postwar 5 de havilland vampire, venom and sea vixen


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Postwar Military Aircraft: 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


Page 1: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


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De Havilland VamPire,Venom and Sea Vixen


Design of the Vampire began in 1941, itstwin-boom layout chosen to minimise thelength of the iet tailpipe, and hence thepower losses from the primitive jet enginesthen under development. The type enteredsquadron service in 1946, eventually equip-ping several Fighter Command first-linehome defence squadrons. However, with theintroduction of the FB5 the role of theVampire changed from an interceptor fighterto a close-support ground attack fighter-bomber, and this variant became the mostcommon in RAF service, many squadronsbeing stationed in Germany with the 2ndTactical Air Force.

Produced as a successor to the Vampire,the Venom was a completely new designbased around the superior Ghost engine,and received much praise for its excellentrate of climb and good manoeuvrability athigh altitudes.

Both the VamPire and the Venom sawwide squadron service, and were adapted tonight-fighter, trainer and naval versions'Thiir reliable all-round performance andcapabilities attracted numerous overseasbuyers, and some aircraft still serve withoverseas air forces.

The third de Havilland twin-boom was theSea Vixen: this was not only the Fleet AirArm's first swept-wing two-seat all-weatherfighter, but also Britain's first naval aircraftdesigned as an integrated weapons system,and the first to become fully operationalarmed with guided weaPons'

Philip Birtles surveys the development ofthese twin-boom jet fighters, their squadronservice, variants and overseas operators toproduce a well-illustrated reference of threeof the most significant British postwarmilitary aircraft.

Cover: Sea Vixen FAW2s of No 899 Naval AirSquadron in SePtember 1967.Peter R. March


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Above:The Vonom FB4 had powered Gontrols and a revisedfin and rudder shape.

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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


I Vampire Spccifications

2 Vcnom Spccifications

3 Sca Vixen Specifications

4 Production





Previous page:The FAW2 could carry four pods.of unguided rocketson underwing pylons, instead of Red Top missiles.Underwing fuel tanks were carried outboard.Royal Navy

First published 1 986

tsBN 0 71 10 1566 X

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be

reproduced or transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic or mechanical, including photo-

copying, recording or by any information storage and

retrieval system, without permission from thePublisher in writing.

@Philip Birtles l986

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

AII photographs are de Havilland/Hawker Siddeley/Briiish Aerospace copyright unless otherwisecredited.

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IJet Engine Development

\Lr account of de Havilland twin boom jet fightersa..uld be complete without at first dealing with:.:rlv de Havilland jet engine development.

The principle of the jet engine was well:stablished before World War 2, and by 1939Germany was undertaking its own research into:he practical applications of this new form of:-ircraft propulsion, which anticipated far greaterileeds than attainable with the highest perfor-:rance piston engines. Britain, however, could not:rare the time, materials, facilities or manpower to::rdertake any new research, relying on estab--r>hed production lines building Spitfires andHurricane fighters and Merlin engines to attempt:ie seemingly impossible task of defending against. determined enemy during the Battle of Britain.

Only when the worst of this was barely over in:arlr 1941, was it possible for Maj Frank Halford,:he architect of de Havilland engines, to effort for work on iet propulsion. Therre\\'ar de Havilland Engine Co had been geared-.:p to producing a range of light piston engines,:nd production of the new turbine engines wouldlequire a great deal of reorganisation, with new:ools. machines, materials and skills. The engine

company had been privately financed, but with thedevelopment of jet engines, government supportwould be required, as well as contracts for militaryproduction.

Jet propulsion would be most efficient andeffective at speeds in excess of 500mph, and inearly 1.941 the aircraft designers could foresee thepossibility of building aircraft to achieve thisspeed. A group of senior de Havilland personnel,including Sir Geoffrey de Havilland and FrankHalford, visited RAF Cranwell to see Sir FrankWhittle's pioneer work on the jet engine, andwitnessed an early flight by the experimentalGloster E.28139. The take-off run was very longand the flight duration very short, but it was asignificant start, which demonstrated the possi-bility of a completely new era in flight.

In the early weeks of 1941, de Havilland wasgiven the go-ahead to produce the new engine, andbecame the first British company to develop a jet

Below:The Halford H.1 iet engine when developed led to thede Havilland Goblin, which was produced in largenumbers for the Vampire,

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engine for production, having been beaten in timeby only Germany. No earlier attempts could have

been made without risking defeat in the air by the

Luftwaffe.The engine layout chosen rvas the centrifugal

type, which was easier to develop with less risk.but was less efficient, and had less developmentpotential than the later axial type. The HalfordI{.1 engine, code-named'Supercharger', and laternamed 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. Toachieve the best performance from these earlypower plants, a great deal of air had to be fed toihe compressor, and the maximum thrust rvas

achieved by having as short a jet pipe as possible toavoid loss of performance. The unusual twin boonlconliguration of the Vampire provided the means

to achieve this, while keeping drag and rveight to a

minimum. Furthermore, the centrifugal engine

t'eatured a larger diameter than the axial florv jet.and high fuel consumption -

particularly iit lowaltitudes - kept the endurance of the aircraftshort. Any rvay of keeping drag and weight to a

minimum therefore gave the aircraft a betterperformance, justifying the installation of a jetcngine. Also. without the instant power capability


Above:During running on the test bed the Halford H.1 enginesuffered some fire damage.

Above right:The first Gloster Meteor to fly was DG2O6/G f romCranwell on 5 March 1943, powered by two HalfordH.1 engines.

Bight:The Halford H.1 engines litted in the Meteor nacelleswith space to spare and were easily accessible.

of a piston engine driving a propeller, the early jetporvered aircraft had a painfully slow acceleration