'.g [s be at somewlrere other than Hatfield. Command, combining Spitfire simplicity with jet
r;,-i1use of the existing saturation of the manufac_ performance.
: -- rne facilities there. Construction of three prototypes was under-
.BrSeptember 7942 the mock-up was well taken in the experimental department at Hatfield,
-:ranced rvith a representative cockpii layout and the smooth, streamlined fuselage nacelle being
:r-:lv of the detail assemblies installed. To check constructed in two halves from the familiar
:.-r' jet efflux clearance, the twin booms and Mosquito-style plywood sandwich with balsa wood
:.r-nlane had been mounted in a relative position as a stabilising filling. Each half was equipped and
: the_engine test bed. Progress on the deiign was joined along the centre line. The pilot was housed
..-.s. l6y,'eysr, because of the priority project
.r -.rk on major Mosquito developments,
bui w"hen
::-: iet fighter was given the pri,ority it deserved, Below:
::ogress improved dramatically. This assured not The vampire prototyps, fitted with tall fins and
rudders, made its first flight from the grass airfield at
-:iv the future of the Vampire, but also gave an Hatfield, piloted by Geoffrey do Havillind Jnr.

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left:
The second prototype Vampirc,lZ55.1tG, became the
first iet to land on an aircraft carrier when flown by
Because Hatfield was fully committed to
Lt Cdr E. M. Brown on to HMS Ocean on 3 December Mosquito production, an alternative factory with
1945. C E Brown adequate capacity had to be found to buiid the
initial production order for I20 Vampires, which
tselow left: was later increased to 300. The English Electric
The first DH.1 08, TG2B3, was used for low speed
research into th€ swept wing, and during itstest factories at Preston and Samlesbury *ere selected
programme it was fitted with Ieading edge slats. toproduce the Vampire F Mk 1s, the first aircraft,
TG274|G, making its maiden flight from Samles-
Bonom left: bury on 20 April 1945. The first 16 production
The second DH.108, TG3O6, was built fo, high speed
research into the swept wing. aircraft joined the flight development programme
covering a wide range of testing at Hatfield,
Samlesbury and the government eltablishments.
The first prototype played no further part in the
test programme when it was destroyed following
rnder a forward-placed, rearward-sliding bubble an engine failure on take off from Hatfield on
canopy, without an ejector seat, but with an ?! JuIy 1945. Fortunately de Havilland's test pilot,
excelient all-round view. The fabric-covered Ge_offrey Pike, escaped without serious injury.
\\'ooden construction of the fuselage up to the
engine bulkhead gave a very smooth nnistr. tne . The second prototype was given a 4%'intrease
rn tlap area, lengthened oleos and an arrester hook
*ings, booms and tail were all of flush-riveted for deck landing trials on HMS Ocean.It became
aluminium construction, and easy access was given the first jet aircraft to land and take off from an
:o the engine by having removable cowlings o; top aircraft carrier on 3 Decemb er 1945, flown by Capt
3nd bottom, as well as an easily removable jet Eric 'Winkle' Brown. Before flying on to the ship,s
pipe. Simplicity was maintained by having all flying deck, trials were made at Farnborough by flying
;ontrols operated manually, without any power into an arrester wire at various speedi and oifset
3ssistance, and no radar was fitted, the guns being distances. As a result of a breakage, the hook
aimed using a single gyro gunsight. As there was supports were strengthened to reduce the hazards
no need for propeller clearance, the tricycle aboard ship. Further practice
. -
undercarriage_was kept short, making accessibility
on land was
conducted at RNAS Ford on 2 December, ready
elen easier. The only unconventional feature of f.or actual attempt the next day. Despite
ihe design was its very necessary twin-boom .th^e -
doubtful weather, 'Winkle' Brown located
layout. HMS Ocean, and the ship prepared for his first
The Vampire, known initially by its code-name landing. The most demanding aspect of the
-
'Spider Crab', took to the air irom the grass approach was that a decision to abort the landing
surface of Hatfield Aerodrome L6 months afte; the
go-ahead, and by early 1,944 was exceeding
had to be made early, because of the slow
, acceleration of the early-standard Goblin engine.
,i0Omph by a handsome margin over a wid6 Once the aircraft was settled on the approacn] tne
altitude range. This first protbtype, LZ54glG, ship could be seen to be pitching and rolling rather
ieatured tall pointed rudders, but production more violently than anticipated. Howevir, the
\/ampire F Mk 1s were to have a flat topped fins batsman gave steady guidance, bringing the
and rudders, later adopting the more familiar de aircraft straight in to a gentle landing, despite the
Havilland shape in subsequent marks. The wings pltchrng stern of the ship hitting the tail-skids just
had an equal taper on the leading and trailing before touch down.
edges with provision for underwing jettisonable The aircraft was soon refuelled and made an
fuel tanks, and small flaps. unassisted take-off which was so short that the
. The second prototype, LZ55llG, soon joined aircraft was 20ft up when it passed the captain,s
the flight testing, and was followed by thiid and lookout point on the bridge. On the fourth linding
final prototype MP838/G on 13 May 1944. (The.c' th.e larger flaps were damaged by the arrester
after the serial number signified the security wires, but by removing 4sq ft of irea, the trials
aspects of the prototypes, which specified a guard continued three days later.
on the aircraft at all times.) No provision wasirade Despite the success of these trials the Vampire
for a development batch of Vimpires for testing, -.
did not enter combat service with the Fleet Air
much of the initial work being undertaken on the Arm, due partly to the poor acceleration of its
hand-built prototypes. The tliird aircraft was the engine if there was a need to overshoot on landing,
first to be fitted with armament, consisting of four and also because of its lack of endurance over a
fixed 20mm Hispano cannon. A simple ieflector hcstile sea where a number of approaches might be
gun sight was located on the instrument panel needed in poor weather. The Vampire was io see
coaming. some Fleet Air Arm service, but as an advanced

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trainer and for development work: more on that
shortly.
N{eanwhile the third prototype. MP838.
porvered by a 2,5001b thrust Halford H1A engine,
to the Aeroplane & Armament
was delivered
Experimental Establishment (A&AEF) at
Boicombe Down for handling trials in April 1944'
In the report published on 1 June i944. the overall
impressions were favourable. The cockpit w-as
considered comfortable, r.vith easy access to the
well-arranged controls and instruments. The
pilot's view was generally good, but spoilt in some
places by distortion, and the thick windscreen
iupportr. Also amongst the credits were good
conirol during high speed taxying. excellent
aileron contro[, very lorv cockpit noise levels and
high speed at lorv lcvel. Criticisms included a poor
raie of c1imb. slow acceleration these character-
-
istics a result of the engine being at an early stage
{ i:}\
in its development and clirectional unsteadiness
5-'rr
which interfered -rvith its efficiency as a gun
4rl#e platform.
Soon after its maiden flight from Sarnlesbury,
the first production aircraft. TGzl4. rvas delivered
to the A&AEE for handling trials in June 1945'
Porver came from a 2,7001b thrust Goblin I engine'
and the all-up rveight of the aircraft was 8,6101h'
The view froin the cockpit rvas still criticised, and
the slight increase in engine thrust did little to
shorten the take-off run. which was long compared
rvith piston-en-qined fighters. The aircraft appeared
to leap into the air at 110mph IAS. while the best
climbing speed rvas 220mph IAS. Nonetheless the
aircraft- was pleasant to fly and directional
behaviour was an improvement over the third
prototype.
-
The .second production aircraft, TG275, was
converteci to the prototype F Mk 3 to specification
F.3l4l, powered by a 3.1001b thrust Goblin 2
engine. Internal fuel tankage was increased from
201to326gal and a pair of 100gal drop tanks could
be carrieci under the rvings. The tailplane and
elevator were lowered between a pair of more
shapely fins and rudders' This prototype first ilew
on-4 November 1946 and rvas allocated to the
A&AEE for handling trials from August 1947 until
the following February. Its assessment considered
that the F Mk 3 did not meet the required
stanclards of stability under some conditions,
either with or without the drop tanks. The type
was. however, cleared for service pending the
evolution and incorporation of suitable rnodifi-
cations, providing that pilots were rvarned of the
shortcomings, and that it was not flown in bad
weaiher or at night.
TG276 rvas the first of four Vampires built as
F Mk 2s to specification F'11/45, powered by a
Rolls-Royce Nene engine developing 4,50illb of

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Above:
DH.1_O8 TG3O6 broke up and fell into the the new de Havilland jet engine, and demon_
River Thames
on 27 September 1946, killing Geoffrey de Havillana strated its capability when John-Cunningham
took
Jnr. rt up to 59.446ft on 23 March 194g. achie"vins
a new
altitude record. TG2gl was used for nose !".iion
installation trials for the DH.10g ln preparation for
the high speed third prototype, wtrlle tCZSiwas
thrust. This aircraft first flew in March 1946 ancl use_d for Goblin engine deveiopment.
was allocated to Rolls-Royce at Hucknall for
The DH.108 was a swept wing tail_less research
engine development. TG276 was then delivered to
aircraft built by- adapting the Vampire fur"iug.
France as the Mk 51 Mistral testbed, the French
nacelle^, fitting 43. swept-6ack m"tal wings,
version of the Vampire. The Nene engine had a and a
swept fin and rudder mounted above an Exiended
double-sided compressor, and theref&e in the
British version had additional air intakes on the tjt- Designed and buitt
^pip. the aircraft was intended
, to ,p".id.uiion
F.18/45, to'inu.rtinut"
top engine cowling. However, these extra intakes
the behaviour of swept wings and to p.ouiJ. U?ri.
were.removed by the French and the original wing qeslgn data for the DH. 106
root intake modified slightly. Comet jet transport,
and the DH.1l0 fighter. TG283 *ui th" niii
The second F Mk i was TG279. which was three DH.108s, and the maiden flight was from
or
allocated to the RAE Farnborough, but was long. the
runway ar RAF Woodbridg-?, ri rrr^u'ic+e
destroyed in a crash near Newbury o'" iZ Septem_
there was not a suitable .r"n*uy at Ua'tnela.
ber 1945. It was followed by TG2S0, wtricf, first -This
initial
flew in July 1946 and like '1G276 was delivereJto research pro^tglype was designed fo. fo* ip""O
Rolls-Royce at Hucknall for engine development. and, following company trials to investi_
gate the aerodynamic characteriitics of the
The fourth F Mk 2 was thJ out_of_sebuence wing, swept
TX807. which was evaluated ar the A&A'EE in Farnborough the aircraft was transferreO to ttre Rag
October 1947 before being despatched to Ausi;lia in October 194g for further ,.r.u..t,
flying. Tests inclucied stability, control urJil;;irg
lo. qTgT" .the prototype F.30, aciopting the trials. and. the
l4+F identity of A78-2. prior to this, Fr rYC+:r unoercarnage fitting of a long stroke Sea V^rnlrlr.
had been allocated to the RAAF us a i.aine. *ith to allow landings at higher ansles of
attack at speeds as low as 95ki. ThesE trials ieased
the identity A78-1.
a_bruptly when the aircraft crashed at ffarti.y
TG277 was used for service evaluation, to check
Wintney, Hants, on 1 May. 1950 during;i;ili;g
performance, operation and maintenance
in test_s, killing the pilot, Sqn Ldr Genders.
squadron use, before being delivered to Cosford
on 10 October 1952 as a maintenance airframe developmenr -
Vampire TG284 was used for armament
(7004M). TGZT1 was allocated for Ctrost enline trials by de Havilland unJ if,"
development, and was given a lurg". .niin.
A&AEE at Boscombe Down, where it arrived on
28 September 1945. On completion of these trials
compartment, a mainly metal canopy oue-. u
pressurised cockpit, and extended wingtips.
it was flown to 33 MU at Lyneham on 4 July 1942,
This before deliveryto France on g January fSSd
test bed. which made its maiden nignt-bn S Vfay as the
first of many Vampires to enter ,".uic" with the
1947, was used for high altitude Oelvelopment-tf French Air Force.
1u
TG285 was exhibited at the SBAC show at Above:
Radrett inle46,while rG286 was modified to F2i J*:l;:Hi'ff:j,i.ill,?3'rffi3,";",lif"'ilJ,n'nn
standard for the Royal Navy' This version was
designed to test the feasibility of operating.jet "J""it."..r"n;
aircraft from catapults and landing on flexible
decks without an undercarriage, to save weight
onJ.ornpl"*ity. Initially, itr"-uir..utt was flo"wn arrester hook jammin* uPt flexible-deck
trials
low and.lo* uiong ttr" iun*uy at Farnborough to were ready to continue in March 1948' The next
check controllability, andin July 1947 work stirted approach was aborted because of a sudden drop in
on UrritO-g the aciual fanarng'instaflation on the wind speed, but a successful
landing was made into
airfield.TestswererrluO.-*ltftCaptain'Winkle' a 12mph wind. on 17 March' Tests continued
gro*n sitting in ttre coctplt the through the spring and summer of 1948, reducing
- by'dropping
Vampire from a .run" on to the runway carpet the nicessary wind speeds to zero^ and finally
from various heights to test tne enelgy absorption landing with a tail wind' On some of these latter
of the surface. The carpet deck corilisted oi five landings the arrester gear-took much additional
layeis of vulcanised ,ubb". above three layers of strain, the limit being 5.6G, when .the hook was
fire hoses inflated to- u lo* pr.rru.". Thit tornfromtheaircraftandcatapulted.backwardsat
construction had to withstand the ili-ut. the
and high speed' Fortunately no o19 was in the way' A
.l,ri" p.o"i*ity of rhe iioi ui..ruft jet pipe. The total ;f 40 flexible-deck landings were made by
;*p"i;;.k;Js ready for operations to commence 'Winkle' Brown at Farnborough, often in front of
by the midclle of Decemter, but bad weather interested VIPs, demonstrating the confidence
plrsisted until wind conditions were ideal on built up in the experiments.
29 December. Once airborne 'Winkle' Brown With the land-based part of the trials deck concluded
made a dummy run over the 'deck' to check that successfully, sea trials of the flexible were
conditions were right, Uetoie settling down to the ready to .om-.-.n^.".- These
started aboard the light
first landing. Du"ring itr" nnuf s?ages of the fleet carrier HMS Warrior on 3 November,
using
upp.ou"n th"e aircraft"speed dropped t5o low, and initially the p-Iototype vampire,.LT'551,
which had
it was
-ttr. *bulO not respond. to be flown offthe short carrier deck because was
Jiipit" an increase of power
The arrester hook hit upptou.tr end of the not adapted_fol catapulting' The flexible.deck
deck, jamming up, followeJ'iy tn" rear of the locatedontherearhalf of thecarriet'sflightdeck'
tail-booms, restricting the elevaiors. The nose of painted with.markings to assist.the.approach'
The
into the carpet, hrst approach at^118mph was.slightly high because
ine uir"rati pitched dJwn violently
Uouncirrg back up into ihe air. nio*n opened^up, of the motion,of the ship
and turbulence over the
but then found the elevators immovable, io roundown. The hook caught the wire and the
throttled back to crash land on the grass beyond aircraft was arrested on the carpet'
Further
buj the aiicraft landings followed; the fourth approach missed the
the flexible deck. He was unhurt,
*asUuOfydamagedwithsplitcockpitstructure. wire, and the aircraft was flown around the
again'
Fottowing OeialteO inve'stigations into low speed Minor damage was sustained
throughout
with ihe Vampire and"also tests to avoid the programme, mainly caused by the
wire supports
flying
l9
being hit by the wingtips, but after moclification Top right:
the trials went smoothly, even on off-centre A total of 1,369 Vampires were built by English
approaches and with cross-wind components. Electric at Preston between 1 945 and I 95O, the first,
After the initial successes by 'Winkle' Brown, TG274lG, making its maiden flight from Samlesbury
on2OApril 1945. BAC
other pilots completed u nurnb.. of successful
landings, although one had to return to Lee-on- Bottom right:
Solent when the hook claw broke mysteriously. The F Mk 3 was a standard RAF day fighter which
The trials proved that it would be possible to could carry underwing jettisonable tanks to extend its
range.
provide landing grounds on board small ships or on
land where insufficient facilities for iunways
existed, and to dispense with heavy aircraft raised the Mach number and caused a violent pitch
undercarriages in the search for improved perfor- down of the nose. The wings then tiiteA
mance. However, such developments involved too downwards with the sudden aerodynamic loads,
fundamental a change in operating facilities: in although the aircraft was too low to recover
particular the aircraft were far less easy to handle anyway.
once on the ground. Despite this tragic loss, the brief flight trials had
Vampire F1 TG287 was used by English E,lectric shown that a number of improvements were
as a trials aircraft, but eventually entered service desirable. These included a lower pilot's seat, a
with No 54 Squadron at Odiham in 1948. TG288 redesigned canopy and a pointed nose. The third
undertook service trials at the A&AEE. where it and final prototype, VW120, once again used a
arrived on 4 November 1945. and was later Vampire fuselage, but more extensively adapted
delivered for service with the French Air Force in for high speed research and powered by a 3,7501b
1949. TG289 undertook aerodynamic testing of thrust Goblin 4 engine. John Cunningham made
wingtip mounted cameras, before being allocated the first flight from Hatfield on 24 July 7947, and
to maintenance training at Cosford in May 1953 as after a year of steady development it was entered
7052M- The Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS) for an attempt on the 1Okm International
used TG293 in 1946 before allocation to No 72 Closed-Circuit speed record. Flown by John Derry
Squadron the next year. TG299 was used by the on a course to the north of Hatfield in the evening
Aero Flight at Farnborough in 1946, evenfually of 12 April 194{3, a new record of 605.23mph was
being allocated to Kirkham in November 1952 for achieved.
ground instruction (7006M). The high speed development flying continued
TG306 became the second DH.108 prototype with gradual build up towards exceeding the
intended for high speed research, hopefully io _a
speed of sound in a dive from high altitude.lohn
investigate speeds around Mach One. Sweep6ack Derry was the pilot on these hazardous tests.
of the wings was increased to 45. and power diving the aircraft from around 40,000f1 to achieve
controls were provided. A 3,3001b thrust Goblin 3 the maximum speed. On 9 September he com-
powered the aircraft on its maiden flight from menced the highest speed dive to date and
Hatfield on 23 August 1946, and level speeds were completely lost control as the aircraft became the
soon being attained in excess of 616mph, then the first to break the sound barrier in Britain. Despite
yorld's absolute speed record. Geoffrey de all attempts to regain control the aircraft continued
Havilland Jnr displayed the aerobatic capabilities down, until the trim flaps were selected. The
of the aircraft at the SBAC show at Radl-ett on 12 aircraft went into an inverted bunt and eventually
and 13 September, before preparations were made stabilised in a gradual climb. The trim flaps were
for an attempt on the speed record over the official unlikely to have been significant in regaining
course along the south coast near Tangmere. He control, the most likely reason being the rafuing oT
commenced practice flights for the record attempt, the speed of sound in the denser air at loiver
which were to be part of the routine high speed altitudes, taking this small low-powered aircraft
testing, and after waiting all day for calm air on out of the compressibility range. One further flight
27 September, the conditions in the early evening was made in excess of the speed of sound, but
appeared ideal for a practice high speed flight over control was lost similarly and no further attempts
the Thames Estuary. The aircraft was dived from were made.
10,000f1 to build up speed, and the plan was to fly Following the completion of the manufacturer's
at low level. However. 20 minutes after take-off trials, the third DH.108 was delivered to the RAE
the aircraft was seen to break up and fall into at Farnborough to continue a programme of
Egypt Bay near Gravesend killing the pilot. Much experimental flying. It, however, crashed in
of the wreckage was recovered, including the mysterious circumstances near Birkhill, Bucks, on
engine, and as a result of the subsequent 15 February 1950, killing the pilot, Sq Ldr Muller-
investigation it was assumed that the aircraff had Rowland. It was believed that control was lost
flown through unexpected turbulence, which had when the pilot's oxygen system failed at high
20
altitude. as no fault could be found with the Vampire and was used for flexible-deck trials, but
aircraft. suffered undercarriage damage'
Minor development continued with various TG433 was the prototype FB6, an export
F Mk 1 Vampires, TG314 being the first to,be version of the later RAF FB5 powered by a 3,3001b
fitted with the Goblin 2 engine and TG328 thrust Goblin 3 engine. TG433 was used for the
becoming the prototype F20 for the RN TG336 later DH.lOU canopy installation trials and also
rvas the hrst to featuie cockpit pressurisation and became a Goblin 3 engine test bed. The next
TG343 was used for performance checking at the aircraft off the production line had its rving span
A&AEE in 1948, foliowed by wing fuel drop tank reduced to 38ft ;nd made its first flight on 29 June
trials. TG372 was shipped to Canada for cold 1948 for development of the FB Mk 5.
weather trials in 1946, where it remained to Following Varnpire Fl production *-1L lh"
becc.rne part of the Canadian Museum collection at F Mk 3 to Spec F.3147, commencing with VF335'
Rockcliff. TG426 was the second navalised Improvemenis inciuded increasing tailplane chord
De Havilland DH1OO, the Vampire F Mk1, with original
fin shape in dotted line and the initial form of
windscreen, canopy and rear fairing. James Goulding
by 4.5in, reducing elevator chord by 1'5in and France. W603 was allocated initially to the RAE
fiiting streamlined fairings to the fin and lowered Farnborough and also was on the charge. of the
tailpiine junction. The fin and rudder shape was Royal Ra--dar Establishment, where it was

changed to the more familiar curved de Havilland delivered on 12 JulY 1951.


shapJ and range was increased by internal wing The two prototype Venoms, originally k-nown as
tuei tankage capable of carrying up to 326gal.and Vampire FBSs, w-ere VY61'2 and VV613' taken
provision for two 100 or 200gal underwing drop from the Vampire allocations, but they will be
ianks. The F Mk 3 was first flown on 4 November dealt with in more detail in a later chapter.
1946 and VF343 and VF345 were allocated to Vampire FB5 VV675 was allocated for FB9
development and service trials. VG702 and VG703 developmenton air conditioning trials for. hot
climates, and delivered to the A&AEE on 1'6 April
rvere used for climatic and tropical trials over a
l5month period in Singapore, the Philippines and 1951. V2808 was the first de Havilland-built
Khartoum, ending in October 1949' These aircraft Vampire, being delivered from Hatfield to the
rvere used not only to assess flying performance in R&Ael, on 1 July 1949, but production continued
hot and high conditions, but also the effect of long for a while at Preston as well. One of the
periods ofixcess humidity and temperature on the Hatfield-built FB5s, V2835 was used for ejector
structure and sYstems. seat installation development and spinning trials
Amongst otirer aircraft converted to F21s for for the Vampire night fighter tailplane, starting in
flexible-d"eck operations were VG701, VT802 and September 1950, and it subsequently-went. to
vT803. Fainborough in January 1952. Only 33 Vampires
Vampire F3 VV190 was used for Goblin 4 were buili at Hatfield, before the transfer of
engine development in 1948 and gained- second assembly to Chester, from where the first, VZ84l,
plice in the Kemsley Trophy Race in July 1949, was delivered to No 501 Squadron at North Weald
iueraging 470mph. W200 was also used by the de on 3 April 1.951. Preston-built FB5 WA172 was
Havilland Engine Co for test flying. used to iest the DH.110 air intake shape.
Vampire F Mk 3 production was completed with Following the last FB5 WG847, off the English
VVZIf, and the neit aircraft, W214, was the-first Electric production lines was the first production
production FB Mk 5, making its maiden flight from FB9 WG848, for operation in the Middle East and
i'reston 23 June 1948. VV215 was delivered to Asia. To overcome the high temperature prob-
Boscombe Down on 22 J:uly for handling trials, Iems, this tropical version was fitted with Godfrey
and the next aircraft was used by both de refrigeration bquipment in the wing root to supply
Havilland and the A&AEE for performance coct"plt air condiiioning' Only one of this mark
measurement. yYzIl was used for various tests, appears to have been used for development 1o-rk,
including the Sea Vixen nosewheel steering, uir^O tttit was WR249, delivered to No 19 MU at
vy454 1ad its Goblin engine fitted with an St Athan on22December 1953. A total of 1'565
experimental reheat in an extended tail pip-e in Vampires had been built to RAF and RN order,
Juiy 1950, whereas VV568 was only FB51, many of which had been diverted to other air
powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene engine' for forces: in particular France acquired l^arge
numbers. Most of the production had been from
Preston, but in addition to the 33 from Hatfield,
Below: 313 were built at Chester and the final eight were
The Vampire FB Mk 5 was the standard RAF fighter assembled by Fairey at Ringway. Furthermore, a
bomber, ind could carry a variety of underwing loads' considerable- number were built for export: this
including a pair of l,OOOlb bombs' The wing tips were
clapped to increase manoeuvrability' production is covered in a later chapter.

&'&**-.
The Vampire Enters Service
The Vampire entered service too late to partici_
pate in World War 2, initial deliveries beinc
made
to No 247 Squadron in April 1946 to.o.'rn"n."
the re-equipment of the OOlt a. wing with th. n"*
jet fighter. Sufficient Vampire t4k 1s -were
delivered to No 247 Squadron to allow participa_
tion in the Victory Day fly-past over London on
6 June 1946. In October 1946 both Nos 54 and
i30
Squadrons commencecl receiving Vampire iis at
although at the end -of
9dilg.
No 130 Squadron was renumbered
funuo.y tO+Z
No 72 Squad_
ron. Fls remained in scrvice with the Odiham wing
until replaced with F3s cluring 1948, making some
aircraft available for No 3-squajron Uui"j ut
Wunstorf as the first unit in the 2nd Tactical Air
Force.(2TAF) to receive Vampires. The first
arrived
11
April 1948 anci were replaced by FB-5s in
May 1949, by which time the Squadron naC movea
to Gutersloh. Other surplus Fli were allocated to
the Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF). No OOS
Squadron at.Honiley becoming the Ilrst'auxiliary
squldron to be jet-cquipped on 3 July 1948. later
replacrng the Fls with FB5s in March 1950. No 501
Squadron at Filton was the second auxiliary FB5s, joining
squadron to operate the jets, with Fls from equipped No 601 Squadron which had
with F3s the previous December. No O0+
l"brg?ly 1949 until converting to FB5s in 1952; squadron replaced its Spirfires with Vampire FJs
No -502 Squadon at Alderg.'rove equippeJ in in 195 l. but Norrh
January 1951. converring to tEe FB5 i; t'h. ,n-" Vampires Weald squadronr r"pi,,J"Olfr.i,
yeal, and subsequently became one of two squadrons with Meteors in ISSZ.' ihe iwo
remaining at Odiham began converti.,g
auxiliary squadrons to fly the tropical FBg _ to
Meteors, commencing with No Z+i SquoOion
hardly appropriate in Nortirern Ireland. in
May.l951.and No 54 Squadron in 1953. n4""n*-nif"
A little-known use of Vampire Fls was with a srx vamplre Fjs
'co_operation were the first jet fighters to fly
number of the anti-aircraft units. ircross the Atlantic, when No 54 S{uud.on:l"ft
lJo -59-5 Scluadron was the first to 'U" .quipp"C in Odiham ancl reached Goose Bay,
December 1946. f)ying from FairrvooO'Cf-irun
Greenland. on 14 July 194g. They"1"
i..iurJ urO
and Pembrey in South Wales. It was renumbered ,"."
a,parr oj "i.o.t.O
No 5 Squadron in October 194g, and op..ui.,l-F3, .!Y .T"1' Mosquitoes and participared in a
at {hivenor from August 19-50 until September lunlb-9r of displays and exercises-in Canacla and
195 I . still as an unti-aircraft co_operation :|l. yll. rhe highlight of the tour ueins th;N"w
unit. York Lrty centenary celebrations at the beginning
. No 631 Squadron com,l,enc"d jet operations in of August.
ruT" rolein August l94g at"Llan'bedr, being
l!:
renumbered No 20 Squadron in 1949. ancl con_
Two further RAuxAF squadrons were equioned
with,Vampire F3s. No 608 Squadron fl"* ;i;;i;;"
trnued with Vampires until Ocrober 1951.
at Middleron St George from 1950 ,n,ii-tl1Ji,
The first major production version of the
_.
voTtlll. was rhe F3, which entered service initially
replacemenr by FB5s in 1952. and No 614
at Odiham. its replacement with FB5s commenc_ )9.uait-r91 operated its aircraft at Llanclow from
July 1950. FB5s were supplied to this squadron
rng rn December 1949. In March 1950 No 72 a.s replaccments in July 1952. rnd it
to-o
Squadron moved to North Weald to ..."lul ir, luier becam.
the second auxiliary unit to operate FB9s.
24
q& -:

Left: Vampire FB5s and some others were supplied with


Vampites filst €ntored service in April 1946 when Fls this mark as original jet equipment. The FB5 was
equipped No 247 Squadron at RAF Odiham.
C. E. Brown produced in the largest numbers, combining
iighter duties with an excellent ground attack
Above: capability. It served widely with the 2nd TAF in
Vampire FBSs shared training duties with the T1 1, one West Germany, in the Middle East, and even as
of th€ units being No 5 FTS based at Oakington.
C. E. Brown
far afield as Hong Kong. In 1950 No 602 Squadron
received FB5s at Abbotsinch, and was followed
Bottom: during the next year by No 613 Squadron at
The first iet flaght across the North Atlantic was by Ringway in March, No 603 Squadron at Turnhouse
Vampires of No 54 Squadron: here the aircraft are
taking off from their Odiham base. in May, No 612 Squadron at Edzell in July and
No 607 Squadron at Ouston. All the RAuxAF
squadrons were disbanded by the Government in
early 1957 as an economy measure.
The only other Vampire F3s to be operated by In the 2nd TAF No 3 Squadron moved to
front-line RAF units were with No 73 Squadron, Gutersloh with its Vampire Fls in June 1948, and
rvhich equipped in October 1948 at Nicosia to No 16 Squadron at the same airfield exchanged its
become the first jet fighter squadron in the Middle Tempests for Vampire FB5s in December 1948.
East, and No 32 Squadron in May 1949. Both The Gutersloh wing continued to build up its
squadrons received FB5s and FB9s from 1951, Vampire strength with the equipping of No 26
No 32 Squadron also operating on two occasions Squadron in April 1949, and No 71 Squadron
from Shallufa and No 73 Squadron moving to Ta replaced No 16 Squadron, which moved to Celle in
Kali and Habbaniya in Iraq. Both had ceased November 1950. Meanwhile No 26 Squadron
Vampire operations by the end of 1954. moved to Wunstorf in January 1950, receiving
Of the RAuxAF squadrons, those which were FBgs in mid-1952, and was later transferred to
not re-equipped with Meteors continued with Oldenburg.

ir!..i" .i!,r. .ll. .rr r,r, rlrr:l il


De Havilland Vampire FB Mk5. This version had the
tail unit introduced on the F Mk3 and the clear view
canopy brought into use later on the Mkl.
James Goulding

26
The next Vampire wing to equip with FB5s in became a Vampire operator for six months at
2TAF was at Wunstorf, commencing with No 4 Bruggen from August 1953.
Squadron in July 1950. This was joined by No 11 Moving towards the warmer climates of the
Squadron in the following month, No 5 Squadron Middle East, No 185 Squadron began operating
in March 1952 and No 260 Squadron in July 1952. FB5s at Hal Far in Malta in September 1951'
By 1953 No 4 Squadron had re-equipped with before moves were made to Luqa, Idris, Nicosia
Sabres at Jever and the remaining three Vampire and finally Habbaniya, where the squadron was
squadrons had re-equipped with Venoms. disbanded on 1 May 1953. No 6 Squadron received
In 1950 the Celle wing began receiving FB5s, FB5s in October 1949 at Deversoir, later moving
commencing with No 14 Squadron which later to Shaibah and Habbaniya. No 213 Squadron
moved to Fassberg. In November No 93 Squadron equipped with FB5s at Deversoir in December
received FB5s, followed by No 94 Squadron the 1949, receiving FB9s in 1953 and finally disbanding
next year and No 145 Squadron the year after; they
remained in operation until 1954. Fassberg was
Below:
occupied by Nos 112 and 11tl Squadrons from the Vampires of No 54 Squadron and No 6O5 Auxiliary
spring of 195i. although both units were later Squadron participated in the RAF display at
based at Jever. No 234 Squadron equipped with Farnborough in July 1 95O.
FB-5s and FBgs at Oldenburg in August 1952, later
Bottom:
moving to Geilenkirchen, while No 67 Squadron No 6O4 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force operated
used FB5s for six months at Wildenrath from its Vampire F3s from North Weald for Exercise
September 1952, and No 130 Squadron again 'Emperor' in October 1 950.

27
\\ ..-'
..$"
\J'
. \ *.,,,,:t

;
I te,
{r.

,: .... .-.. .,.


&,i\\;{Si*N -

on 30 September 1954. Meanwhile No 249 Squad-


ron equipped with FB5s in 1950 at llabbaniya and
latcr moved to Deversoir. In June i954 the
Squaclron began flying from Amman in Jordan and
at the same time FB9s rvere supplicd, until
February of the ncxt ycar.
In Asia, No 60 Squadron operated FB5s and
later FB9s at Tengah frclm Dcccrnber 1950 until
April 195-5. and No 28 Squadron at Kai Tak rvith
both {ighter bomber versions frorn February 1951
until 19-56. Both squadrons re-equipped rvith
Venoms.
Three front-line RAF squadrons operated only
Vampirc FB9s, these being Nos 8. 20 and .15. No 8
Squadron Ilerv them at Khormaksar, Aden from
Dccember 1952 to June 1955 rvhen Venoms
arrived: No 20 Squadron was at Olclcnburg in 2nd
TAF from 19-52 until Junc 19-54 rvhen its aircraft
were replaced by Sabresl and No 4-5 squaclron
operated FB9s with Mctcors at Butterworth,
Malaya. when its Ilornets rvere replacccl in March
1955. Seven months later Venoms rvcre supplied.
Initially. operational training for the Vampire
squadrons was handlecl by No 226 OCU at
Pcnrbrcy ancl No 229 OCU at Chivenor. both
bcing equippecl rvith FB5s. Vampire FB-5s rvcre Top:
also usecl for aclvancecl flying training. alongside undeming-mounted
The Vampire FB Mk 5s could fire
Vampire trainers at Nos 1 FTS Linton-on-Ouse, rocketproiectilesat groundtargels. Aeroplane
5 FTS at C)akington. 7 FTS (later to become
4 FTS) at Valley. ancl ii FTS at Swinderby, as well Above:
FBSs, FB9s and T1 1 s were used by No 7 FTS at Valley
as thc IlAF Collcge at Cranrvell. Armament for advanced training. This line-up includes FB5s
training rvas unclertaken by No 203 AFS at WA41 3, WA332 and WG843, FB9 WRl 94 and T1 1
Drifficld. and Nos 202 AFS and 2 APS at xK624.
Acklington, co-ordinatecl by thc Central Gunncry Right:
School (CGS) ai Lcconficld. Other training units The initial Vampire F2Os for the Fleet Air Arm were
to opcratc Vampire FB5s rvere the Central Fighter not fitted with arrester hooks. C. E. Brown
Establishrnent (CFE) at Wcst Ra,vnham. the I nset:
Ernpire Tcst Pilots School (ETPS) at Farn- A Sea Vampire F2O on approach to HMS Vengeance on
borough. the RAF Flying College at Manby. 3July195O. FAAMuseum

28
Above: Above right:
The Sea Vampire had a V-frame arrester hook stowed Sea Vampire F21VG7O1 was used for research into
above the jet pipe. The compact size of the aircraft landings on flexible decks with the undercarriage
avoided the need for folding wings, FAA Museum retracted,

Below:
The second Vampire prototype, L2551/G, was used by
the RAE at Farnborough for flexible deck landing
ttials. BAEFarnborough
No 102 Flying Refresher School (FRS) at North between the long-range Hornets and the later
Luffenham, and No 3 Civilian Anti Aircraft Venoms with their improved performance. No 8
Co-operation Unit (CAACU) at Exeter until 1961. Squadron also provided support during the Mau
No 1et conversion trainer existed initially for Mau uprising in KenYa.
introduction to flying the Vampire. Pilots were Singie-seai Vampires continued serving with
converting not only to a new type, but having only training units, later alongside the Vampire T11s,
flown piston engined aircraft before, they had to for some years after the type was withdrawn from
mastei the new jet principles. The transition from front-line service, providing useful training experi-
one to another was achieved by a briefing on the ence as an introduction to the Hawker Hunter.
new handling techniques and a familiarisation with With the success of the deck trials using the
the cockpit, with emphasis on the new controls' second prototype Vampire, an order was placed
The low ground clearance resulting from the lack for six Sea Vampire development aircraft and 30
of a propeller, and the nose wheel undercarriage, production versions, known as the Sea Vampire
helped with handling on the ground and visibility' F ltt ZO. An arrester hook was fitted above the jet
Acieleration was far slower with the early low pipe and the small overall dimensions of the
thrust jet engines, and controllability at low speeds iiicraft avoided the heavy, expensive and compli-
was not assisted by the familiar propeller cated fitting of wing folding mechanism. With their
slipstream. The Vampire was, however, pleasant relatively low endurance the Vampires were. not
to fly and very much less demanding than many of intended for regular deck operations, but provided
the contemporary high performance propeller- a cost effective introduction to jet flying for the
driven aircraft, which were optimised for the naval aviators. The Vampire F20 was based on the
highest possible top speed and had less than RAF Mk 3, and the first public appearance of this
delirable characteristics at low speeds. The naval version was at Yeovilton on 6 September
Vampire's clean, efficient design made ,it .an 1947. Sea Vampires of the Carrier Trials Unit were
effeciive interceptor, and the provision of wing based on HMS lllustriou.s in early December 1948,
hard points for bombs and rockets gave it a very during Exercise 'sunset' in the North Atlantic,
valuable ground-attack capability, the cannon too when they were used for the first time as

being useful for keeping the enemies'heads down! carrier-boine interceptors, and over 200 deck
The hghter-bomber role had already been antici- landings were made. A small detachment also
pated 6y de Havilland, but, with the selection of served aboard HMS Vengeance in 1950. A single
ihe more complex twin-engined Meteor as a SeaVampire F20, flown by Rear Adm Couchman,
standard RAF interceptor, the stable and straight- FAA aircraft during the
led the fly-past of over 300
forward Vampire was allocated to ground attack Queen's Review of the Royal Navy at Lee-on-
duties throughout 2 TAF, the Middle East and Solent on 13 June 1953.
Asia. In European theatres in wartime the The production aircraft were issued to 700 Squa-
Vampire would be used to harass enemy dron ai Ford, 702 Squadron at Culdrose and 787
movements, with its effective reconnaissance and Squadron. They were withdrawn from service in
strike capability, while still being an accomplished 1957, and the majority were scrapped at Lossie-
interceptor able to maintain air superiority. mouth. The other naval conversion was the F21
In th; Middle East and Asia the aircraft trained used for flexible-deck trials, and although it did not
for similar duties, but was rather more active in enter service in the configuration intended' two
Malaya against the terrorists, bridging the gap saw service later with 764 Squadron.

37
4
Vampires fo r Export
The Vampire also achieved considerable export front-line service until 1958, some remaining for
success, becoming the standard day fighter and advanced training with F.5 Wing at Ljungbyhed.
ground attack aircraft with many air forces The next order was an important one from
throughout the world. In addition to production Switzerland, initially for an evaluation batch of
from Britain. in some cases orders were large four Fls, the first being delivered to Geneva on
enough to justify licence production in the country 27 July 1946. The evaluation continued for a year
concerned. under typical operating conditions, resulting in an
The first large export order for the British order for 75 Vampires, similar to the FB5s but
aircraft industry was placed on 9 February 1946 known as the export FB Mk 6s, powered by the
when de Havilland completed the negotiation of 3,3001b thrust Goblin 3 engine. Following the
three contracts with the Swedish Government for initial production batch of 75 aircraft from the UK,
the supply of Vampire fighters and Goblin engines. licence production of 100 Swiss-built aircraft
and the eventual licence production of Goblin 3 commenced at the Federal Aircraft Factory at
engines. On 4 June 1946 the first five Vampires, Emmen and Pilatus at Stans. All the engines were
designated J28 for the Royal Swedish Air Force.
letl Hatfield on their delivery flight to Barkarby.
The Vampires replaced Mustangs in Srvedish Below:
service and operated with great success even The first Vampire overseas sale was to Sweden which
within the Arctic Circle. The initial order was ordered a batch of F Mk 1 s in February 1 946- These
completed 15 months from the first delivery and a J.28s (the Swedish designation) are at Norrktiping.
further batch was ordered on 22 January 1948' Above right:
bringing the overall total to 70 aircraft. The Sweden eventually ordered 7O Vampires, the later
Vampires introduced jet aircraft to a number of aircralt being to the FB5 standard.
day fighter wings, the first unit being F.l3 at
Right:
Norrkoping. The training of new pilots went Switzerland ordered lour early Vampires for
without difficulty and exercises were held at Lul6a. 6valuation, the first being delivered from Hatfield on
the base of F.21 well up into the Arctic Circle, 27 July 1946.
where temperatures went as low as -45'C and
Below right:
where it was dark continuously from 4 December The Swiss Air Force is still using Vampire FB6s for
until 9 January. A final order for 200 Vampires was advanced training in the mid-1980s, fitted with
placed in 1948, to include a number of Vampire modified noses and eiector seats. Here J-l 149 lands in
trainers. The single-seat Vampires remained in June 1982. Philip Birtles

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The RCAF ordered 85 F Mk 3s which were built in
Britain and assemblod by de Havilland Canada. They which remained in service with the regular
were operated by the Citizens Air Force squadrons. squadrons until replaced by Sabres in 1955. Four
out of five of the citizens' squadrons retained their
Below left: Vampires, until they too were disbanded, in 1957.
Before placing its main order for Vampires, Norway
ordered an evaluation batch. C. E. Brown Like the Swiss, Norway ordered a trial batch of
four Vampires in the spring of 1948. These were
Above: taken from RAF stocks to speed delivery, the first
Vampire VT-GXJ H8546 departing from Hatfield on its three arriving at Gardemoen near Oslo on
delivery flight to lndia, which took 39 Vampires from
UK production lines before commencing licence
29 April. As a result of the evaluation 25 FB5s
production. were ordered for No 336 Squadron.
India purchased an initial batch of 39 F3s and
FB52s from the de Havilland production lines, the
supplied from Britain and three more Vampires first three being delivered to Cawnpore on
were assembled from spares at Emmen in 1960. 6 November 1948. Hindustan Aeronautics at
The first Commonwealth order was from the Bangalore then commenced licence manufacture,
Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in March 1947 building 247 single-seaters as well as some
for 85 F Mk 3s to be built in Britain. and assembled Vampirc trainers for the Indian Air Force and
by de Havilland Canada. The first aircraft was Navy, before completion of the last aircraft in
demonstrated at Rockcliff near Ottawa in March 1959.
1948, with the first regular squadrons being formed A maior user of the Vampire was the French
at Trenton, followed by auxiliary squadrons at Government, which was in urgent need of suitable
llontreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver. combat aircraft to build up its depleted postwar air
No 410 Squadron formed an aerobatic team of six force. The Vampire proved ideal for the task, and
aircraft in 1949, demonstrating in Canada and the the agreement including licence production and
USA. The Vampires worked well in temperatures development by SNCA Sud-Est was reached in the
down to -60'F. an example being 12 Vampires spring of 1949. While production plans were being
rvith No 410 'Cougar' Squadron which operated in made some 76 Mk 5s were supplied from RAF
the Yukon on a winter exercise. The RCAF stocks. and the initial licence-built version knowrr
Vampires were withdrawn in the early 1950s. some as the FB Mk 51 made its maiden flight from
bcing acquired by private owners as sports aircraft. Marignane on 27 January 1950. The production
Trvelve ex-RCAF Varnpires were purchased by lines maintained a high rate from thc start, because
Dominica, to add to 25 ex-Swedish Varnpircs, and de Havilland supplied major assernblies initially,
1-5 ex-RCAF Vampires were used to form followcd by unequipped components, and linally
\lexico's first jet fighter squadron. detailed parts. until full licence production was
In the spring of 7947 plans to license-build the established. This resulted in a production rate of
\/ampire for the Royal Australian Air Force 10 aircraft per month only seven months after the
(RAAF) were announced. the first cxample, lirst deiivery. The Rolls-Royce Nene engine was
powerccl by a 5,(X)0lb thrust Rolls-Royce Nene already in production in France. and it was decided
ensine, making its maiden flight from Bankstown. to adapt the Vampire to this power plant.
S1'dney on 29 Junc 1949. Known as the F.30 with Improvements were made to the original
thc RAAF. a total of 57 was built to replace de Havilland-designecl Mk 2 by deleting the extra
\Iustangs in the regular ancl citizens' air fbrce air intakes on top of the fuselage and refining the

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wing-root intakes. Further development by Force until replaced by Sabres in 1956, when many
SNCASE left only the forward fuselage, the tail were allocated to advanced training.
booms and tailplane common to the British The Italian Air Force standardised on the
version, the new 'Mistral' also having an ejector Vampire as a day fighter, placing an initial order
seat. The first production Mistral made its maiden on 29 November 1949, followed by a second one a
flight at the end of 1951, achieving a maximum year later. The first five ex-RAF aircraft were
speed at sea level of 578mph, 50mph faster than delivered for evaluation in early 1950, to aliow
the standard Mk 5. A total of 183 Vampires and experience with the aircraft to be built up while
250 Mistrals were produced under licence in plans were made for licence production by Fiat,
France, replacing F-47Ds with 4e Escadre in 1951. Alfa Romeo, Aeronautica Macchi and SAI
followed by 3e,5e andTe Escadres, until Ouragons Ambrosini for both the airframe and the engines.
began to enter service in 1954. Two years after signing the agreement the
South Africa ordeied a squadron of 10 Mk 5s in British-supplied Vampires were operational, and
early 1949. The aircraft were shipped from Britain, the first of 80 licence-built aircraft had made its
and the first example made its maiden flight after maiden flight on 18 December 1951, from the
re-assembly on 8 February 1950. A further 40 Macchi factory at Venegano near Milan. The
Vampires were ordered, including FB9s, to Vampires equipped 4a Aerobrigata and 20 Stormct,
replace SAAF Spitfires. They remained in and the mid-1950s were used for advanced
front-line service and with the Active Citizen training.
The first Middle Eastern order came from Egypt
at the end of. 7949 , to re-equip its air force after the
1948 war with Israel. Before the aircraft could be
Left:
France adapted the Vampire to taks the Rolls-Royce delivered, the British Government placed an
Nene engine and with a number of other modifications embargo on military sales to Egypt, but this was
it became known as the Mistral. S|VCASE overcome by the acquisition of 30 FB52s from Italy
Below left: via Syria. Following the iifting of the embargo in
Two South African Air Force FB5s fly past Table August 1953 a small batch was supplied from the
Mountain. The SAAF placed an order for a squadron of UK. When the RAF withdrew from the Canal
Vampire FBSs before ordering further Mk 5s and Zone in October 1954, the Egyptian Air Force
Mk 9s. took over the defensive role with 49 Vampires
Below: equipping four fighter-bomber squadrons.
Aeronautica Macchi built Vampires under licence for Vampires and MiG-15s were used for the defence
the ltaf ian Air Fotce. Macchi of the Sinai in the October 1,956 war with Israel.

37
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Above left: The only sale to a South American customer was
The Egyptian Air Force Vampire order was embargoed for 15 shipped out to Venezuela, the first flying on
by the British Government, and early aircraft were
acquired from ltaly. 22 December 1949 after re-assembly at Caracas. A
further batch of FB5s was ordered in 1950 f<-rr
Left: Escuadron de Cuza No 35 formed at Boca de Rio
The only South American operator of Vampires was
Venezuela which took delivery of its first aircraft in
on 10 December 7952. The accident rate was high
December 1952. Here 3835, to FBs standard, is as only 10 Vampires had survived by 1959.
surrounded by typical Venezuelan terrain. New Zealand ordered 18 Vampire FB Mk 52s in
1950, as the first jets in the Dominion, the aircraft
Top:
being shipped out and assembled at Hobsonville.
Royal New Zealand Air Force FB5 N25731. A number
of Vampires were ordered by the RNZAF and remained No 14 Squadron re-equipped with the Vampires on
in service un(il1972. RNZAF 3 September 1951, at its Ohakea base. This was
one of only four airfields with paved runways, but
Above: the aircraft were also well suited to the grass
The first three of six Vampires for Finland were
delivered from Hatfield in January 1 953. airfields, which often had difficult approaches.
No 14 Squadron was moved to Cyprus to
strengthen the allied presence in the Middle East,
flying Vampires leased from the RAF, their
the first Vampire being shot down on 31 October. original aircraft passing to the home-based No 75
At least three more were shot down and many Squadron. In late 1952 a further eight ex-RAF
more were destroyed on the ground by the FB5s were supplied to cover attrition and provide
Anglo-French operations in early November. Four some stock for further years, and at the end of
of the survivors were presented to Saudi Arabia in 1955 a further 20 Mk 5s were orderd. They
July 1957, and seven were supplied to Jordan in remained in service with No 14 Squadron (rvhich
October 1956 to add to the 10 FBgs presented by returned to New Zealand), No 75 Squadron, and
the RAF in December 1955, as the country's first the Fighter Operational Conversion Unit, until
jet combat aircraft. final retirement at the end of 1972.

39
Above: near Helsinki, where one is preserved following
No 5 Squadron of tho Royal lraqi Air Force oPeratod its retirement in 1965. The Royal Iraqi Air Force
Vampires from Rashid. ordered 12 Vampires in 1953 to equip No 5
Squadron at Rashid, its flrst jet fighter unit; later
Below:
The Lebanese Air Force operated five Vampire FB52s
th-e same year the Lebanon ordered five Mk 52s,
from Kleyate, where the first were delivered in the first being delivered to Kleyate on 22 October
October 1953. 1953. The last Vampire export order came from
southern Rhodesia for 24 FB9s for deiivery
between December 1953 and November 1955 to
The remaining overseas orders were for small equip
-Now two squadrons.
numbers for customers in Europe, the Middle East all the single-seat Vampires have been
and Africa. Finland ordered six Mk 52s, the first retired apart from a small number flying in
three being delivered on 22 Jarr:uary 1953 to Pori Switzerland on training and target towing duties.

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The Vampire Night Fighter

The DH.113 Vampire night fighter was produced Down. Aircraft used for research included WP240
as a company-funded private venture design to to test the Sea Vixen radome shape in 1955 and
provide a cost-effective export night fighter. WP250 by Handley Page for boundary layer
Geoffrey Pike took the prototype on its maiden suction laminar flow wing section development
flight from Hatfield on 28 August 1949, power from 1953 to 1956.
coming from a 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 engine. The The first RAF unit to receive Vampire NF10s
major difference from the single-seat Vampire was was No 25 Squadron at West Malling in July 1951,
an enlarged fuselage nacelle to accommodate the replacing its Mosquito NF36s. The Squadron
somewhat ancient AI Mk10 radar, two crew and worked up to operational service during the rest of
the additional equipment. The standard four the year, with No 151 Squadron at Leuchars on
20mm cannon were retained and provision was 15 September and No 23 Squadron at Coltishall in
made for a pair of 100gal drop tanks to be carried the same month also receiving NF10s.
under the wings. For safety reasons if was desirable for the RAF
The first public appearance of the first of two to operate twin-engined night fighters, but with
prototypes was at the SBAC show at Farnborough late deliveries of the Meteor night fighters, the
only a few days after the initial flight, and the Vampires filled an urgent gap. They did not have
following month Egypt placed an order for 12. ejector seats for the crew, but despite having a
However, the British Government embargoed poorer performance, as compared with the
arms to Egypt and the aircraft were adopted by the twin-engined Meteor, the Vampire night fighter
RAF as the Vampire NF10, an interim aircraft had a greater endurance and was a better gun
pending the delivery of the more sophisticated platform.
Meteor and Venom night fighters. Although being home based, No 23 Squadron
The second prototype became part of the RAF detached five aircraft to Fassberg in Germany for
allocation, the first real production aircraft, Exercise'Hold Fast'in September 1952. The same
WP232, making its maiden flight from Hatfield on
19 February 1951 for delivery to the A&AEE on
Below:
30 March. WP236 was operated by the Handling The prlvate venture Vampire night fighter prototype
Squadron at Manby for the compilation of pilots' G-5-2 flew with modified fins to balance the increased
notes, and WP240 was evaluated at Boscombe noso longth.
unit flew 12 of its aircraft in the Queen's Review of Vampires in August 1955, eventually totalling
the RAF at Odiham on 15 July 1953, four months around 14 aircraft with a pair of Tlls for
before the replacement with Venoms began. In continuation training. Nearly two years later, in
April i954 Meteor night fighters began to replace March 1957, No 1 ANS was re-formed at Topcliffe
the Vampires with both Nos 25 and 151 Squad- with nine Vampires sharing the training with
rons, leaving 25 unused aircraft still held in storage Valettas and Marathons. The jet navigation
at maintenance units. courses lasted until 1959. when No 1 ANS
Some of the aircraft were retained by the RAF discontinued them early in the year, followed by
for navigator training, the AI radar being removed No 2 ANS in April. The aircraft were soon
and replaced by navigation equipment such as scrapped, apart from WP255 which flew as a hack
Rebecca 3 and Gee 3. The armament was retained with No 27 MU until the end of 1959. Some
to help maintain the centre of gravity and a new Vampire NF10s were used by the Central
cockpit canopy was fitted to provide a better view Navigation & Control School (CNCS) at Shawbury
and easier escape in an emergency. Ejector seats from May 1954 until September 1959 for the
were still not fitted. training of air traffic controllers.
No 2 Air Navigation School (2 ANS) at Thorney The surplus aircraft not used by the RAF were
Island was the first to receive these revised offered for export after overhaul at the Chester
factory. Italy ordered 14 new NF54s as interim
all-weather fighters and for advanced night fighter
Above left: training, which were delivered between 4 June
The RAF production standard Vampire NF1 O returned 1951 and 25 March 1953. Switzerland ordered one
to the traditional fin shape, but had tail plan€
extensions. Many of th6 RAF aircraft (like WM659 new Vampire night fighter, U-1301, which was
shown) were exported to lndia. MoS delivered on 1 January 1951. It was used for the
testing of system and equipment in the Swiss
Left: licence-built Venoms, and later used for electronic
NFIOs were used by the RAF as anterlm night fighters,
No 25 Squadron based at West Malling being one of countermeasures trials. Following its handover to
the units. This is the fourth production NFlO, WP235, the Swiss Air Force. it was flown on various
under preparation for a night execise in December evaluation tasks, before being withdrawn from
1951. service and scrapped at E,mmen in 1961, because
Below left: of the lack of ejector seats. The iargest overseas
The ltalian Air Force ordered 14 Vampire NF54s, the sale was to India. which ordered 30 ex-RAF
first. 3-1 67, being delivered in June 1 951 . aircraft. modified to NF52s and delivered between
18 April and 15 October 1954.
Below:
The lndian Air Force acquired 3O ex-RAF Vampire Out of the 94 Vampire NF10s built, two now
night fightels, which were refurbished at Chestel remain, one preserved in Italy and the other in
before delivery. India.

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The Vampire Trainer

The Vampire trainer was an uncomplicated following month. Despite looking complete exter-
adaptation of the Vampire night fighter, .by nally, thi aircraft had not flown, and was shown
removing the AI radar from the nose and fitting statically.
dual coritrols in the side-by-side cockpit' Instead of The purpose of the type was to prwide^ the
having a radome in the nose, the front fuselage widest iange of training duties possible, from
incorp'orated an upward opening- large .fairing advanced Jet training through gunnery and
hinged at the rear, where the aircraft batteries and weaDons training, whilst having as much cotn-
corimunications equipment was located on an monality at possi-ble with the other Vampires' Two
easily accessible shelf. As with the earlier Vampire or four 20mm cunnon could be installed under the
famiiy, the wooden fuselage was attached to the fuselage, not only to provide realistic training but
standard metal wings and tail booms, power also td give the aircraft an operational capability'
coming from a 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 engine' A stanJard reflector gunsight was {itted in the
First innounced publicly in August 1950' the cockpit. Strong points were retained in the wings
private venture prototype' marked. G-5-7' was for tire carriage of a pair of 1,0001b bombs, eight
ihown at the SBAC display at Farnborough the rockets or long range fuel tanks.

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44
Left: Two pre-production aircraft, WW458 and
The Vampire trainer was originally built as a pravata
venture but was intended to meet the RAF advanced
WW461, came off the production line next at
trainer requirements. The prototype, G-5-7, featured Christchurch, the first one flying on 1 December
the origina! Vampire tait with no outboard tail-plane 1951 and being delivered to RNAS Culham on
extensions. 21 January 1952 for evaluation by the RN. The
Below left:
second pre-production aircraft joined the first at
Early production Vampire T Mk 11s, featuring the old RNAS Culham on 22 May, the successful trials
canopy, no eiector seats and the early fin shape, resulting in orders for the Fleet Air Arm for the
entered ssrvice with No 2O2 Advanced Flying School type as the T Mk 22.
at Valloy. Production for the RAF commenced at Christ-
Above: church withWZ4l4, which first flew on L9 January
The Vampire trainer had full dual controls including a 1952, the first of 26 airqaft built at the factory
pair of reflector gun sights for weapons training. before transfer of the main production to Chester.
W241.4 was used for company trials before
allocation to the ETPS. W241,5 andWZ4|T were
The prototype featured the old night fighter delivered to the A&AEE, and WZ4I9, which first
framed canopy with an upward opening lid, and flew on 27 March 1952, was allocated to develop-
the fin and rudder were the traditional shape, but ment of the improved fin shape with a dorsal
the outboard tailplane extensions were removed fairing, clear view upward opening canopy and the
and bullet fairings were located on the fin-to-boom installation of ejector seats. The outboard tail-
join. First flight was made from the grass airfield at plane extensions had already replaced the proto-
Christchurch by John Wilson on 15 November type bullet fairings. WZ4I9 first flew after
1950, for 25 minutes. Following company flight modification on 4 April 1954, and these improve-
trials, the prototype became WW456 for official ments were introduced on the production line on
trials. It underwent service evaluation at No 204 the 144th aircraft, the earlier models being
AFS and then the CGS at Leconfield before retrofitted.
adoption by the RAF as the Vampire T Mk 11, the A total of 535 Vampire trainers was ordered by
trials being completed on 26 April 1951. The the RAF, over a period of time, the initial unit
prototype was then delivered to A&AEE deliveries being five aircraft to the CGS at
Boscombe Down on 29 April 1952 for further Leconfield on 4 September 1952, followed by four
official trials. delivered the same month to the APS at

45
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Above left: 115 flying hours as well as ground instruction. The
The Central Gunnery School at Leconfield used T1 1 s first course of students to receive all their advanced
for weapons training including firing of rocket flying on jet aircraft were awarded their wings on
projectiles and the standard four-cannon armament.
22 December 1954 at a parade at Oakington. The
Left: pilots were able to include fighter navigation
The Gentral Flying School at Little Rissington used training and experience compressibility effects
Tl 1 s for the training of flying instructors. G/oster before continuing on to weapons training.
In 1956 Vampire T11s replaced Balliol advanced
Top: trainers with the RAF College at Cranwell, and a
Like a number of RAF fighter units, No 8 Squadron in number were also used by the CFS at Little
Aden had a Vampire Tl 1 for communications, Rissington to train instructors from 1959. The
continuation training and instrument rating,
RAF became the first air force to conduct an
Above: all-through jet training programme, although
T1 1 s were used by No 3 GAACU at Exeter as high grading training was later introduced to check
speed targets for the training of artillery gunners, The initial pilot suitability. A number of Vampire T11s
unit's pilots were the last regular operators of the
aircraft in the UK. Philip Birtles were allocated to fighter squadrons and some
station flights for communications flying and to
maintain a check on proficiency with instrument
ratings and continuation training.
Acklington and No 202 AFS at Valley. Other early While the CFS was responsible for maintaining
deliveries were to the APS at Sylt, No 233 OCU at the high levels of flying instruction training. with
Pembrey and No 229 OCU at Chivenor. regular checks at the various Flying Training
No 5 FTS at Oakington, near Cambridge. Schools, the FWS at Leconfield was responsible
commenced the first Vampire advanced jet flying for maintaining a high level of weapons training. A
course in June 1954, the new students having close liaison was maintained with operational units
graduated from the Percival Provost. The average to keep up the high standard of pilot instructors
to-solo time on the new aircraft was eight flying with the squadron, as well as monitoring the
hours, the total course to wings standard involving weapons instructors at the Armament Practice

47
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Schools. The staff at the FWS not only trained
RAF aircrew, but also many overseas students.
With its good view and side-by-side seating the
Vampire T11 was well suited to weapons training.
Its pair of 20mm cannon could be used for
air-to-air firing on towed targets, and rockets and
practice bombs were carried for ground-attack
training.
In addition to aircrew training. Vampire T11s
were used on other training tasks. A number were
allocated to the Central Navigation & Control
School (CNCS) at Shawbury, together with
Provosts, for the training of RAF air traffic
controllers. This unit was the last in the RAF to
operate the aircraft on training duties. the T11
providing realistic fast jet controlling exercises for
the students untii November 1970. No 3 CAACU
at Exeter was equipped with a number of Vampire
Tl1s in the early 1960s, replacing the veteran
Mosquitos. The Vampires shared with Meteor T7s
the duties of simulating tactical targets for Army
gunners, to give them experience with high-speed.
low-flying aircraft under typical battle conditions.
The unit was disbanded in December 1977.
By 1965 No 1 FTS at Linton-on-Ouse was the
only RAF unit still using the Vampire T11 for
aircrew training, mostly for overseas students.
alongside the unit's Jet Provosts. The small batch
of T1 1s, supported by reserve aircraft held in store
at No 27 MU, Shawbury, were transferred to
No 7 FTS at Church Fenton in January 1966,
followed by a move to No 3 FTS at Leeming on
1 November. They remained at Leerning for just
over a year, and their withdrawai from service was
marked by a small ceremony on a cold bright
29 November 1967.
The iast RAF T11. XK637. flew from Chester on
8 November 1956. and was delivered to No 19 MU
at St Athan on 27 November, along with XK636.
XK637 served with No 4 FTS, RAF College at
Cranwell and No 7 FTS before storage at Chester
and Woodford. It was one of about 40 given away
by Hawker Siddeley Aviation to schools. ATC
cadet units and museums, this particular aircraft
a;*.
lgr*- lQ being acquired by No 18t15 Squadron, ATC.
One Vampire T11 remains airworthy with the
A,
I -l 'F RAF. XH304 shares the limelight with a Meteor
IAL \ T7 as part of the Vintage Pair, administered by the
V\J
Above le{t:
W2419 was the development T1 1 fitted with a pair of
eiector seats under a clear view canopy, and dorsal
fairings on the fins. Later production aircraft were
built to this specification: earlier ones were modified.
Left:
The last RAF training unit equipped with Vampire
T1 1s was No 3 FTS which used the aircraft for the
:nstruction of foreign students, The aircraft were
retired on 29 November 1967. Philip Birtles

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A total of 73 Vampire T Mk 22s was ordered by the RN,
initially appearing to tho early standard, but later the Handling Squadron for the compilation of
modified. The first pre-production aircraft. WW458' pilots' notes. The first delivered were 11 aircraft,
made its maiden flight on 1 December 1951 . xA103 to XA113, to RNAS Stretton on 18 Sep-
tember 1953. The aircraft differed iittle from the
Left:
A small number of T22s were used by the FAA as RAF T11s except for their Naval equipment. They
admirals' barges and painted in a non-standard did not have arrester hooks, and initially ejector
livery, FAA Museum seats were not fitted, but a retrofit programme
Top:
commenced in 1956 to correct this latter omission.
One of the FAAtraining units to use T22s was Vampire T22s entered FAA service with 740
738 Squadron, based at RNAS Lossiemouth. Squadron at Lossiemouth, and rvere also used by
FAA Museum 759 and 763 Squadrons at Lossiemouth, 73u
Above: Squadron at Brawdy, Airwork at Yeovilton and
Vampire T22 XA129 was used by Aimork at Yeovilton some of the FAA station flights. At least one was
with the Air Directors School and is now preserved by used as an Admiral's Barge, painted in a rather
the FAAMuseum. Philip Birtles attractive navy blue livery. Production was
completed wtth XG771 , which was delivered to
CFS which is now based at Scampton. At least one Lossiemouth on 25 May 1955, later serving with
is also flown privately from time to time. 738 Squadron. Following withdrawal from service
A total of 73 Vampire T22s was ordered for the in the mid-1960s. this aircraft was stored with
Fleet Air Arm, all built at Christchurch. The first others at No 5 MU Kemble before purchase by
aircraft, XA100, flew in May 1953 and was Hawker Siddeley Aviation, and becarne part of a
allocated to
company trials before delivery to batch dismantled and shipped to Chile at the end
Lossiemouth in July 1956. XA101 was flown to the of 1972.

51
Vampire Trainers Overseas
With the excellent overseas market established by Below:
de Havilland with the fighter and fighter-bombers, New Zealand ordered six Vampire trainers as new
many satisfied customers also showed interest in aircraft, and later acquired five ex-RAF T1 1 s for
advanced training. RNZAF
the trainer. This not only provided them with a
cost effective multi-role advanced trainer, but also Above right:
took advantage of the commonality in spares and The SAAF T55s were equipped for full weapons
support already firmly established. training, remaining in service until the 1 97Os. SAAF
The Australian Government became the first of Centre right:
these customers when in 1951 it ordered 36 The Vampire T55 was known as tho J.28C in Sweden
Vampire T33s for the RAAF, followed by five and a number served with F5 training school.
T34s for the RAN. These aircraft were built Although the fins had been modified, the original
canopywasretained. BSAF
initially to the early RAF standard with the old
canopies and fins. However, by the time the order Bottom right:
was being completed, the new canopies were fitted The Vampire trainer continues in service for advanced
over ejector seats for the two crew, and the dorsal training with the Swiss Air Force. Gomparison of this
photograph with that of the FB6 in chapter 4 gives a
fairings replaced the bullet shape on the fins. ln good indication of tho differences in configuration of
this up-to-date form the RAAF aircraft were tho two typos. Philip Birtles

g-\s]r::,,ri,..ii, ..i.r:rr,ir'

52
53
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54
ffi" ..\
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Top left: Vampire T.22s, including XG766 and XG770,


The largest overseas order for Vampire train€rs came were re-allocated from the FAA order and in
from lndia with 53 being delivered from the UK and a
further 6O built under licence. The early canopies mid-1954 equipped 724 Squadron RAN as its first
were later replaced. jet aircraft.
New Zealand joined its neighbour by ordering
Above left:
six Vampire T55s, the export version, in late 1951.
Lebanese Air Force T55 Ll 51 was the first of four
aircraft ordered, all of which wete later fitted with the All six, N25701 to N25706, were for the RNZAF,
new canopy. Note the drop tanks fitted for the ferry and were built to the earlier configuration. The
flisht. first was delivered on 27 April 1952, and five
Left:
ex-RAF T11s fitted with ejector seats were later
The lraqi Air Force ordered T55s for conversion added. They served with No 75 Squadron until
training without eiector seats, the first aircraft, L954, passing to the fighter Operational Conver-
No 333, being delivered on 24 May 1953. sion Unit formed at Okakea to take over jet
Above:
aircrew training. The FOCU was disbanded at the
J-Ol was the first of five T55s for Chile, an order to end of June 1955, to be re-formed as the Jet
which was latet added the demonstrator. Conversion Unit to operate the Vampires in the
advanced training role. In early 1960 the JCU was
re-designated T35s, and were used for advanced replaced by the Bomber Conversion Unit which
flying and weapons training. The earlier aircraft was equipped with Canberras, two Vampire FB5s
were modified retrospectively as T.33As and and four Vampire trainers for bomber aircrew
T.34As, further order being placed in 1955 for 68
a conversion. No 75 Squadron re-equipped on
T.35s and one T.34A to be produced under licence 1 September 1963 with eight FB5s and four
by de Havilland Australia. In addition four trainers until Skyhawks were delivered in May
55
1970. The Vampires passed to No 14 Squadron,
where they remained until retirement at the end of
1.972, to be replaced by Strikemasters.
The next customer was the South African Air
Force, which ordered an initial batch of six
Vampire T55s powered by Goblin 35 engines to
the early RAF standard and fitted with four 20mm
cannon under the fuselage. Provision was made
under the wings for the carriage of bombs, rockets
and a pair of 100gal drop tanks. The first of these
aircraft, SA22\, was delivered on 26 May 1952 for
operational conversion training to the single-seat
Vampires and later Sabres. A further order
followed for 19 Vampire T55s, commencing
SA257, to the later standard with ejector seats,

Right:
Finland ordered nine Vampire T55s for conversion and
advanced training: here VT-1 and VT-2, without
ei6ctor seats, are ready for delivery from Hatfield.
Below:
The Union of Burma was a new Vampire customer
when it ordered eight trainers as its first iet aircraft.

Facing page:
The Egyptian Air Force used a dozen Vampire trainers
to propare pilots for flying the Soviet MiG-15s.

56
'7&"ry
and the earlier aircraft were modified. One of A new customer was the Portuguese Army Air
these aircraft was still flying in the late 1970s for Force, which ordered two T55s to the early
displays at air shows. standard with provision for the fitment of cannon
The first E,uropean order came for six Vampire and bomb and rocket carriers. These aircraft
T55s for the Royal Norwegian Air Force, to the (P.5801 and P.5802) were delivered on 4 Decem-
same basic standard as the SAAF aircraft. The ber 1952 to Ota airbase near Lisbon.
first, PX-E, was delivered on 28 July 1952 to The Royal Swedish Air Force became one of the
No 337 Squadron at Gardermoen, but in 1955 they largest Vampire trainer customers when it ordered
all returned to Britain to be overhauled by 45 Goblin 3-powered aircraft, the first 30 to the
Marshalls as XJ771 toXJ776, for the RAF. earlier modification standard with provision for the
Venezuela ordered one T55. 23-A-36, which was fitment of cannon, bomb and rocket carriers. and
delivered on 16 September 1952 to the same Swedish drop tanks. The Iirst batch, 28411 to
standard and armament as the SAAF aircraft. Five 28440, was delivered between 16 February and
more were ordered on 17 April 1958, the first 10 November 1953 allowing the first advanced pilot
(2E-35) being delivered on 30 May for jet training course to commence at F5 Wing,
conversion training with the Escttudrrin de Caza Ljunbyhed in Southern Sweden in March 1954.
No 35 at the Mariscal Sucre airbase. The students completed 75 hours initial training on
Safirs, followed by 100 hours advanced training on
Below: Vampires, before converting to the iet fighters.
Th€ eaght T55s for lndonesia were not fitted with
eiector seats. They were used for advanced training The remaining 15 aircraft, 28441 to 28455, were
and ground attack duties, and had four cannon and delivered at the end of 1955 and had ejector seats,
rocket rails. the new canopy and dorsal fairings.
The Swiss Air Force had a need for an advanced
Bottom:
One Vampire T55, 63-5571, was delivered to Japan in
jet trainer to convert its pilots to Vampires and
1 955 for evaluation, but no further orders resulted. other jet combat aircraft. Initially three Vampire
The aircraft is preserved at Gifu Air Baso. T11s, U-1001 to U-1003, were supplied in 1953 for
:!
FXi
i1

ffi
s
ffi
K

sF
s
t€
J*?
" ji!'s:\$)Y-!N'

+J
*
WG
evaluation, fitted with the dorsal fin fairings, but Air Force to add to the five T01s and T05s ordered
still had the early canopies without ejector seats. on 22 October 1953, the first of which was
The next order, following successful evaluation, delivered on 10 June 1954. By 1972 only one
came in 1956, for a further seven aircraft to the remained serviceable. To overcome the shortage
improved T55 standard with the clear view canopy of suitable trainers, six ex-RN Vampire T22s were
and ejector seats for the two crew, and in 1960 the removed from store at St Athan, packed at
three initial aircraft, which by now had becotne Chester and shipped to Chile, where they were
U-1201 to U-1203, were brought up to the same overhauled for service.
standard. The training load increased from the On 23 March 1955 the Finnish Air Force
straight-forward conversion task, to include a full ordered four T55s, later increased to nine,
programme of advanced blind flying training as a powered by Goblin 35 engines but without ejector
follow-on to the basic training in the Pilatus P3. As seats. Only two cannon were fitted and the usual
a result, a further 20 Vampire T55s were ordered underwing stores could be carried. The aircraft
in 1958, all the aircraft being equipped for were used for flying conversion to the Vampire
armament training with four cannon and under- FB52s and later for advanced training in prep-
wing bomb and rocket launchers. For these aircraft aration for the Folland Gnat.
de Havilland supplied the wooden fuselage nacelle A new Vampire customer was the Union of
and Goblin 3 engines, while F&W at Emmen built Burma Air Force, which ordered eight T55s in
all the metal parts under licence. IJowever, there 1954 to the later standard, as part of its
were still insufficient Vampire trainers, so nine modernisation programme. Only two cannon were
ex-RAF aircraft were purchased from de Havil- fitted in addition to the underwing stores
land in 1967 and transported by road to capability, and the first four aircraft, UB.501 to
Altensheim in S'rvitzerland, where they were UB.504, were delivered to Mingaladon Air Base
completely overhauled by the Flug & Fahrzeung- near Rangoon on 7 December 1954.
werke (FFA) as U-1231 to U-1239. Two aircraft in To add to its Vampire FB9s, the Southern
the 1958 order, U-1211 and U-1219, were fitted Rhodesia Air Force acquired eight ex-RAF
with remote controlled nose mounted cine Vampire T11s. These were delivered from Benson
cameras. The Vampire trainer continues to serve to Salisbury in the spring of 1956, the 5,500nm
in small numbers with the Swiss Air Force. and ferry flight being accomplished in seven stages.
retirement does not appear to be imminent. Four more ex-RAF T11s were soon added, and the
The largest overseas order for Vampire trainers aircraft continued to operate with No 2 Squadron
came from India for 53 T55s powered by the into the early 1970s.
Goblin 35 engine and built to the latter standard In the spring of 1955 Egypt placed an order for
with ejector seats. Four cannon were fitted, with 12 Vampire trainers without ejector seats, but with
provision for the carriage of bombs. rockets and full armament capability. The first, No 1570, was
drop tanks. The first, Iy46l , was delivered on delivered on 6 July the same year to Fayid to be
12May 1953 and the last, BY-386, on 6 February used for advanced training to prepare student
1958. Meanwhile a further 60 were built under pilots for flying the Soviet supplied MiG-15s.
licence by the Hindustan Aeronautics at Another new Vampire customer was Indonesia,
Bangalore. which ordered eight T.55s to the later standard.
The Lebanon ordered one Vampire T55 with fitted with four cannon and stores carriers for
ejector seats, four cannons and the usual provision bombs, rockets and fuel tanks. Indonesia was the
for underwing stores, L151 being delivered on 19th customer, and by this time over 800 Vampire
24 August 1953 to Kleyate for jet conversion trainers were in service world-wide. The eight
duties. Three more aircraft were soon added to aircraft, J.701 to J.708, were shipped on
complement L151. 29 December 1955, and after assembly they were
The Iraqi Air Force required a trainer to convert handed over on 20 February 1956 at Hussean Air
its pilots on to its Vampires, and ordered seven Base, Bandung to form the Indonesian Air Force's
T55s without ejector seats but with the full first jet squadron.
armament provision: the first, '333', was delivered Vampire trainer No 63-5571, built to the latest
on 24 May 1953. standard and fitted with ejector seats, was
In 1956 demonstrator Varnpire T55 G-AOXH delivered to Japan on 8 November 1955 for
was shipped from Chester to Buenos Aires, and evaluation by the Air Self Defence Force. It was
assembled at the Argentine Air Force Base at not adopted, but the aircraft was retained by the
Moron. Flown by George Errington on 15 Decem- experimental squadron. It was later preserved at
ber, it commenced a 30,000-mile tour of Argen- Gifu Air Base.
tina, Peru, Uruguay and Chile arriving in Chile on The Arab Legion Air Force, later to become the
16 April 1957. It was handed over to the Chilean Royal Jordanian Air Force, acquired two ex-RAF

59
Vampire T11s without ejector seats in 1955. In Two frustrated overseas orders were from
1960 a further ex-RAF aircraft to the later Ceylon and Syria. The Ceylon Government
standard was added. The aircraft were used ordered five T55s in 1951; these were packed and
initially to convert pilots to fly the Vampire FB9s, shipped to Colombo. After unloading at the docks,
and later as advanced trainers to prepare pilots for however, the decision was changed, and they were
the more sophisticated Hunters. returned to Britain unpacked. No records exist of
From nearer at home came an order for three their ultimate fate, although they were probably
T55s for the Irish Air Corps in early 1956. They used for spares. The Syrian order was for two T55s
were to the later standard with ejector seats, but to the latest standard with full armament and
armament was limited to two cannon and rocket stores provision, placed in early 1956. They were
carriers only. The first aircraft, No 185, was ready for delivery in July 1956, but an embargo
delivered on 15 May 1956, followed by Nos 186 was placed by the British Government on arms
and 187 on 20 July, for jet conversion training and supply to Syria and both aircraft were stored at
fighter/ground-attack duties. Three more T55s, Hatfield until scrapped in the early 1960s.
Nos 191-193, were added in early 1961, and an In January 1957 rhe Austrian Air Force became
ex-RAF T11 was delivered on 30 August i963 for the final Vampire trainer customer when it ordered
ground instruction of maintenance engineers. three T55s to the latest standard with ejector seats
and full provision for armament and stores
carriage. The first, 5C-YA, was delivered on
Below: 26 March, only two months after the order, and
One of the frustratod export orders was for Vampire two more were ordered in January 1961. Austria
T55s Nos 493 and 494 for Syria, which were
had a further requirement after the production line
embargoed by the British Government,
had closed down. acquiring three ex-RAF T11s in
Bottom: January \964. The aircraft operated first from
The Austrian Air Force was the ultimat6 customei for GrazlThalerhof and later Horsching near Linz, and
the T55, Iat6r aircraft coming from RAF stocks. The
original SC-YA crashed in Snowdonia while on a t6st
returned regularly to Chester for overhaul, where
flight after returning to the UK for overhaul; the one of the aircraft crashed on a test flight. This
SC-YA shown here is an ex-RAF replacement. aircraft was replaced by an ex-RAF T11 and the
Philip Birtles last was retired in I971, .
B
The Venom Fig hter-Bombers

The Venom, originally known as the Vampire sweepback of 17' 6', and the thickness/chord ratio
FB8, was designed to specification F.15/49 as an reduced from 14"h to 10%. The wing trailing edge
interim replacement for the Vampire fighter- was straight and the structure was stressed for the
bombers, pending the late introduction of Hunters installation of a pair of 75gal wing tip tanks in
and Swifts to the RAF. In fact the Supermarine addition to the underwing stores positions,
Swift proved almost totally unsatisfactory, and the allowing full combat manoeuvring while full. The
Hawker Hunter did not make a suitable ground- wing tip tanks were not jettisonable in flight, but
attack aircraft until the FGA9 entered service. were an optional fit if required.
Therefore, Venoms served more widely and
remained in operation much longer than antici-
Below:
pated, the final ones being retired from active The prototype Venom FB1, VV61 2, first flew on
duties in Switzerland in August 1983. 1 September 1949 and appeared at the SBAC display
Although the Venom had the same basic layout at Farnborough a few days later.
as the Vampire, it differed in a number of Bottom:
significant aspects. Power came from a 4,8501b The second prototyp€ Venom FBl , W613, was used
thrust Ghost 103 engine, and to take advantage of to test tho carriage of a pair of wing tip tanks and
this a new wing was designed with a leading edge underwing drop tanks.
The De Havilland Venom F Mkl (DH1 121.
James Goulding

62
The prototype Venom FB1, VV6l2, madc its found that the rate of roll without wing tip tanks
first flight from Hatfield piloted by John Derry on was poor. but with them fitted it rvas dcplorable.
2 September 1949 and, follorving company flight The rvings had drooped leading edges in an effort
trials. was delivered to the A&AEE Boscombe to cure a nose pitch-up at medium and high
Down for testing in May i950. The aircratl rvas altitucles. but the first production aircraft. WE255.
considered reasonably satisfactory. but further had this problem return rvith the deterioration of
re{inement rvas required. Despite somc faults the rving surfacc. However, the aircraft had been
ivhich needcd correction. the aircraft shorved a
noticeable aclvantage in mock combat rvith trvo Below:
current fighters, a creditable performancc in vicrv The first production Venom FB1, WE255' carried out
of the fact that the Venorn was optimisccl for underwing bomb carrying trials.
ground attack.
Bottom:
The second prototype, VV613. joinecl the
The early Venom FBl s which performed operational
devcloprnent programme on 23 July 1950 ancl rvas trials with No 11 Squadron had red bands painted on
clelivered to the A&AEE on 3 April i951 for the wings to signify that only restricted manoeuvres
further trials to assess any improvements. It was were allowed. F/ight

$-. ,

63
Top: was used for a variety of trial installations and fuel
No 266 Squadron was part of the Venom-oquipped
No 123 Wing at Wunstorf, receiving its FBls in tests, before undertaking gun firing trials at
October 1952. J. D. R. Bawlings Boscombe Down. It was retired to No lgMU at
St Athan as 7228M on 7 July f955. W8257 was the
Above: high speed development aircraft delivered to
No 11 Squadron later received full prodriction
standard FBls without flight restrictions. Air Ministry Boscombe Down on 9 January 1952.It went to the
Handling Squadron at Manby on 16 April for the
compilation of pilot's notes and was retired to
flown at altitudes up to 51,000f1 with reasonably ground training at Halton as 7133M on 18 March
satisfactory control characteristics. 1954. WE258 was delivered to Boscombe Down on
Regret was expressed at Boscombe Down at the 12 February 1952. WE259 first flew on 28 Novem-
lack of ejector seat for the pilot, but it was to be ber 1951, going to Boscombe the following
fitted in later production aircraft. Other external 9 January, and W8260 first flew on 29 December
changes from the Vampire included wing fences to 1951 for stick shaker and power control develop-
eliminate tip stall on the approach to landing, and ment, passing to the A&AEE on 25 April.
bullet fairings at the fin and tailplane junction, The first delivery to the RAF was of WE263 to
although the later Venom FB4 had flatter-topped the Central Fighter Estabiishment (CFE) at West
rudders with a trailing edge bullet fairing added. Raynham on 21 April 1952. lt was joined by
Fixed armament of the Venom was four under- WE265 on 25 April and WE261 on 8 May for full
nose mounted 20mm Hispano Mk V cannon. Two service evaluation before entry into squadron
1,0001b bombs or eight 60lb rockets could be service.
carried on underwing pylons. WE262 was used for the evaluation of a
Meanwhile the first prototype was delivered to redesigned instrument panel and tip tank trials in
the de Havilland Engine Co at Hatfield on 1952, ending up as 7134M at Halton on 18 March
18 Dccember 1950 to have a two-position reheat 19-54. WE26-5 first flew on 2 May 1952 and was
fitted to the Ghost engine. The second prototype delivered to Christchurch for development flying
ended its days on ground instruction duties at on i5 May. It was joined by WE269 on 4 July, but
RNAS Arbroath as A.2327 in 1955. WE265 left for Boscombe on 27 August.
The first six production Venoms, W8255 to WE266 first flew on 3 April 1952 and rvas
WE260, were flown by the A&AEE and the retained by de Haviltand for development flying,
manufacturer on trials. WE255 was used for going to Nameo in Canada in late 1952 for cold
aerodynamic and controllability development weather trials. It retired to Halton as 7211M on
including the measurement of control column 24 May 1955. WE267 was delivered to the RAE
forces. It eventually became 7187M at No 2 School Farnborough on 8 May 1952,later to be joined by
of Technical Training on 7 February 1955. WE256 wE268.

64
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Above: No single-seat Venoms operated with RAF


No 94 Squadron, which formed an a€robatic t€am,
squadrons in Britain, but they served widely in the
was part of theVenom-equipped No 121 Wing at
Fassberg. 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany, and in the
high temperatures of Cyprus, the Middle East,
Africa and Asia.
The first overseas unit to receive Venoms was
After the first 15 production aircraft were built No 11 Squadron at Wunstorf in Germany, which
at Hatfield, the production line was moved to the exchanged its Vampires in August 1952 and was
larger Chester factory, the first aircraft (WE270) responsible for the operational service trials.
being delivered to No 22 MU on 26 July 1952. These carly aircraft suffered from weaknesses in
Small batches werc also assembled by Fairey the wing structure, which subjected them to flight
Aviation at Ringway and Marshalls of Cambridge. limitations; as a warning, broad orange bands were
Plans were also made for the Bristol Aeroplane Co painted across the wings. The aircraft were first
at Filton, to build a further 132 FBls commencing operated on a trial basis in the NATO Exercise
WL892. but these were cancelled before com- 'Mainbrace', a largely Naval exercise. Four
pletion ofany ofthe aircraft. A total of375 Venom Venoms from No 11 Squadron were joined by two
FBls were built for the RAF, mainly at Chester. more from the CFE for Exercise 'Flold Fast' from
the last one, WR273, being delivered to No 29 MU 15 to 23 September.
on 29 December 1954. During the early days with the Venoms No 11
Venoms continued in a variety of trials and Squadron found that some of the other NATO air
development work, WE272 being used for flutter forces were unfamiliar with cartridge starting
checks after delivery to Boscombe on 1 September procedures. It only needed the sight of a line-up of
1952. WE275 was a Hatfield assembled aircraft. Venoms belching flame and black smoke out of the
out of sequence, which was delivered to Christch- top ofthe engine cowlings to cause the alarm to be
urch on 30 June 7952 for high altitude develop- sounded. By the time the emergency services had
ment flying. W8279 was delivered to Folland on arrived, the aircraft would be taxying for take-off,
.l September 1952 for trials work, and WE280 was unaware of the problems caused.
delivered to A&AEE on 27 January 1953. The earlier aircraft with No 11 Squadron were
Following its demonstration at the SBAC display replaced with more combat-ready examples while
at Farnborough in September 1952, WE28l was Nos 266 (Rhodesia) and 5 Squadrons re-equipped
used for high Mach number flutter trials in 1953. with Venoms at Wunstorf, forming No 123 Wing in
WE315 was delivered to Christchurch on 1 Fe- February 1954. By this time the first aircraft with
bruary 1953 as the first aircraft fitted with ejector ejector seats fitted had been issued. Squadron
seat. The CFE also operated WE313 and WE,314, pilots were well satisfied with the performance of
both being delivered on 9 March 1953. the Venom: it proved to be an outstanding
Top:
Tho Venoms of No 1 1 Squadron used the Fassberg
range for air-to-ground firings - Air Ministry

Above:

M reffrF#
Based at Tengah in Singapore, the RNZAF No 1 4
Squadron hired its Venom FBls from the RAF.
Left:
No 6 Squadron re-equipped with FBl s at Amman in
February 1954. RAF

ry d,&

interceptor and ground attack aircraft, fitting in


well between the heavy load carrying Thunderjet
and the transonic Sabre. The \/enom was also able
to account well for itself in combat with swept wing
aircraft, especially above 35,000f1, its rate of climb
being a great advance over the Vampire.
The second Venom wing, No 121, was formed at
Fassberg in mid-1953. and consisted of Nos 14, 98
,"4.&: ..;a. and 118 Squadrons; the third and final Venom
wing in 2TAF was No 139 at Celle. formed during
the early part of 1954 and comprising Nos 16, 94
and 145 Squadrons. All had converted from
Vampires. The Fassberg wing changed its Venoms
for Flunters in 1955 and the Celle wing disbanded
in 1957.

66
w wru
.-ffs
.#** G

Above:
To achieve early familiarisation, No 14 Squad- The Venoms of No 5 Squadron have used a cartridge
ron was issued with some of the stress-lirnited start with its familiar plume of smoke. No 5 Squadron
aircraft frorn No 11 Squadron, but they rvere was one of the Wunstorf based units. F/ight
replaced within two months of the Squaclron
re-equipping in May 1953.
Despite the overall success of the introduction of
the Venoms. the aircraft were not totally rvithout platforn.r, its good endurance, ease of handling and
problems, and No 14 Squadron had its share to the ability to carry a wide range of stores. Typical
deal with. The Squadron was tasked with series of practice missions were fighter-bomber attacks on
bombing trials. including dive-bombing from small ground targets such as bridges and road
medium and low levels. On 23 March. during the convoys; Army close supporti airfield defence
pull-out of one of the medium-level trials. the against air attack; and visual reconnaissance. The
starboard wing of WE368 came off. As thc Venoms had an advantage in air-to-air combat, as
remainder of the aircraft began to break up, the by using their greater manoeuvrability, they could
pilot, Flg Off D'Arcy, pulleci the cjector seat fly rings round many modern fighters. The major
handle and made the first RAF ejection throush shortcoming was a lack of high top speed for the
the canopy. In the resulting investigation the interception of any fast hostile aircraft. From the
u'eakness was found to be in the rear spar and point of view of servicing and engineering support.
che cks revealed that 75'lo of thc remaining the aircraft rvas operated within the Wing. but
Venoms suffered the same defcct. An immediate each squadron retained its identity with the
rnodification programnle was initiated to overcome commanding officer being responsible for training,
the problem. discipline and morale.
Another problem rvas a series of mysterious In April 1954 details wete released of the
crashes, where the evidence had been dcstroyecl by improvcd Venom FB4. It was an all-round
fire. Howcver, in November 1954 Fl Lt Severne of irnprovement in detailed design, but the n.rost
No 98 Squadron experienced a fire rvarning. noticeable change wiis the revision of the shape of
follorving which he was able to makc a successful the rudder to prevent excessive yaw and possible
forced landing on the Fassberg crash strip. FIe rudder locking at low speeds. The FB4 rvas fitted
iumpcd out of his aircraft quickly. and by hacking rvith hydraulicirlly operated ailerons to givc
off the engine cowlings with an axe, he rvas able to improved control at high Mach numbers, and
direct a carbon dioxide extinguisher on to the firc. could carry underrving fuel tanks, in addition to
saving the evidence. The accident investigatiorr the tip tanks. Design work on this version had
founcl that, under certain conditions of zcro 'g'. been transferred to Christchurch and FB1 WE381
fuel was venting from the fusclage into the engine was taken from the Chester production line for
cooling air scoops, resulting in flash {ires. For his conversion at Christchurch as the prototype FB4.
action Fl Lt Severne was awardecl the Air Force After rnodification WE381 was delivered to
Cross. Boscornbe Down on 1tt May 1954. where the
With these early problems overcome. the dropping of thc underwing fuel tanks was included
Venom rvas found to be ideal for ground attack, in its testing. It linished its flying at Farnborough
due to its manoeuvrability. steadiness as a gun where it rvas scrapped in 1950.

6'7
A total of 151 Venom FB4s was built for the their oil installations. Detachments were frequen-
RAF. 52 from Chester, 51 from Hatfield, 33 from tly made to Shajah, where the ground crews had to
Marshalls and 15 from Fairey. None appears to maintain the aircraft in temperatures of 65'C
have been used for development flying, the without shade, making the aircraft too hot to
majority being issued to the squadrons. The flrst touch. During these detachments spares were
production aircraft, WR374, was delivered to often a problem, and when an engine access panel
No 29 MU at High Ercall on 28 March 195-5, and was damaged. the only way to make a repair was to
the ulimate single-seat Venom for the RAF was manufacture a patch from bright yellow beer cans.
WR564. delivered to No 22 MU on 28 March 1956, On 23 December i954, not long after re-equip-
later serving with No 28 Squadron. ping with Venoms, No 73 Squadron had four of its
The only unit in 2TAF to re-equip with FB4s aircraft airborne when a sandstorm hit the airfield
was No 123 Wing at Wunstorf. starting with No 5 at Habbaniya. The pilots rvere forced to abandon
Squadron in July 1955. No 11 Squadron received their aircraft, which they achieved successfully,
its aircraft in August and No 266 (Rhodesia) and by February 1955 when they visited Nicosia in
Squadron in May 1956. No 121 Wing at Fassberg Cyprus, replacement aircraft had been supplied.
left its aircraft and went by road to Jever to collect Following a month of exercises the Squadron flew
its Hunters, and No 139 Squadron operated a few the 580 miles to its base in t hour and 5 minutes.
FB4s until disbandment of the squadrons, No 16 On 2 May 1955 the RAF handed over
September 1957, No 94 on the 15th of the same Habbaniya to the Royal Iraqi Air Force and No 73
month, and No 145 one month later on Squadron withdrew to Nicosia. No 6 Squadron
15 October. remained until April 1956 when it moved to
At this time No 123 Wing began the withdrawal Akrotiri. having become the first unit to receive
of the Venoms, with No 5 Squadron the flrst to go FB4s in July 1955. In August four of the new
on 12 October, followed by Nos 11 and 266 aircraft completed a i0.000-mi1e flight from
Squadrons by the end of November. Also in Habbaniya to Cape Town and back, during which
Germany No 213 Squadron re-formed as a they broke the record from Cape Town to
Canberra attack unit on 1 September 1955, and Pretoria, previously held by the SAAF. They
worked up with Venoms until Canberra B(I)6s covered the U07 miles in t hour 23 minutes. nine
were delivered in March 1956. minutes faster than the previous record. Operation
As already mentioned the Venoms served 'Quick Return' (as the mass flight was called)
widely overseas, in addition to West Germany. resulted in the first visit of RAF Venoms as far
No 6 Squadron was the first Middle Eastern unit to south as Cape Town; under the command of Flt Lt
fly them when FBls were delivered to Arnman in Michael Hobson the four aircraft completed the
Jordan in February 1954. A move was made in round trip in 14 days, during which they visited 13
June to Habbaniya in Iraq where the unit joined airfields giving displays of formation aerobatics.
No 73 Squadron, whose pilots replaced their Engineering support was provided by a Valetta of
Vampires with Venoms in December. No 249 No 114 Squadron.
Squadron began to re-equip with Venoms at Most of the Venom squadrons in the region
Amman in October 1954, remaining there until joined other British and French forces in active
1956, when it moved to Akrotiri in Cyprus. duty during the seven-day Suez crisis from
On September 1954 No 32 Squadron in Egypt
15 1 November 1956. The Akrotiri-based No 6
moved from Deversoir with its Vampires, to Squadron made the first Venom strike against
Kabrit, on the south side of the Great Bitter Lake. Egypt led by its Commanding Officer, Sqn Ldr
To the pilots' surprise a pair of Venom FBls were P. C. Ellis DFC, when rockets were fired at ground
awaiting them and by the following January the targets. During the campaign one Venom was lost.
Squadron was fully re-equipped. Despite a Some of the Middle East-based squadrons
struggle to keep the aircraft serviceable because of re-equipped with the improved FB4s in 1956,
a lack of spares, a move was made to Shaibah. via including Nos 8, 249 and 73 Squadrons, which
Amman, on 14 January, where the unit remained received its first aircraft on 19 December. There
until moving to Takali in Malta in October 1955. was not time for No 23 Squadron to re-equip as it
No t3 Squadron was the only other Middle was moved from its post-Suez crisis base at Mafraq
Eastern Venom unit, exchanging its Vampire FB9s to Nicosia in January 1957. There its 13 Venom
at Khormaksar, Aden in June 1955. The Squadron FBls, two Vampire T11s and a Meteor T7 were
had received its standard at Khormaksar on replaced by Canberra B2s, the last Venoms
9 April 1954 and at that time had served in Aden departing on 14 January.
and the surrounding area for over 27 years, making During 1957 the Venoms of Nos 8 and 249
it the senior fighting unit in the Protectorate. The Squadrons were contributing towards the control
Squadron used its aircraft actively against rebel of the Aden-Yemen borders, as well as operating
tribesmen as a protection for the local sheikhs and against rebel tribesmen in Trucial Oman. In

68
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reports from Aden of hostilities on the Protecto- Above:


rate's frontier with Yemen. the Venoms rvere in No 8 Squadron operated its FB4s in the hot, barren
climate of Aden.
action against Yemeni troops in at least three
areas, including Beihan, where incursions had
been made. The Venoms supported troops of the equipping by the following February. It also took
Durham Light Infantry, attacking with rockets and an active part in the Malayan Emergency, making
cannon fire. No 73 Squadron also took part in some 300 strikes against terrorist locations before
these activities, firing live rockets and cannon for the Venoms were retired by 15 November 1957.
the flrst time on 30 August 1956 on ground targets No 14 (NZ) Squadron left Tengah for New
at Al Taiela. The Squadron had however. moved Zealand on 30 June 195U to re-equip with
to Akrotiri by the end of March 1957. and Canberras, leaving behind its Venoms. During
converted to Canberras. their stay at Singapore, the squadron pilots had
No 6 Squadron had moved to Akrotiri in April formed an aerobatic team, one of the specialities
i956 and by July 1957 had converted to Canberras, being the writing of the figure '14'in smoke.
followed by No 249 Squadron the next month. This The FBls of No 60 Squadron were replaced by
only left No 8 Squadron in Aden flying Venoms FB4s in April 1957 and they continued in
until re-equipping with Hunter FGA9s by 7 March operation in Singapore until replaced by Meteor
1960. NF14s in October 1959. The last of its Venoms
In Asia No 60 Squadron, which had been the joined No 28 Squadron in Hong Kong on
first Far East Air Force jet squadron, exchanged 13 November 1959.
its Vampires for Venom FBls on 24 Aprll 1955. at Based at Sek Kong, six miles from the
Tengah, Singapore. At this time No 14 (NZ) communist border, No 28 Squadron had received
Squadron moved from Cyprus to Tengah where its first FB1, WR299 'A', in February 1956, and its
RAF Venom FBls were awaiting, on hire to the duties included patrolling the 'bamboo curtain'.
New Zealand Government, consolidating the The airheld was one of the most demanding in the
Australian and New Zealand forces. Nos 60 and RAF, with its single runway surrounded on three
14 (NZ) Squadrons flew together in the Malayan sides by high mountains. Take-offs were made
Emergency, making ground attack stikes on towards the gap, and landings in the opposite
terrorist positions often close to allied troops. direction, made even more hazardous by the
operations requiring a high level of accuracy. regular strong cross-winds. In June 1957 the
Further north at Butterworth in Malaya, No 45 airfield was relegated to emergency use only, and
Squadron received the first of 18 aircraft, FBI No 28 Squadron moved to the main airport of
WR346, on 10 October 1955, and had completed Hong Kong, Kai Tak. Re-equipment with FB4s
69
was completed there. the normal duties of the returning to Kenya. During the following months
Squadron being daily armed reconnaissance flights the Squadron participated in various exercises and
by the duty pair of aircraft, the object being to spot formed an aerobatic team, which in August
pirate junks and any illegal activity in the Pearle performed before the Sultan of Zanzlbar to
Estuary. During the summer months, patrolling celebrate his 80th birthday. No 208 Squadron
off the more popular beaches was added to the continued to fly effectively in Africa and the
tasks. to rvarn of sharks and manta rays. When two Persian Gulf, operations ranging from the
of the Venoms collided at 30,000ft about 40 miles Northem Frontier District of Kenya on Army
out to sea. both pilots ejected successfully and co-operation exercises with 24 Brigade, to
parachuted into the water. They were picked up Khonnaksar, Sharjah and Bahrain. Many of the
fairly quickly by a Chinese fishing boat. whose Venoms began to show their age and were
crew received as a reward. a scroll recording the scrapped as they be came time-expired, the
rescue, an enormous sack of rice and $l,000. No 28 Squadron finally returning to Britain on
Squadron became the last RAF unit to operate 24 March 1960 to re-equip with I{unter FGA9s at
Venoms. until WR539 'F' flew the last sortie on Stradishall.
27 June f962. Hunter FGA9s being the
replacement aircraft.
Although No 28 Squadron was the last unit tcr
Below:
operate Venoms. it was not the last unit to be The Royal lraqi Air Force operated two squadrons of
re-equipped with the aircraft. No 142 Squaclron Venoms, one of ex-RAF Mk 1 s and the other of
was re-formed at Eastleigh, Nairobi on 1 February newly-built FB50s.
1959 with Venom FB4s, lcd by Sq Ldr Ramirez.
Bottom:
Soon after, on 30 March, it rvas renumbcrcd Venezuela ordered 22 Venom FB54s, the export
No 208 Squadron, which had prcviously been version ofthe FB4. Venezuela
operating I{unter F6s at Akrotiri. 'Ihe new No 208
Squadron was soon involvcd in training. going on Above right:
The Swiss Air Force was a maior user of the Venom,
detachment to the Royal Rhodesian Air Force with FB1s, FB4s and a specially adapted
base at Thornhill for armament practice. A tour of reconnaissance vercion. They were finally retired at
Rhodesia and Nyasaland foilowed, before tho ond of 1983. Philip Birtles

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Export Customers thur. However, because of a lack of engine


Although the Venom was produced as a relatively manufacturing experience, compared with that for
short-life interim aircraft, it proved to be a airframes, the first 35 engines were supplied direct
successful export product, following in the by cle Havilland, and Swiss-built Ghost engines
footsteps of the Vampire. Its relatively uncompli- rvere installed in the 30th and subsequent aircraft.
cated development, together with large orders for The production rate eventually achieved six
the RAF, made the Venom a very cost-effective aircraft per month.
acquisition for a number of air forces. The export Because of delays in the selection of a new
version of the Venom fighter-bomber rvas knorvn combat aircraft by the Swiss Government, the
as the FB50. Venoms had to continue in operation much longer
The first overseas customer was the Italian Air than anticipated. Although the wooden fuselage
Force, which ordered two FB50s, MM6153 and did not suffer from fatigue, the metal structure
MM6154, both delivered on 21 February 1953. to began to show signs of age. Extensive fatigue
be followed by licence production by Fiat. In the testing was carried out by F&W at Emmen, and as
event these plans did not materialise and no a result a number of strengthening modifications
Venoms were built in Italy. were made, more than doubling the service life of
With the Royal Iraqi Air Force taking over the aircraft. Monitoring of the structural condition
for the defence of its country. a
responsibility continued during the life of the aircraft to avoid
batch of FBls were supplied to equip No 5 any restrictions being imposed on the normal
Squadron. The first one was delivered to operations.
Habbaniya in May 1954, by George Thornton. a In 1956 the same group of factories produced 24
de Havilland test pilot, in a time of 6 hours 25 reconnaissance versions of the Venom FB1, serials
minutes, and the Squadron was completely commencing at J-1626.In addition to the standard
equipped by early 1955. An order followed for 15 equipment, these Venoms, known as FBlRs, had
FB50s, Nos 352 to 366, to equip No 6 Squadron. fixed underwing fuel tanks with a number of
also at Habbaniya. They were delivered betrveen automatic aerial cameras installed in the forward
8 April 1955 and 3 February 1956. portion. When the replacement Mirage IIIR
In July 1955 Venezuela ordered 22 FB54s. the reconnaissance aircraft were delivered in 1969. the
export version of the FB4, all of which were built special Venoms were reduced to eight aircraft
at Chester. The first aircraft, 1A-34, was delivercd retained for training purposes, the remainder
to No 34 Squadron at Maiquetta on 1 December being converted to the normal combat standard.
1955, and the final one. 8C-34, on 17 August, 1956. Finally, in 1956 100 Venom FB4s equipped rvith
They remained in service until the end of 1965 UHF radio and an improved bomb sight were
rvhen they were replaced by Hawker Flunters. licence-built. commencing J- 1701.
The major overseas user of the Venom was the The Swiss Air Force Venoms were used mainly
Swiss Air Force. which undertook a detailed in the ground attack role. In 1965 a total of 11
evaluation in both Britain and Switzerland. After a combat Staffeln were equipped with Venorns.
successful conclusion, licence production com- crewecl by the part-time militia pilots. and in the
menced in 1953 of 126 FBls (J-1501 to J-1625) at eaily 1970s, rvhen some of the aircraft were 16
F&W Emmen, Doflug Altenshein and Pilatus AG years old, some 200 were still in service with 14
Stans. It was also decided to build the Ghost 48 squadrons. The final aircraft were withdrarvn in
engine in Switzerland, licence production being the latter half of 1983, a number being sold to
the responsibility of Sulzer Brothers at Winter- enthusiasts for preservation.

71
Venom Night Fighters
The two-seat Venom NF2 was developed by de The prototype was adopted by the RAF as
Havilland from the single-seat Venom, in a similar WP227 when it was delivered to Boscombe Down
way to the early Vampire night fighter from the on 3 April 1951 for evaluation until September.
Vampire fighter-bomber. The Venom Wings, tail During preliminary handling trials the rate of roll
and engine installation were retained, but a new was found to be barely adequate for a night fighter,
fuselage nacelle was designed to accommodate a and would be totally unsuitable for all-weather
pilot and observer side-by-side, and the AI radar operations. Great regret was expressed at the lack
was located in the lengthened nose. The proto- of any intention to fit ejector seats for the crew,
type, G-5-3, was produced as a private venture by although the good all-round view and roominess of
de Havilland, and was flown by John Derry from the cockpit was praised.
Hatfield for the first time on 22 August 1950, The first seven of the 90 production Venom
powered by a 4,8501b thrust Ghost 103 engine. The NF2s were built at Hatfield, commencing with
first public appearance was at the SBAC display at WL804 which first flew on 4 March 1952 but was
Farnborough the following month. destroyed in a crash early in its development
)sswr ,i'tl$+rn

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programme. WL805 and WL807 were used for tried on WL811 at Christchurch. the first NF2 off
control development at Christchurch and WL806 the Chester production line. WL814 was used to
rvas delivered to Boscombe Down on i1 Septem- check the new large chord elevator and dorsal fin
ber 1952. WL808 flew on elevator dither and buffet installation before going to the A&AEE. WL813
trials, before going to Boscombe Down on rvas delivered to de Havilland Propellers on
25 February 1953 and later to CFE at West 5 December 1952, followed by WL820 on 9 June
Raynham. WL809 and WLu12 were evaluated b1, 1953. both aircraft being allocated to Firestreak
NATO, WL809 then going to Boscombe on air-to-air missile development.
5 January 1953 and WLU12 to de Havilland The first delivery to the RAF was WLS17 to the
Propellers on 8 January. WL810 had dorsal fin Handling Squadron at Manby on 6 May 1953 for
fairings and flew on underwing drop fuel tank trials the compilation of pilots' notes, and WL816 and
at Christchurch. The new clear view canopy rvas WL818 were delivered to the CFE, at West
Raynham on 22 May. The first squadron aircraft
Below left: rvere deliverecl from the production line in one side
The Venom NF2 prototype, G-5-3, was developed as a
private venture interim night fighter and the type was of Hawarden airfield to No 48 MU on the other
later adopted by the RAF. side.
The first squadron to equip with Venom NF2s
Below: rvas atColtishall in December 1953. The Squadron
The NF2 used the basic Venom single-seat airframe
made its operational debut in Exercise 'Dividend'
with a two-seat side by side cockpit and Al radar in an
extended nose. No 23 Squadron based at Coltishall in July 1954, but because of a high accident rate
was the only unit to use the early NF2s, rvhen pilots found themselves in difficulties at night
on the approach, it was the only unit to operate the
Bottom:
basic NF2s.
No 253 Squadron was equipped with the improved
Venom NF2AS at Waterbeach from April 1 955 until In an effort to overcome these difficulties. the
August 1957. J. D. R. Rawlings surviving NF2s were fitted with jettisonable clear

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73
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74
view canopies and improvements to the controls withdrawn when No 253 Squadron disbanded at
including modified fins and rudders as developed Waterbeach on 31 August 1957.
during the trials programme. These aircraft were The Venom NF3 incorporated the NF2A
known as NF2As. improvements in a new production aircraft in
The first of these improved aircraft was addition to having power operated ailerons, a
delivered to No 253 Squadron at Waterbeach on wholly inset tailplane and improved AI radar.
16 April 1955. The only other units to operate the There were still no ejector seats fitted. The
NF2As were No 219 Squadron formed at Driffield prototype NF3, WV928. made its first flight on
on 5 September 1955 and No 33 Squadron. which 22 February 1953 and was followed by 128
joined it the following month. No 33 Squadron production aircraft commencing WX875, 19 from
only operated the aircraft for 15 months before Christchurch, 86 from Chester and 23 from
disbanding in January 1957, followed by No 219 I{atfield. WX786 to WX788 were used by
Squadron on 31 July. The last NF2As were Christchurch for development flying, WX788
being allocated to spinning trials and fitted with an
anti-spin parachute. XW786 was delivered to the
Left:
Venom NF2As were used by No 21 9 Squadron at A&AEE during 1954, WX792 arrived at
Driffield from September 1955 until July 1957. Boscombe on 8 January 1955, and WX789 was
Eric Taylor delivered to the de Havilland Engine Co at
Hatfield on 25 August 1954. WX790 was used for
Below left:
The NF3 prototype, VW928, was built at Christchurch.
stalling trials and WX793 for cockpit de-icing
It had a number of improvements, but no eiector development. The first RAF delivery was WX791,
seats. which was flown from Christchurch to No 48 MU
on 29 March 1955.
Below:
The production standard NF3 had a clear view canopy
NF3s entered service with No 141 Squadron at
without eiector sgats, and the tailplane extensions in June 1955, and No 23 Squadron,
Coltishall
removed. commanded by Wg Cdr P. L. Chilton DSO, DFC,
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Top: One export sale of the Venom night fighter,


The NFSs of No 141 Squadron at Goltishall were known as the NF51, was made. On 16 September
replaced by Gloster Javelins. 1952 the Swedish Government announced an
Above: order for 62 NF51s. known at J.33s in Swedish
The Royal Swedish Air Force was the only export user service. The aircraft were built at Chester and by
of the Venom night fighter, known as the J.33 in Fairey at Ringway, the Swedish licence-built
Swedish service. The aircraft were NF Mk 51s, similar Ghost engines being shipped to the production
to the RAF NF2s: NF51 No 33OO3 is shown here with
two trainers ready for delivery from Hatfield. lines. The serial numbers allocated were 33001 to
33062, and deliveries took place from 11 Decem-
ber 1952 until 15 July 1957. The early aircraft were
delivered to NF2 standard, but by the end of
exchanged its NF2s for NF3s three months later. production they were up to NF3 standard; the
Three other Venom night fighter units were earlier aircraft were also modified. The Venoms
formed; No 89 Squadron on 15 December 1955 became the principal night fighters in the
and No 125 Squadron early the following year to Flygvapret drring 1955 and were operated by three
make up the Stradishall wing; and No 151 squadrons based at the night fighter wing at
Squadron at Leuchars in June 1957, which Vasteras. Four of these Venoms were retained
re-equipped when most of the other squadrons had after retirement from combat duty for high speed
disposed of their Venoms. target towing, operated by Swedair from Visdel.
The Venom NF3s at Coltishall were replaced by They had civil registrations, one example being
Javelins from March 1957. The Stradishall wing SE-DCD.
began to run down its Venom operations when Now only one relatively complete Venom night
No 125 Squadron disbanded on 10 May 1957, and fighter remains, NF3 WX853 at the Mosquito
the last of No 89 Squadron's Venoms had departed Aircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall. It served with
by early 1958. No 151 Squadron remained at No 23 Squadron and is currently being restored,
Leuchars until disbanded on 18 September 1961. having been parked in the open for many years.

76
10
Venoms With Flooks

The Sea Venom was an adaptation of the Venom avoid the overcrowding at Hatfield where much
night fighter airframe intended to achieve the best effort was going into the Comet jet airliner.
possible performance out of the design, as an The original prototype Venom NF2, WP227,
interim naval all-weather fighter to fill the gap was evaluated by the Fleet Air Arm, and as a
between the piston-engined Sea Hornet and the result Specification N.107 was issued for a
introduction of the more sophisticated Sea Vixen. ship-based all-weather fighter resulting in the Sea
The design team, led by W. A. Tamblin, was based Venom. The most obvious changes included the
at the old Airspeed factory at Christchurch to provision of upward-folding wings at about half

Above: Below:
The Sea Venom prototype WK376 was fitted with an Sea Venom FAW21 WM574 was fitted with enlarged
arlo$tel hook, but retained the old canopy and fin and blown flaps for trials at RAE Bedford.
rudder shape.

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Above left:
27 March 1953 from Christchurch and was initially
Blown flap Sea Venom WM574 was also used for trials
on HMS Ark Royal in April 1956, with its approach allocated to company trials. It was followed by
speeds much reduced. WM501 and WM502 which were both used for
control assessment at the A&AEE in mid-1954.
Left:
WM503 and WM507 to WM510 were all used for
The prototype Sea Venom FAW21, XA539, made its
maiden flight from the grass at Chr;stchurch on development flying at Christchurch and WM504
21 May 1954. was flown on further deck trials by day and night in
October and November 1953. In the following
Below left:
Sea Venom prototype WK376 made an initial series of
March it was used for rocket assisted take-off
deck trials on HMS Eagle in May 1952. (RATO) installation.
Boscombe Down assessed the FAA's first
Above: two-seat all-weather jet fighter, with a strike
The ultimate Sea Venom development was the FAW22
with a more powerful Ghost engine. Earlier aircraft capability, as having excellent deck take-off and
were retrofitted. This is development aircfaft xG612 landing characteristics, but poor arrester hook
photographed over the Needles. damping.
The production aircraft featured increased fin
area with dorsal fairings, the reshaped rudder as
chord to save stowage space on the carrier, a used on later RAF Venoms, folding wings with
V-frame arrester hook normally stowed above the non-jettisonable tip fuel tanks, boundary layer
jet pipe, and the pick-up hooks for the catapult fences, a camera gun under the port wing root,
strops. Power came from a 4,8501b thrust Ghost symmetrical cast perspex cockpit canopy with
103 engine. underwater jettison capability and a venom FB1
Three prototypes were ordered, the first two, elevator. Boscombe Down insisted on the fitment
WK376 and WK379, being built in the Exper- of a windscreen wiper to keep spray clear, and
imental Department at Hatfield, and the third, warned against unduly high stalling speeds in
WK385, at Christchurch. WK376 first flew from production aircraft. Lateral and directional control
Hatfield on 19 April 1951 and was delivered one characteristics were considered unsuitable for deck
month later to the A&AEE at Boscombe Downl it landings using standard techniques, but landings in
commenced carrier trials on 9 July from HMS conjunction with the new mirror deck landing aid
Illustrious. The second aircraft was delivered to appeared more promising.
Boscombe on 19 September 1952, while the third A total of 50 Sea Venom FAW2Os were
prototype was the first to be fitted with folding produced, finishing with WM567 which first flew
s'ings and made its first flight from Christchurch on on 6 June 1955. The first FAA unit to be equipped
26 July 1952. was 890 Squadron which exchanged its Attackers
Production then commenced at Christchurch for Sea Venoms at Yeovilton on 20 March 1954.
and Chester. The first aircraft, WM500, flew on commanded by Lt-Cdr A. G. Johnson. Four

79
aircraft had been delivered in time for their first
public appearance at Yeovilton Navy Day on
22 May. After becoming fuliy equipped and
operational following training, a four-aircraft
aerobatic team led by the Commanding Officer
was formed during the summer of 1955. The
Squadron then began deck operations while taking
part in Exercise'Beware'.
During this period afloat serious problems arose
which led to the withdrawal of the FAW20 from
front-line operations. The arrester hook had
insufficient strength to cope with some of the high
loads, and was breaking on contact with the wire.
This often resulted in a headlong dive into the sea
off the ship's bows as there was insufficient time to
open up power and go around again. The CO and
his observer are reported to have experienced this
twice, and waited in their sinking aircraft until the
pounding ship's propellers had passed overhead,
before making their escape. At this stage no
ejector seats were fitted.
On returning to Yeovilton 890 Squadron was
renumbered 766 Holding Squadron on 18 October
1955, tasked with providing jet flying practice to
pilots and observers who had completed. or were
about to join, the all-weather course at No 238
OCU at North Luffenham. The unit was equipped
with eight FAW2Os and eight of the newer
FAW21s. A temporary move was made to
Merryfield between 24 November 1956 and
20 January 1957, while the runways at Yeovilton
were being extended. By this time it had been
named the All-Weather Flying School with
responsibility for the all-weather training of pilots
and observers for the Fleet Air Arm. On 22
October 1959 the first Sea Vixen arrived; rvhen
joined by more, the unit was formed into 7668
Flight in May 1960. The Sea Venom was retired
from766 Squadron a year after the first Sea Vixen
arrived.
Despite the problems experienced with the early
Sea Venoms. two more units were equipped with
the aircraft to give them jet operating experience.
No 809 Squadron exchanged its all-weather Sea
Hornets for Sea Venom FAW2Os in May 1954,
followed by 891 Squadron, which received its first
two aircraft. WM552 and WM549. on
12 November.
While training continued a number of much
needed improvements were being made to the Sea
Venom, resulting in the FAW21, the naval
equivalent of the RAF NF3. These modifications
included power-operated ailerons, a long-stroke

Bight:
Accessibility for maintenance was very good on the
Sea Venom, particularly for the Ghost engine and
radar equipment.

80
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Above left:
The Sea Venom was used for the early development of
Development flying at Christchurch used a
the Firestreak air-to-air heat seeking dog-fight missile. number of the early production FAW21s, includ-
XG662 was one of the aircraft involved in trials. ing WM569 ancl WM571 to WM575. WM569 later
went to Boscombe Down. and WM570 was also
Left:
Sea Venoms first entered service with 890 Squadron
delivered to Boscombe on 8 January 1955 for
at Yeovilton, but were soon withdrawn to shore Controller Aircraft (CA) acceptance flying. The
training duties because of problems with the arrester first production aircraft operated from the RAE
hooks. C. E. Brown Bedford in late 1956. but crashed near Yeovilton
Below left: on 3 February 1960 when in service with 738
No 891 Squadron Sea Venoms were used fot Squadron based at Lossiemouth. WM574 was
air-to-ground rocket attacks in Operation 'Damon' in allocated to flap blowing development to reduce
Aden against Yemeni rebels in 1 96O. Roger Young thc approach speecl, later going to RAE, Bedford
Above:
to continue the research. It then operated rvith the
Sea Venoms of 892 Squadron were embarked abroad ETPS before serving with [J31 Squadron at
HMS Eagle, WW187 being an example. FAA Museum Culdrosc and Watton.
The last production FAW21 was XG680, rvhich
rvas later converted to FAW22 standard. It first
undercarriage to absorb more effectively the high fferv on 21 September 1956 and was deliverd tcr
landing loads, provision for RATOG and provi- RNAS Stretton on 4 October. Thirty-nine
sion for the fitment of the Martin-Baker Mk 4 FAW22s were built cornmencing XG681, which
eiector seats for both crewmen. (In addition all the first flerv on 1 October 1956 from Chester and was
aircraft built initially without the seats had them delivered to Strctton on 2 November. The last Sea
htted at RNAS Stretton in 1957.) Porver rvas from Venom FAW22 for the FAA was XG737. rvhich
a 4,9501b thrust Ghost 104 engine. ',vhich rvas latcr *'as delivered from Chester to Stretton on
replaced by the 5,3001b thrust Ghost 105 in the 7 January 1958.
ultimate FAW22 version. Maxaret non-skid brakes By May 1955 both 809 and 891 Squadrorls were
were also htted, and the arrester hook $'as receiving the first of their FAW21s and rvere
strengthened. joined by 892 Squadron on 4 July and 893
The prototype FAW21, XA539, first fleu' on 21 Squadron in January 1956. No 890 Squadron
May 1954, although first production aircraft re-formed with the Sea Venom FAW2ls on
WM568 had flown from Christchurch one month 6 Fcbruary 1956 at Yeovilton under the command
before on 22 Aprll. A total of 167 FAW21s rvere of Lt-Cdr Brewer. but only lasted until 25 Junc
built for the FAA. 99 at Chester and 6E at when it rvas absorbed by 893 Squadron on HMS
Christchurch. Ark Royctl.
The prototype was used for carrier trials On the nights of 3l October and i Novernber
during August and September 1954 and the 1956 came action for the Sca Venom squadrons
aircraft was assessed as suitable for day and night and other allied aircraft. Four squadrons operating
deck operations, if a suitable twin-pointer. open from off-shore carriers made a number of attacks
scale air speed indicator rvas fitted. Four pilots flerv on Egyptian military installations during the rvcek
XA539 during the trials on HMS ,4/Dlori which of the Suez Crisis. By this time 809 Squadron rvas
consisted of 20 catapult take-offs and landings by flying the more powerful FAW22s and shared
day. All landings rvere made using the mirror aicl. operations from HMS Albiort with 892 Squadron.
and an interim 5' angled deck fitted to the ship while No 891 and 893 Squadrons operatecl from
made overshooting safe. HMS Eagle. The only FAA casualty was WW284

83
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Top:
A Sea Venom of 8O9 Squadron appears to require a
of 893 Squadron which suffered flak damage, and
great deal of manpower to push around the carrier made a wheels-up landing on the carrier's deck,
deck. FAAMuseum becoming the first aircraft to be saved by the nylon
barrier-
Above:
No 89O Squadron, with a witches emblem, operated
The last front-line unit to equip with Sea
Sea Venom FAW21s for only a short while in 1956. Venoms was 894 Squadron, which was commis-
Roval Navy sioned with FAW22s at Merryfield on 14 January
1957. The Squadron performed well during
Top right:
Exercise 'Strikeback' off Norway and in the Arctic
No 891 Squadron aboard HMS Ark Royal used the
head of the God 'Kon Tiki' in its squadron badge. Circle during September 1957. Flying from HMS
Royal Navy Eagle the Squadron made 199 out of an overall
total of 860 sorties between 19 and 28 September,
Above right:
thus accounting for nearly 25% of the total sorties
The compact Sea Venom cockpit had the observer's
seat slightly set back on the right-hand 6ide with a without accident, the remainder being flown by the
radar visor in front. other fi ve participating squadrons.
\-{
nil:1"<*q.t*

three specially modified FAW21s in latc 1958 from


Christchurch. flown by four of the Squadron pilots.
In Decembcr the aircraft and crews ernbarked on
HMS Victoriorrs and made the first firings by an
operational squadron, while working up in the
Mediterrancan. The targets were pilotless Fircflies
from Malta and the Sea Venom pilots scored 80%
direct hits, with the remainder near misses. Thc
exercise also was valuable in proving the ship's
capability of handling, supply ancl testing of the
Firestreak missiles in preparation for their iull time
introduction on the Sea Vixen aircraft.
During the 1950s there had been a growing neccl
to use aircraft in the electronic warfare rolc, early
work being undertaken by 751 Squadron at
Watton from 1950 as a Naval Development Unit.
On 1 May l95ll, 831 Squadron was commissioned
Action was also seen by 891 Squadron in 1960 at Culdrose with Sea Venom FAW21s to take over
during Operation 'Damen' in Aden. Sea Venoms the task. Initially the Sea Venoms shared
rvere used in rocket attacks against the Yemeni operations with Avengers, but these were replaced
rebels hidden in the hills. All crews who completcd by Gannets in early i959, and the later Sea Venom
three or more sorties were awarded the campaign FAW22s began replacing the earlier aircraft in
medal. April 1960. The Squadron embarked on HMS En-
Although the Sea Venom was not designed to g1e to visit Cyprus and Malta, and took part in
carry guided weapons, it proved ideal for Exercise 'Barefoot' in November 1959 frorn
development trials of Biue Jay, later to be knorvn HMS Victoriorrs. No 831 Squadron then returned
as Firestreak. Three aircraft were allocated to this to Britain and was based at Watten from the
programme XG607, XG612 (which was also middle of 1963. The unit was linally disbanded
-
used for FAW22 development) and XG662. No there on 16 May 1966, when its work was taken
700 Squadron formed at Ford in 1957 and later over by the combined RAF/RN No 360 Squadron
Yeovilton to carry out service trials with the nerv flying specially modified Canberras.
air-to-air weapon, and 893 Squadron received the During the peak of the Sea Venom service, 766
Above left:
The steam catapult on Hri/iS Ark Boya, ready to launch
been replaced with the re-introduction of Sea
Sea Venom FAW2l XG625 of 893 Squadron. Hawks with 738 Squadron.
FAA Museum The only other unit to use the Sea Venom was
750 Squadron which first received the aircraft at
Left: Hal Far in Malta in July 1960. The main duties of
Electronica countermeasures operations were carried the Squadron were to teach student observers the
out with Sea Vonoms of 831 Squadron based at
Guldrose. Lewis G. Pain operation of the radar and navigation of the
aircraft in preparation for the Sea Venom
Below left: squadrons, and later for the Sea Vixen. The flying
lnvasion-striped FAW21 UUW2a4 of 893 Squadron rvas almost entirely navigational exercises,
sustained flak damage in the Suez operations and was roughly one-third at high altitude and the rest at
forced to make a wheels-up landing on Eaglle. low level. The original four FAW21s were
FAA Museum
replaced with FAW22s and in July 1965 the
Above: Squadron moved to Lossiemouth, increasing its
SeaVenoms of 893 Squadron operated from complement to five Sea Venoms, sharing the flying
HMS Eagre in the Suez crisis in November 1956. with a number of specially-equipped Sea Princes.
FAA Museum
With the reduction in the fixed-wing element of the
Fleet Air Arm, the need to train naval observers
Squadron at Yeovilton was training aircrews in the was no longer a requirement. No 750 Squadron
all-weather fighter and strike syllabus, covering 70 was, therefore, disbanded on 24 March 1970 and
hours flying, of which one-third was at night. the Sea Venoms were retired to RNAY
Weapons training formed an integral part of the Sydenham.
course and included target illumination, intercep- The retirement of the front-line Sea Venoms
tion and navigation exercises at high, medium and began when 892 Squadron commissioned with the
iow altitudes, covering both ground attack and Sea Vixen at Yeovilton on 2 July 1959 after
air-to-air duties. The 10 FAW21s with 766 working up as 700Y Flight. The last carrier-based
Squadron flew an average of 45 hours per month. unit, 894 Squadron, returned from the Far East
This work was shared at the busiest time by 738 aboard HMS Albion on 17 December 1960 and
Squadron at Lossiemouth which started adding decommissioned. No 891 Squadron disbanded on
Sea Venoms to its Sea Hawk complement in 28 July 1961 after flying its last aircraft, XG680 and
January 1958. The unit was responsible for the XG701, to Abbotsinch two days before.
training of operational flying school students Sea Venoms were also operated by the civilian
before they joined 766 Squadron. By the middle of pilots of Airwork to provide realistic targets for the
1959 738 Squadron had a dozen Sea Venoms, and students of the Air Directors School. Initial
the number of Sea Hawks was being reduced. In operations were with FAW2Os from St Davids, a
early 1960 the highest aircrew numbers had satellite to RNAS Brawdy, from 1955. The first
passed, and the students reported direct to FAW21 arrived in February 1957 and a move was
766 Squadron for their operational flying training. made to Brawdy in October 1958. The aircraft
By the middle of the year all the Sea Venoms had were used for fleet requirements on exercises in air

87
Above: Mk 53s, which operated from HMAS Melboume until
FAW22l of which XG697 was an example, were early197O. BAN
operated by Aimork at Yeovilton for the Air Director
School. Philip Birtles Bottom:
The initial French version of th6 Sea Venom was the
Aquilon 2O, similar to tho FAW2O. Built by SNCASE it
Below: first flew from Marignane on 31 October 1952.
The Royal Australian Navy ordered 39 Sea Venom Aerospatiale

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88
defence, but their primary role was to fly training 1956 for Sydney as the most modern aircraft
missions under the control of student air directors. carrier in her class in the world and carried the Sea
who were being trained to control aircraft by radar Venoms of No 808 Squadron. rvhich had embarked
while on board ship. The unit moved to Yeovilton on 29 February. The ship was rather crowded, irs
in January 1961 and the aircraft was replaced rvith also on board were the Gannets of Nos 816 and 817
FAW22s. It was this Airwork unit which rvas the Squadrons.
last to operate the Sea Venom. making the final The Sea Venoms served with No 808 Squadron
official flight in XG683 from Yeovilton to Culdrose until I December 1958, when No 805 Squadron
on 6 October 1970. the aircraft then beins assumed the all-weather fighter role from 1ti Au-
allocated to fire practice. gust 1958 until 30 June 1963. There rvas then a lull
As mentioned earlier, Sea Venom WM574 ir'as for just over a year until No 816 Squadron
used for blown flap research. The aircraft *'as commissioned on 21 July 1.964 and continued to
modified at Christchurch in 1955 to investigate the operate the Sea Venoms until final retirement on
high lift coefficients when fitted with blo*,n inncr August 1967.
25
flaps of larger chord and span than the standard Shore support for the RAN was provided by
production aircraft. The Ghost engine \\'as HMAS Albatros,s at Nowra. New South Wales.
specially adapted to allow high velocity'jets of air iind rvhen the squadrons were not at sea, they rvere
to flow out of a slot along the top of the flaps. based at this airfield. Also resident at Nowra was
Trials were held initially at RAE Bedford. using No 724 Squadron, which was formed on I June
the facilities for dummy deck landing. overshoots 1955. as a miscellaneous air squadron. Although it
and catapult take-offs, before joining the Sea \\/as never fully equipped with Sea Venoms, a
Vixen on its carrier trials on I IMS Arft Ro_r'a/. number were uscd for training on shore based duty
The experimental Sea Venom. rvith its stalling only.
speed reduced by around 15kt from the standard Many of the surviving Sea Venoms were
aircraft, aroused considerable interest during the disposed of through the Australian Department of
trials, proving that it had definite advantases. Supply on 25 July 1966, but at least six were
Blown flaps were installed in the Blackburn NA39. rctained in service with No 724 Squadron as late as
later to become the Buccaneer. making the Januarv 1970 when they were linally withdrawn
approach of this large aircraft some\\'hat more from use.
docile. Sca Venom WM574 returned to Bedford As rvith the Vampire fighter-bombers, the
after the deck trials until joining the ETPS in 19,;8. French Government adopted the Sea Venom and
A significant export order for the Sea \/u-nom modified the typc for its needs as the Aquilon.
came from the Royal Australian Nar'1 (RAN) Licence production commenced with Sud Aviation
which found the aircraft suited its requirenrents at Marignane near Marseilles with four prototypes
well. London Order 6970 of 27 Februarr i956 to the Sea Venom FAW20 standard, followed by a
covered the purchase of 39 FAW53s for service on fifth improved single prototype, known as the
HMAS Melbourne. The FAW53 rvas dereloped at Aquilon 201. This was used as the prototype for
Christchurch from the FAW21. *'ith special the Aquilon 202, changes including the installation
equiprnent required by the RAN. and it became of ejector seats, a rearward sliding canopy and a
the first all-weather jet fighter to serve iiith a strengthened landing gear. A further development
Commonwealth navy. \\'as the Aquilon 203 adapted to become a singlc
The first FAW53. W2893. rvas delivered to seat all-weather iighter, fitted with the American
Boscombe Down on 1 March 1955 and *'as joined APQ 94 radar and a new rearward sliding canopy.
by WZ941 on 2 November. WZil9-l. W289,; and The licence production consisted of 25 Aquilon
W2944 were used for a short while at Christchurch 201s, generally similar to the Sea Venom FAW20,
for development flying. All 39 aircraft rvere built at 25 Aquilon 202s and 40 Aquilon 203s. A small
Christchurch, comprising W2893 to W2911 and number of the Aquilon 201 were later modified to
W2927 to vlz946, the final aircraft being become two-seat all-weather fighter trainers as the
delivered on 18 January 1956 to RNAS Stretton. Aquilon 204.
like the remainder, before embarking on IJNIAS The first Aquilon made its maiden flight from
Melbourne for their journey to Australia. Marignane on 3l October 1952 and production
The first RAN squadron to form was No 80[J at aircraft equipped three flottiles with the French
Culdrose on 23 August 1955, initially using Navy. The flrst unit was 16F which received the
FAW2Os on loan from the FAA to allorv training nerv aircraft at Hydres Naval Air Base in early
to commence. HMAS Melbourne was named at 1955. While operating from this base. detachments
Barrow-in-Furness on 28 October, having been were sent to Algiers for air policing and the
converted from HMS Majestic, becoming the support of ground forces in the Algerian
flagship of the Australian Fleet. campaign. Flotille 16F then embarked on the
HMAS Melbourne left Portsmouth in March aircraft carrier Clemenceau from 1960 until 1962'

89
and was finally disbanded in 1963. The second is being restored by the Mus6e de l'Air at Le
unit, Flotille 11F, formed at Hydres in mid-1955, Bourget.
soon moving to Bizerta in Tunisia. 11F also was
active in the Algerian operations and embarked on
Below:
Clemenceau until the Aquilons were replaced by Aquilon 2O1 No O5, F-WGVT was built in France as the
Etendards in 1962. The only other unit was plototypo of the French equivalent of the Sea Venom
Escadrille 595, which was formed as an all-weather FAW21.
fighter training school with Aquilon 203s and 204s
Bottom:
from 1958 until 1963. A few Aquilons continued to TheAquilon 2O3 was a single-seat development by
fly during 1965 until the order grounding the SNGASE, and is seen aboard the Fronch carriel
aircraft was received. One is known to survive and Cl6menceau, E, C. Armdes

90
n
The DFI-110

With the promise indicated by the early navalised feature was the pilot's cockpit offset to port, while
Vampires in operation with the Fleet Air Arm. it the observer was buried in the fuselage to
was decided to investigate an advanced all-rveather starboard under a flush-fitting hatch. Small
jet fighter with the security of two engines. Initial windows were provided in the cockpit side and
discussions commenced between de Havilland and roof, but the observer was in
semi-darkness
the Admiralty in \946 resulting in proposals for a because of the dimness of the signals on early AI
project allocated the type number DH.110. The radars.
customary twin boom layout was retained to allorv In January 1947 Naval Specification No 40/46
easier carrier stowage and keeping the engines as and RAF Specification F.44146 were issued to
close together as possible to avoid asymmetric cover basically similar requirements for a night
controls problems in the event of an engine failure.
Wings were swept back at an angle of 40". as a
result of research from the DH.108 development Below:
programme, and provision was made for them to The prototype DH.1 1 O, WG236, made its first flight
from Hatfield in the hands of John Cunningham on
fold to allow lowering in the deck lifts and to 26 September 1 951. lt crashed at Farnborough on
reduce stowage space. Proposed armament rvas 6 September 1 952, killing the tt vo crew and over 2O
four of the then new 30mm cannon. A unique spectators.

91.
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92
Above left: 25.000ft rvith 15 minutes of combat and the
The second prototype DH.1 1 O, WG24O. was painted remainder cruising on patrol. Provision was to be
overall gloss black and was capable of exceeding the made for the carriage of drop tanks to increase the
speedof sound. C. E. Brown
range.
Left: Very rapid take-off was called for in at most 10
Once adopted by the FAA, DH.1 1 O prototype WG24O scconds, but preferably in live, without external
was painted in navy colours. C. E. Brown assistance such as catapults or RATOG. Take-off
Above: distance was to be in 1,500yd, with landing in
WG24O made a series of touch-and-go landings on 1.200yd over an inraginery 50ft barrier. Airbrakes
HMS Albion in the autumn of 1954. No arrester hook \\'ere to be fitted and be able to operate in four
or folding wings were fitted, precluding a landing. seconds. While flying at top speed at sea level, the
FAA Museum
airfrarne had to be strong enough to withstand up
to .lg loads while manoeuvring in evasive or
attacking action. The pressure cabin was to be able
fighter. De Havilland offered the DH. 1i0 for both to reproduce the altitude pressure of 25,000ft at
tasks in navalised and land-based vcrsions the ceiling 45,000f1.
respectively. Greater interest was sho\\'ll b1' the The rvorkload was such that two crewmen rvould
RAF, which updated the specification to F.l/lS in be carried, a pilot and radar observer, and
February 1948. In April 1949 the llinistrl of navigation equipment and aids were to inclucle
Supply confirmed the interest by ordering from de multi-channel VHF. AI, Rebecca, IFF and
Havilland seven land-based night fighters and t\\'o possibly a blind-landing capability. Armament was
long-range fighter prototypes for the RAF. to comprise four forward-firing 30mm cannon with
together with two of each of the night fighter and sufficient ammunition for 15 seconds firing per
strike lighter prototypes for the Fteet Air Arm. to sun. aimed through the gyro gunsight and with
specification Nl4/49. Meanwhile as a back up for radar presentation.
the RAF, four prototypes of the competing The aircraft was to be capable of economic
delta-winged Gloster, GA.5. were also ordered. production of at least 150 at a maximum rate of 10
As an example of the advanced nature of the per month. The cockpit interiors were to be matt
programme at that time, Specification F.-l-1/46 black with all emergency controls in red, and the
issued on 24 January 1947 called for a prototvpe cabin was either to be jettisonable in an
night fighter for the RAF, which rvould be emergcncy, or the crew were to be supplied rvith
available rapidly and capable of intercepting ejector seats. Self-sealing tanks were not manda-
hostile aircraft at up to 40,000ft. Maximum speed tory, but if hit they should retain at least 50% of
was to be at least 525kt at 25,000f1; it had to be the fuel after one strike. Full night flying
capable of climbing to its service ceiling of 45.000f1 equipment was required and the crew were
in no more than 10 minutes from pressing the provided with oxygen for 2.5 hours at 25.(X)00ft.
starter button at the holding point close to the end and two K-type dinghies together with their
of the runway; and it was to have a minimum parachutes. Simple and rapid servicing was
endurance of two hours including a climb to essential for a quick turn-round between sorties.

93
In November 1949, for financial and political aircraft was to bear only a superficial resemblance
reasons, the Royal Navy selected the less complex to the original design with power coming from
and more readily available Sea Venom to replace higher thrust Avon engines, increased fuel
its Sea Hornets, while the RAF order was reduced capacity and the full range of naval modifications.
to two prototypes each of the DH.110 and GA.5. The four cannon were retained as secondary
This seriously delayed the development of both armament, but primary weapons were to be the
types and demanded the introduction of interim new Blue Jay later to become Firestreak
types based on current aircraft to fill the resulting infra-red homing - air-to-air missiles. For the first
-
gap. time de Havilland was becoming involved in the
The two prototype DH.110s were built in the complexities of an overali weapon system, rather
Experimental Department at Hatfield, power than an aircraft with stores attached.
coming from a pair of 7,5001b thrust Rolls-Royce The surviving second prototype, WG240, was
Avon RA.7 engines, with the air intakes in the delivered to Boscombe Down in September 1954
wing root, and the exhaust between the booms and in preparation for initial deck trials. These were
below the high mounted tailplane. The first of completed as a series of touch-and-go landings, as
these large and impressive aircraft, WG236, made no arrester hook was fitted, on HMS Albion on
its 46-minute maiden flight in the hands of John 23 September, flown by Lt-Cdr J. Elliott. For these
Cunningham on 26 September 1951, just too late trials a strengthened undercarriage was fitted and
for that year's SBAC display at Farnborough. later the aircraft was fitted with four missile launch
During its extensive schedule it exceeded the pylons below the inboard wing.
speed of sound in a shallow dive on 9 April 1952, Development continued with the order in
and was joined by the black painted second February 1954 for a semi-navalised DH.110
prototype WG240 when it flew on 25 July 1952. prototype Mk 20X, XF828. It was built at the old
Just over a month later the first prototype made airspeed factory at Christchurch, to where all
its public debut at the Farnborough air show, only design activity, led by Mr W. A. Tarnblin, had
to break up when flying fast and low towards the been transferred. The more powerful Rolls-Royce
crowd on 6 September. John Derry, the pilot, and Avon 208 engines developing 11,2301b of thrust
his observer, Tony Richards, were both killed each were fitted, as well as arrester gear and a long
when the main portion of the airframe hit the stroke undercarriage. However, radar was not
ground, while one of the engines separated and fell installed and the wings did not fold. First flight was
in the crowd viewing from the hill, killing 29 from Christchurch to Hurn on 20 June 1955,
spectators and injuring many others. The accident piloted by Jock Elliott, who by this time was in
investigation found that the disintegration of charge of the DH110 flight development pro-
WG236 was caused by torsional failure of the wing gramme. The first deck landings were carried out
during a combination of high acceleration and rate on board HMS Ark Royal on 5 April 1956 by Cdr
of roll, the leading edge wing skins peeling back. S. G. Orr, the programme including unassisted
The SBAC amended the display rules at Farn- and steam catapult take-offs and arrested landings
borough by banning all flying towards the public under all operating conditions.
enclosures. a commonsense rule which is now in On completion of the flight test programme
operation al all air shows. XF828 was delivered to the RAE Bedford before
The grounded second prototype was modified by allocation to ground towing training at the School
reinforcing the structure with skin doubler plates of Aircraft Flandling at Culdrose on 28 November
and the tail outline was revised. Test flying 1960, when its outer wings were cut off. It was
recommenced in the spring of 1953, when it finally relegated in a battered state to fire practice
became the first British aircraft with an all-moving in June 1970 and was soon destroyed.
tail-plane.
With the loss of RAF interest in the DH.1l0.
and despite development problems and accidents, Top right:
WG24O was later modified to represent as close as
the Gloster GA.5 was ordered into super-priority possible the Sea Vixen production shape, including a
production as a land based all-weather fighter, pointed radome and cut-back fin trailing edge.
leaving the future of the DH.110 rather bleak.
However, the FAA still had a requirement for a Centre right:
The third prototype DH.11O, XF828, was partially
high performance all-weather fighter, and in 1952 a navalised with an arrester hook. but remained without
requirement was published for a Sea Venom folding wings. lt carried the pitot tube for test
replacement to be capable of all-weather fighting puiposes.
and strike duties. A swept-wing Venom, known as
Below right:
the DH.l16, was considered, but shelved in favour XF828 was used for deck trials on HMS Ark Foyal in
of updating the DI{.110 and continuing its April 1956 when a series of catapult launches were
development under a Naval contract. The new made. Note the strop dropping away.

94
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L2
The Sea Vixen

The long-awaited initial production order for the 1962. ln 1961 it was used for spinning trials, for
DH.110 was placed in January 1955, covering a which it was fitted with an anti-spin parachute, and
total of 78 aircraft including a batch of 21 finished up at the RAE Bedford with the Naval
pre-production aircraft to be used in the develop- Flight on arrester hook bounce trials in March
ment of all aspects of this complicated weapons 1963. XJ474 was 'put out to grass', in the early
system. By this means production would be rapidly 1970s and was scrapped by 1976.
established and the introduction into serv:ce would The second production aircraft, XJ475, first flew
be as soon as possible. on 28 June 1957 and was the engineering
The airframe was about 80% redesigned, to development aircraft used for systems testing at
specification N.139P, and power was from a pair of Hatfield. It was also used for performance
Avon 20u engines developing 10.0001b thrust each. measurements frotn mid-1958 to late 1959. From
Major changes to the aircraft inciuded August 1962 until 1964 this aircraft was used on
hydraulically-operated folding wings, a new Red Top missile development as a non-destructive
cockpit canopy for the pilot, catapult pick-up target for XN685. The new clear-view canopy
points, a steerable nosewheel and the latest AI installation was carried out in 1964 followed by
radar housed under a pointed radome. A large generator trials the next year. The aircraft was
ventral airbrake was fitted and improvements to passed to Hawker Siddeley Dynamics in August
the airframe included increased tail-boom 1965 and remained in the company's charge until
clearance and cut-backs on the fin trailing edge to departure to Boscombe Down on 19 October 1968.
reduce the length. The radome could be folded It was scrapped at Boscombe by March 1971.
sideways to further reduce length and allow XJ476 was originally allocated to radar and
servicing. The Avon engines were fitted from the sighting trials at the A&AEE. It
was then painted
top of the fuselage, rather than below as in the white overall for guided weapons trials on the
prototypes. Woomera ranges in Australia and shipped out with
The DH.110 was the first British jet fighter not XJ4il1 on 13 March 1960. Both aircraft returned to
to be armed with guns, as provision for cannons Hatfield in March 1963, XJ476 continuing on
was deleted and the Firestreak became the prime guided weapons trials mainly as a radar target for
armament, four being carried on underrving Red Top development. It replaced XJ47-5 at the
pylons. In addition, 28 2in rocket projectiles rvere A&AEE from 1970 until at least 1973.
stowed in a retractable ventral pack just forward XJ477 was used for armament trials at the
and to either side of the nosewheel. Additional A&AEE in early 1960, in particular rocket
war loads such as bombs, rocket packs or fuel
tanks could be carried on underwing pylons. Bight, top to bottom:
On 5 March 1957 the DH.1l0 was officially The Sea Vixen was fittsd with a large under-fuselage
air-brake. FAW1 XJ474 was the first production
designated Sea Vixen FAW Mk 20, later amended aircraft.
to Sea Vixen FAW Mk 1. The first production
aircraft, XJ474, was rolled out in February 1957 at
Christchurch (where the production line was Sea Vixen FAW1 XJ476 was painted white for
weapons trials at Woomera in Australia. Philip Birtles
established) and made its maiden flight on
20 March to the flight test department at nearby
Hurn, where the airiield facilities were more suited Sea Vixen FAW1 XJ481 also was used for Firestreak
to high performance aircraft. trials at Woomera and later missile develoPment at
Hatfield. lt is now preserved by the FAA Museum at
The first production aircraft was allocated to Yeovilton. PhilipBirtles
handling trials at Boscombe Down, inluding flutter
checks, and during 1957 undertook deck accept- After trials with the RN XJ474 was used by
ance trials including steam-catapult launches, on C Squadron. A&AEE for further deck trials on
HMS .4rk Royal, with more launches following in H|MS Ark Royal.

96
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:,f{ NAVi

-*--".-'-.*
sighting, having undertaken carrier trials on HMS aircraft left for Boscombe Down in November
Centaur the previous year. Following its trials 1968 and remained there until retired to the Fleet
programme the aircraft joined 766 Squadron at Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton in 1974. It is
Yeovilton on 8 August 1962 until retired to currently stored in the open near the Museum
Arbroath in 1967 as instructional airframe A2601. buildings.
XJ478 was used for Firestreak development before Cold weather trials were undertaken by XJ482
being delivered to 766 Squadron at Yeovilton in in the climatic chamber at Weybridge in July 1959.
1962, where it crashed during mirror deck landing It became the first aircraft with 700Y Flight for
'service
training on 8 March 1965, killing both crew when trials when it was delivered to Yeovilton on
control was lost on a down-wind turn. XJ479 was 3 November 1958. It became a 766 Squadron
sent to Libya on tropical trials, but crashed there aircraft from 1962, being used as one of the mounts
on 28 October 1958 after bird ingestion into the for 'Fred's Five', and was retired to Lee-on-Solent
engines. It was replaced by XJ485 in August 1959. in 1969. Following a move to Flight Refuelling at
XJ480 was used to check radio and navigation Tarrant Rushton in1972, the aircraft was acquired
equipment at RAE Bedford in 1959 and was also
used for engine development. It served with 899
and finally 766 Squadron, becoming an aerobatic
mount in the 'Fred's Five' team from 1962 until Below:
1966. Before going to Woomera XJ481 undertook FAW1 XJ474 was operated by the RN Test Squadron
carrier trials on HMS Centaur in 1959, as well as for carrier trials.
FAA handling trials. On return from Australia it Below right:
was flown on missile development trials during Sea Vixens were capable of 'buddy' flight refuelling
1963, progressing to TV trials during the following using an underwing pod. These are two FAW2s of
two years, all the time being based at Hatfield. For 899 Squadron. Boyal Navy
these latter trials the usual radome was replaced by
Bottom right:
a nose cone fitted with an optically flat glass panel The FAW1 could carry a Martin Bullpup as an
at the forward end, protecting the TV camera. The underwing store.

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98
for preservation by the Norfolk Aircraft Museum weapons development for many years, including
in 1980. XJ483 took part in the final deck trials on engine performance in mid-1961, LOX (liquid
HMS Victorioas, flew on cabin air conditioning oxygen) trials in March 1962, and RRE Pershore
trials and joined 700Y Flight at Yeovilton. It trials with the radar until August 1962, when it was
finally entered FAA service with 890 Squadron on delivered to Hatfield for Red Top computer trials
3 August 1962. Additional aircraft used by 700Y starting in November t963. A new RT system was
Flight for service trials were XJ484, XJ486, XJ4U7 tested in 1.964 and then a busy programme of PR,
and XJ489. Bullpup and LABS (low altitude bombing system)
As already mentioned, XJ485 flew on tropical development started in January 1965, first at
trials, replacing XJ479, and on return was Bedford and then Boscombe. It joined C Squa-
allocated to RAE Bedford. It later served rvith dron at the A&AEE, on 18 October 1967 and was
766 Squadron, to whom it was delivered on painted black overall in 1958. It was finaily
30 June 1960, but was allocated to Red Top relegated to fire practice in 1973 at Boscombe.
weapons trials at Hatfield in 1962. It was back at XJ492 served briefly at Boscombe Down before
Bedford in the early 1970s. Following trials u'ith delivery to 892 Squadron. XJ494, the last pre-
700Y Flight, both XJ486 and XJ487 joined production aircraft, was used by the A&AEE for
892 Squadron at Yeovilton and aboard HMS Arft LABS bombing technique development from
Royal, ending up as instructional airframes at April 1959 until \962. It later served with
Lee-on-Solent and Arbroath respectively. 899 Squadron after conversion to Mk 2 before
Flight refuelling trials were flown by XJ4tl8 usine flying from Hatfield in early 1,97I on Martel trials,
the 'buddy' technique of carrying its orvn flight continuing these at Boscombe.
refuelling pod under the wing instead of the The 'buddy' refuelling trials with XJ488 were
normal fuel tank, so that the hose could be reeled shared with XJ516. which also flew on deck trials
out to top up another Sea Vixen or anv other aboard HMS Victorioas in October 1.959. XJ526
combat aircraft fitted with the probe. Mock-up rvas used on bombing and sighting trials at
boom fairings were fitted for Mk 2 aerodynamic Boscombe and Bedford before entering squadron
tests. This aircraft was used for systems and service, and XJ560 was used for Del Mar target tug

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The Sea Vixen FAW2 prototype was XN684 converted This Sea Vixen FAW1 of 893 Squadron was forced to
from a Mk 1 with pinion fuel tanks and armed with use the nylon crash barrier onHMS Ark Royalwhen its
Red Top air-to-air missiles. starboard undercarriage failed to lock down.
FAA Museum
Left:
No 892 Squadron was the first to be commissioned Below:
with Sea Vixens, at Yeovilton on 2 July 1959. No 89O Squadron was the headquarters squadron
based at Yeovilton and responsibl6 for tho
Below left: investigation of operational techniques- Philip Birtles
No 892 Squadron embarked on HMS Hermes under the
command of Cdr J. Petrie. FAA Museum Bottom:
FAWl XN654 of 893 Squadron aboard
HMS Yictorious. FAA Museum
development at Hatfield and Boscombe from 1962 commissioned HMS Hermes in July 1960, 890
until 1964. XJ564 also went on tropical trials and Squadron joined HMS Ark Royal, aboard which
served with C Squadron at Boscombe from 1962 ali sea-going operations were conducted by this
on sighting trials and engine development until unit.
conversion to Mk 2 standard in 1964. XJ582 was No 893 Squadron was commissioned on 9 Sep-
allocated to Bullpup missile development at tember 1960 and embarked on HMS Ark Royal for
Hatfield, together with photo reconnaisance pod participation in NATO exercises in the Norwegian
development, followed by bombing trials at Sea and 10 days of cold weather operational trials
Boscombe in 1963. Further photo reconnaissance in the Davis Strait. When moved to HMS Centaur,
pod trials were carried out with XN700 at the Squadron was active in the Kuwait crisis.
Boscombe in 1963. Formed as the Sea Vixen Mk 1 Headquarters
Two aircraft. XN684 and XN685, were taken Squadron, 899 was commissioned at Yeovilton on
from the Christchurch production lines and 1 February 1961 to evaluate new operational ideas
converted to the Mk 2 prototypes at Hatfield, but and maintain the standards of the service units.
more of that version shortly. Production of the Sea With the Sea Vixen Mk 1s in production and
Vixen at Christchurch ceased with the 11Sth entering service, de Havillands was investigating a
aircraft, XN710, which first flew on 10 August range o1 improvements and developments of the
1962, although the last aircraft to leave the airfield basic aircraft to increase the range and perfor-
was XN705, which was delivered on 31 October mance in general. To achieve the increase in
the same year. The production was then trans- endurance the Avon engines were to be replaced
ferred to Chester where a single Mk 1 (XP918) was by 11,3801b thrust Rolls-Royce Spey en-gines.
produced before changing to the Mk 2s, of which Additional fuel could be carried in a pair of fixed
29 were built; the last one, XS590, made its first 250gal wing tip fuel tanks, plus a 850gal fuel ta;rk
flight on 3 February 1966. behind the cockpit in a lengthened fuselage. To
Following the intensive service trials in which improve performance, both at the top end of the
700Y Flight led by Cdr M. H. J. Petrie RN used a scale and on the approach to carrier decks, reheats
total of eight Sea Vixen Mk ls, the unit was were considered for the engines and flap blowing'
re-formed and commissioned on 2 July 1959 as An even more advanced proposeal was for a
892 Squadron. This initial unit embarked on HMS thin-wing supersonic aircraft with a maximum
Ark Royal on 3 March 1960 for sea trials and speed of Mach 1.4 to Specification F'153D, also
transferred to HMS Victorious later in the year. A being competed for by the thin-wing Gloster
move was then made to HMS Hernres, before the Javelin. Although the Javelin was successful
Squadron joined HMS Centaur in December 1963 initially, the complete programme was cancelled.
for operations in Indonesia, Radfan and Dar-es- In the early 1960s a more conservative
Salaam. improvement programme was initiated involving
In November 1959 operational and conversion
training became the responsibility of 766 Squadron Below:
at Yeovilton, which received its full quota of Sea Firestreak-atmed FAWIs served with 899 Squadron at
Yeovilton, XN696 being an example. Royal Navy
Vixen Mk 1s by September 1980. It was instructors
from this squadron who formed the aerobatic team Top right:
Sea Vixen FAWI s of 892 Squadron flew f rom
'Fred's Five', which performed for a number of HMS Centaur until returning to Yeovilton to operate
airshow seasons. alongsideT66Squadron. Royal Navy
The formation of operational squadrons con- Below right:
tinued when 890 Squadron, commanded by Lt-Cdr Sea Vixln FAW2s of 892 Squadron operated from
W. H. Hart. commissioned at Yeovilton on HMS Hermes, and Yeovilton wh6re the aerobatic team
1 February 1960. After serving briefly on the newly 'Simon's Circus'was formed. FAA Museum
reN

the installation of additional pinion fuel tanks *hile serving with 899 Squadron onHMS Eagle,
ahead of the tail booms, and the missile arrnamenl before returning to Yeovilton on 23 Jantary 1972
changed to the improved Red Top air-to'air to decommission. The aircraft joined a number of
missile. Any additional equipment sas instailed in oihers on the Sydenham scrap heap in February
the enlarged boom fairings behind the tuel :anks- 1973.
'The new development u'as desisnated the Sea The first production Sea Vixen Mk 2, XP919,
Vixen FAW Mk 2 and. as alreadr. noted- \\6>'1 made its maiden flight from Chester on 8 March
and XN685 were the initial conveniors a! 1963. and in addition to the new build aircraft, the
Hatfield. The first aircraft rvas florrn a: a \l\ I br majority of surviving Mk 1s were converted to
Chris Capper on 1 June 1962. follo*ed br \\655 \lk 2 standard at Chester and Sydenham. XP919
on 17 August. Both aircraft sere allocaled ltr \\'ent to Bedford for deck landing trials, flew with
development, in particular Red Top irials al the full load of four Red Tops and was used for CA
Hatfield and Boscombe Do*'n *'irh \o ll Joini release at Boscombe in late 1963. It flew.on
Service Triais Unit (13 JSTU). uhere :her sere performance trials at Hatfield tn 1964 and
delivered in July and April 1961 respectireil- The Boscombe from March 1965, including auto
JSTU trials were completed in Februan i-\rtrt' and throttle development, and it made the first firing of
both aircraft were delivered to Chester for iuil the tull load of 144 unguided rockets on 6 August
conversion to Mk 2 service standard beiore;oiniag 19fl. It went to Bedford again in July 1965 for use
893 Squadron on HMS Hennes in 19c'S- \\6.sJ on LABS/Bullpup assessment and returned to
eventually made the last Sea Viren deck landine Boscombe on 23 March 1966. With its trials flying
Top:
A Bullpup-.armed FAW2 of 899 Squadron on tha steam
crtapuh aboard HMS Eagle. FAA Museum

For training purposes small practice bombs were


carried by 766 Squadron Sea Vixen FAW2s on the
undeming pylons. Here XN687 is being prepared for a
practice bombing sortie. Philip Birlles

-a:s oicture:
No 8!)9 Squadron operated the FAllll2 from
HllS Eagle. FAA Museum

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completed XP919 served with 766 Squadron from of the few conversions to a U3 drone at Llanbedr
1968 until transfer to 890 Squadron in 1971, both at in 197-5.
Yeovilton. It was retired to Abingdon on 2 August Service deliveries commenced with XP921 to the
1971 for service at Halton as ground instruction Aircraft Handling Unit at Brawdy on 13 August
airframe 8163M, but was acquired for preservation 1963, 899 Squadron being the first to equip with
on 23 June 1.975 by Leisure Sport at Chertsey. the FAW2s, replacing its Mk 1s. XJ580 returned to
which disposed of the aircraft to the Norwich Air Chester to become the first production Mk 2
Museum on 25 August 19t31. conversion of a total of 67 by June 1968.
Sea Vixen Mk 2 XP920 was used for armament No 899 Squadron continued to be the Yeovilton-
service trials, including Lepus flares, in 1963. It based headquarters squadron. introducing the new
was delivered to Boscombe on 24 January 1964 for version of the Sea Vixen into service. In December
bombing trials, operating from HMS l1err7les from of 1964 the Squadron embarked on HMS Eagle
February to April. Catapult trials were undertaken and participated in the Rhodesian blockade until
at Bedford in September 1964, the aircraft returning to Yeovilton in August 1966. To
returning to Hatfield before going to Boscombe continue the training task, 766 Squadron received
again on 15 October 1965 where it was used for its first Mk 2, XS582, on 7 July 1965, while 893
frangible hatch development in f969, being Squadron began re-equipment on 4 November
recognisable by a bulged observet's entry hatch 1965. No 890 Squadron disbanded in 1966, but
allowing ejection straight through' The aircraft recommissioned in September 1967 as the new
served with 892 Squadron, but was eventually one headquarters squadron, initially using four Sea

106
Above left: three days previously. No 899 Squadron remained
ln later service the FAW2S were frtted with a frangible on HMS Eagle until returning to Yeovilton on
hatch over the observer's cockPit for eiestion straight 13 January \972 for disbandment. Five of its
through. This is XJ526 of 893 Squadron at Yeovihon to Llanbedr for drone
in 1969. Philip Birtles aircraft were delivered
conversion, while others went to Farnborough for
Left: :torr9€ and drone PreParation.
No 899 Squadron was the last FAA unit to oP€rate the Thi Farnborough-based programme consisted
Sea Vixen on board a carrier, retuming to Yeovilton on
23 January 1 972 for disbandment- XN684 ' a FAW2,
mainly of removing unwanted equipment and
carried unofficial'artwo rk' wh en p repa ri n g f or take' preparing the aircraft for flying to Flight Refuelling
off from HMS Eagle during final disembarkation- LtcL at Tarrant Rushton where conversion to U3
FAA Museum drones took place. Funding for this programme
Above: *as ahvays short, the work on the programme
FAVll2 XN653 was retained by RAE Bedf ord until 1976 petering out with a mere handful of conversions
and carried the RAF fin flash. t" 5 ; 1 rs iompleied. some still being around at Hurn in
198-1. mainly up for disposal' The Sea Vixens
continued in service with the FRU at Yeovilton
Vixen Mk ls, but later converlins :t' \li ls :> :n-\ until they too were withdrawn in January 1974,
became available. No E92 Squa.ir.': :.-:.;-::.d one or trvo aircraft remaining as flyable hacks at
with the Mk 2s during 1963. ioining H\lS Hr-":i-i Beclford and Sydenham for the remainder of the
in time to participate in the Ade n cn>i>. -\ :::..i::.t \ ear.
was made to Yeovilton in Februarr '\:h\. \'\:-: :na Amongst the aircraft preserved is Mk 2
Squadron formed the FAA iisita'f j:i. i3:ll conversion XJ565 al the Mosquito Aircraft
consisting of five aircraft kno\\r 3: 'S::i.':'> \luseum. As a Mk 1 it served with 766, 892 and
Circus'. S9,1 Squadrcns, before conversion to Mk 2
The departure of the Sea \iiren fr.'n.i .:ric-' standard between July 1965 and February 196'7. It
commenced with the disbandment oi ::i Sq'.:'rd- joined 899 Squadron on 13 Febuary 1967 and was
:r- -:r::\
ron in October 1968 in preparation fLrr rerired to the AHU at Brawdy on 2 December
into service of the Phantom FGI ih. irr-;.\ir:ls i968. One year later it was delivered to the RAE
April. No 893 Squadron disbanded trn ih- r3:i:;l Bedford for non-flying catapult and arrester trials,
oIHMS Hermes to Portsmouth in Jull tg-r i. -r i .ri completing 117 arrests between 20 February 1970
its aircraft going to RNAY Sydenham fot ::c:,ge and i0 August 1973. It languished at Bedford until
pending any decision on the future siz3 lrf lh3 struck off charge on 29 July L976 before being
FAA. They were scrapped *'ith man\ of ii:e acquired by the Mosquito Aircraft N{useum which
surviving Sea Vixens between 1971 and i9--: . coliected it on 31 October. This aircraft is being
With the disbandment of 766 Squairt':: -.i re\tored to the markings of 899 Squadron.
Yeovilton on 10 December 1970. the training ir.lt The Sea Vixen therefore closes the era of de
and some of its aircraft passed to 890 Squadrt'n' In Havilland jet fighters. Although it failed to achieve
turn the 890 Squadron aircraft were passed ltr lhe an RAF order, in favour of the Gloster Javelin, the
Airwork-operated Fleet Requirement: Unii smaller number built remained in service longer'
(FRU) at Yeovilton. No 890 Squadron itself frnajir The Sea Vixen was an effective ground-attack
disbanded on 6 August 1971 as the last iand-ba:ed aircraft. while also being capable of a rapid climb
FAA Sea Vixen unit. three of its aircraft harins to "10.000ft where it could out-turn many
been delivered to Cranwell for ground instructiLrn interceptors.

r07
Appendices

1 Vampire Specifications
Mark Powerplant SPan Length Height Wing area
Prototypes One 2,7001b thrust Goblin 1 40ft 30ft 9in 9ft 266sqft
F Mk 1 One 3.1001b thrust Goblin 1 40ft 30ft 9in 8ft 10in 266sq ft
F Mk 1* One 4,4001b thrust Ghost 2/2 48ft 30ft 9in 8ft 10in
F Mk II & IV One 4,5001b thrust Nene 1 40ft 30ft 9in Sft 10in 266sq ft
F Mk 3 One 3,1001b thrust Goblin 2 40ft 30ft 9in Sft 1Oin 266sqft
F Mk 5 One 3.1001b thrust Goblin 2 38ft 30ft 9in Sft 1Oin 262sqft
FB Mk 6 One 3.3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ft 30ft 9in Sft 10in 262sqfr
FB Mk 9 One 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ft 30ft 9in 8ft 1Oin 262sqft
NF Mk 10 One 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ft 34ft7in 6ft7rn 261sq ft
T Mk 11 One 3.5001b thrust Goblin 35 38ft 34ft 6.5in 6ft2in 262sqft
F Mk 20 One 3.1001b thrust Goblin 2 38ft 30ft 9in Sft 1Oin 262sqft
FB Mk 30 One 5,0001b thrust Nene 2-VH 38ft 30ft 9in 8ft 10in 262sqft
FB Mk 50 & 52 One 3.3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ft 30ft 9in Sft 1Oin 262sqft
FB Mk 51 & 53 One 5.0001b thrust Nene 1028 3itft 30ft 9in 8ft 10in 262sqft

* Mk 1TG278 for high altitude Ghost engine development.

Mark Empty wt All-up wt Max speed Initial climb Ceiling Range


FMK 1 6,3721b 10,4801b 540mph 4,300ft/min 730 miles
FMK3 7 ,1341b 11,9701b 531mph 4,350ft/min 43,500f1 1,145 miles
FBMK5 7,2531b 12,3601b 535mph 4,050ft/min 40,000f1 1.170 miles
FBMK6 7,2831b r2390lb 548mph 4.800ft/min 1,220 miles
FBMK9 7,283tb \2,3901b 548mph 4,800ft/min 1,220 miles
NFMK 10 6,9841b 13,1001b 538mph 4,500ft/min 1.220 miles
TMK 11 7,3801b 11,1501b 538mph 4,500ft/min 40,000f1 840 miles
FMK20 7,6231b 12,6601b 526mph 4.300ft/min 43,500f1 1.140 miles
FB MK 30 7,6001b 11,0001b 570mph 4.500ft/min 49,000f1
FB MK 53 7,6561b 12,6281b 568mph 4.500ft/min 44,000ft

2 Venom Specifications
Mark Powerplant Span Length Height Wing area
FBMKl&4 One 4.8501b thrust Ghost 103 41ft Sin 31ft 10in 6ft21n 279.75sqft
NFMK2&
FAWMK20 One 4.8501b thrust Ghost 103 42ft l1.in 33ft 1in 7ft7in 279.7 5sq ft
NFMK3&
FAW MK 21 One 4.9501b thrust Ghost 104 42ft llin 36ft 7in 6ft 6in 279.75sqfr
FAW MK 22 One 5.3001b thrust Ghost 105 42ft 1.lin 36ft 7in Sft 6.25in 279.75sqft
FAW MK 53 One 5,3001b thrust Ghost 104 42ft ll.tn 36fr7tn Sft 8.25in 279.75sqft
Aquilon One 4.8401b thrust Ghost 48 42ft 1.lin 279.75sqft

108
Mark All-up wt Max speed Initial clitnb Ceiling Range
FB Mk 1 & 4 15.4001b 610mph 9.000ft/min
NFMK 2 &
FAW MK 20
NFMK 3 &
FAW Mk 21 630mph E.762ftlmin 49,200tt 1,000 miles
FAW Mk 22 1-5.E001b 575mph -i.90Oft/min 40,000ft 705 miles
FAW Mk 53 1-i.8001b 587mph E.762ftlmin 49,200ft 1,000 miles
3 Sea Vixen Specifications
Mark Pox erplani Span Length Height Wing area
DH.110 Tsol.StxtibrhrusrRR.{r'onRA7 50ft 52ftlVzin 10ft9in 648sqft
SeaVixenFAWNIk I T*o iu.t'tr:riL,ihrustRRAron208s 50ft 53ft7in 1lft6in 648sqft
Sea Vixen FAW NIk 2 Ts o 1l-1.{-r {rl'c thrust RR Ar on 208s 50ft 53ft 7in 1lft 6in 648sq ft
Mark Entpn v: -l!i-up t+ t )lax speed Initial climb Ceiling Endurance
DH.110 -:-<.r r-t-rlb
Sea Vixen FAW Mk 1 6J5mph 48,000f1
Sea Vixen FAW Mk I -1i.-irlb, ::.-u rlb 6l0mph 48,000f1 3 hours

4 Production
Vampire Fighters
Prototypes: FB NIk 9:
LZ54B,LZ551an<ltvtpE3s. WGU48-851, WG865-892, WG922-931, English
Electric-built.
F Mk 1: wL493-518, WL547-587,wL602-6r6, WP990-
TG274-3I5.TG328-355. TGt-ruj-:. \-F:h_<- 999. WR102-111, WR114-158, WR171-2i5,
283, VF300-334, English Eleciric-bui,r- \\/R230-268, WX200-226, de Havilland Chester-
including F Mk 2s TG276 and TGls'ani built'
DH.10SaTG283 and TGj06. \\/G?36-241.,WX259-260, Fairey-built.

F Mk 2: Exports
TX807. FB \Ik 50 Sweden:
70 aircraft 28101. -2817 0.
FMK3:
VF335-348, VG692-703. \-l- 93-)-:-<. \-Tril- FB llk 6 Switzerland:
874,VV187-213. English Electnc-:uii: -+F Mk 1s J-1001-1004.
75 aircraft J-1005-1079 de Havilland-built.
F Mk 20: 100 aircraft J-1101-1200 Swiss-built.
W136-165. En-elish Electric-t'ui,i for R\. 3 aircraft J-1080-1082 Swiss-built.

FB Mk 5: F \Ik 3 Canada:
yy214-232. VV.l-+3-190. \a ::i--<f'9. \-\'fi'.rL 85 aircraft 17001-17087 less 17043 and 17045.
611, VV6i4_640. \1_655_:lxl. \-\._1___-:6.
YX461.-464. VX.t7l-176. \\9,<l!9q r. \-Ziil-i- F Mk 30 Australia:
$5,VZI6I-197.\'Z2lW:11.\'Z:5i-lqr. -57aircraft.
Y2300-359. English Electric-built.
V2808-840. de Havilland Hatfield-built. FB \Ik 31 Australiu:
yZ84I-852. V2860-877. de Havilland Chester- 23 aircraft.
built, wA 0 - 150. \\ A 1,i9-10S. \\'-{t -{-16-1.
1 1 1

wA27t-320. WA3l9-trE. \\ A355--10j. \\'-\J11- FB Mk 5 Norway:


460,WE830-849.\\'F,i7E-579.\\'F-iEJ--ib6. +evaluation*25productionaircraft.
WG838-847. English Electric-built.
WG793-807. WG826-837. de Havilland Chester- FB Mk 52 India:
built. - 39 de Havilland-bnilt+247 licence-built.

109
FB Mk 5 France: NF Mk 54 India:
76 ex-RAF stock. 30 aircraft (ex-RAF) 1D592-609, ID 1601-1612'

FB Mk 51 France: Vampire Trainer


183 licence-built VamPires.
Prototype:
Mistral France: G-5-ilWW456 + Pre-production WW458 and
250 built by SNCASE ww461.
FB Mk 5 South Africa: TMK 11:
10 aircraft+40 aircraft including FB Mk 9s' w z4l4-430, W 2446-47 8, W 2493 -521" W 2544-
593, W 2607 - 620, XD37 5 - 405, XD 424' 463'
FB Mk 5 ltaly: xD506-554, XD588-627, XES16-897, XE919-
5evaluation*de Havilland-built aircraft. 96l, xE97 5 -998, XH264-27 8, XH292'330,
80 aircraft licence-built in Italy. xH357-368, XJ77 r-77 6, XK582-590, XK623-637
for RAF.
FB Mk 52 Egypt:
30 aircraft aiquired from Italy and 20* from TMK22:
UK. XA100- 13 1, XA152-11 2, XG7 42-7 7 7 for RN'

FB Mk 5 Venezuela: Exports
30 aircraft.
T Mk 33 Austalia:
36 aircraft for RAAF.
FB Mk 52 New Zealand:
18 aircraft+S+20 ex-RAF FB Mk 5s
T Mk 34 Australia:
5 aircraft for RAN+ 1 licence-built T.344.
FB Mk 5
Finland:
6 aircraft.
T Mk 35 Australia:
68 aircraft for RAAF built under licence.
FB Mk 5 lraq:
12 aircraft.
T Mk 55 New Zealand:
6 aircraft NZ570I-5706.
FB Mk 52 Lebanon:
5 aircraft.
T Mk 55 South Africa:
+ 19 aircraft S A22l-226, S A257 -262,5,4.265-
FB Mk 9
Southern Rhodesia
6
2'7"t.
24 aircraft.
T Mk 55 Norway:
6 aircraft PX-E, PX-G, PX-M, ZK'X,ZK-Y,
Vampire Night Fighters ZK-z.
ProtoQpes:
G-5-2. G-5-5/WP 256. T Mk 55 Venezuela::
6 aircraft 23-A-36,28-35 to 6E-35'
NFMK 10:
WM232-256,WM659, WM730-733 de Havilland T Mk 55 Portugal:
Hatfield-built. 2 aircraft P5801 and P5802.
wM660-677, W M7 03 -7 29, WV689-691
de Havilland Chester-built' T Mk 55 Sweden:
45 aircraft 28411,'28455.
Exports
NF Mk 10 Switzerland: T Mk 55 Switzerland:
1 aircraft J-1301. 39 aircraft U-1201 toU-1239.

NF Mk l0 Egypr: T Mk 55 India:
15 aircraft (ex-RAF- cancelled) 1550-1564' 53 aircraft lY 467 -47 0. Iy 514-552, BY 37 7 -386'

NF Mk 54 ltaty: T Mk 55 Lebanon:
14 aircraft (ex-RAF) 3. 167'3.I7 0, 3.211-3.220' 4 aircraft L-151, L-154, L-159, L-160.

110
T Mk 55 lraq: FB MK 4:
7 aircraft 333-335. 367. 386-388. wR374-383, WR397-446, WR460-509, WR525-
564 de Havilland Hatfield and Chester, Fairey
T Mk 55 Clile: and lvlarshalls-built.
6 aircraft J.01-J06+6 ex-RN T22s.
Exports
T Mk 55 Finland: FB Mk 50 ltaly:
9 aircraft VT-1 to \-T-9. 2 aircraft MM6153 and MM6154.

T Mk 55 Bunna: FB Mk 50 lraq:
8 aircraft UB501-UB50S. 15 aircraft 352-366.
T Mk I I Soutltent Rhories;u: FB Mk 54 Venezuela:
12 aircraft ex-RAF. 22 aircraft 1A-34 to 8C-34.

T Mk 55 Egypt: FB Mk 1, Switzerland:
12 aircraft 1570-158 1.
126 aircraft J-1501 to J-1625, J-1650.

T Mk 55 Indonesia: FB Mk 1R Switzerland:
8 aircraft J-701 to J-70"c. 24 aircraft J -1626 to J -\649.

T Mk 55 Japan: FB Mk 4 Switzerland:
1 aircraft 63-5571. 100 aircraft J-1701 to J-1800.

T Mk 11 Jordan: lenom Night Fighters


3 aircraft ex-RAF.
Prototypes:
G-5-3|WP227 NF2, WV928 NF3.
T Mk 55lreland:
6 aircraft 185-187. 191-19-1.
\F MK 2:
\\rL804-833, WL845-874, WR779-808, first 7
T Mk 55 Ceyl6,rt
de Havilland Hatfield-built, remainder
5 aircraft cancelled-
de Havilland Chester-built.
T Mk 55 Syria:
2 aircraft 493-491 cancelled.
\F }IK 3:
\\'x785-810, WX837-886, WX903-949, W2315-
320 de Havilland Hatfield, Chester and
T Mk 55 Austria: Christchurch-built.
8 aircraft including -iC-\'-\. :C-\ B- jC-\'C a:rd
3 ex-RAF.
Erports
\F \,Ik 51 Sweden:
62 aircraft 33001-33062.

Venom Fighter Bombers Sea Yenoms


Prototypes: Prorcry'pes:
VY672 and W613. \\/K376, WK379 and WK385 all FAW20,
xA539 FAW21.
FB MK 1:
WE255-294. \\;E30-1-3-rI. \\ E-1Jr L-1!y. \\-E-:!fe- F.A.\\'Mk 20:
43 8, WE444--183. \\' K-3S9 J-i-. \\-K+6:--.',-: ;r. n \\'M500-523, W}.{5 42- 567 .
15 de Havilland Hatfield-built- maiurri:r oi
remainder de Har illand Che:rcr-t'uii:. bur ..,.n" FAW MK 21:
also assembled bv Fairer.and \farshails. wM568-577, WW137-154, WW186-225,
WL892-935. WL9-5-1-999 cancelled aircrati \\4v261-298, XG606-638. XG653-680 built at
allocated to Bristol. de Havilland Christchurch and Chester.
W F.27 2-321, \\/ R33-1-3 73 d e H ar i ll an d C he :r e r.
Fairey and Marshalls-built. FAW MK 22:
WW669-710 cancelled aircraft allocated to XG68l-702, XG72I-737, all built at
Bristol. de Havilland Chester.

111
Exports Aquilon 202 France:
FAW Mk 53 Australia: 25 aircraft for French NavY.
39 aircraft W2893-91'1,W2927-946 for RAN, a1l
built at Christchurch. Aquilon 203 France:
40 aircraft for French NavY.
Aquilon 20 France:
4 aircraft for French Navy, converted to Aquilon DH.110
204s. Prototypes:
wG236, WG240, XF828.
Aquilon 201 France:
25 aircraft for French NavY. Sea Vixen
Below: FAWMK 1:
Eight FAW2S were allocated to ground training at RAF XJ 41 4-494 (pre-production batch) XJ5 13-528'
Halton having flown into Abingdon and then been xJ556-586, XJ602-611, WN647-658, XN683-710
moved by road. PhiliP Birtles all de Havilland Christchurch-built+XP918
Bottom: from de Haviiland Chester.
Sea Vixen FAWs XS577 was painted in the distinctivo
red and yellow U3 pilotless drone colours' but this FAWMK2:
programme of conversions ceased before any
numbers were available due to budget restrictions.
XP9t9-925, XP953-959, XS576-590 all
Flight Refuelling de Havilland Chester-built.

t12
ln series with '.:

Avro Shackleton #
JOHN CHARTRES #
Avro Vulcan
ANDREW BROOKES

Gloster Javelin
M. ALLWARD -T

Gloster Meteor .:
3#
CHAZ BOWYER

m
Also of interest

English Electric Ganberra


ROLAND BEAMONT & ARTHUR REED

English Electric P1 Lightning


ROLAND BEAMONT

'Modern Combat Aircraft' series

BAe Hawk

Buccaneer
C-l30 Hercules
Harrier
Hawker Hunter
SEPECATJaguaT
V-Bombers
Westland Sea King

SHEPPERTON . TW17 8AS ENGLAND

Printed by lan Allan Printing Ltd


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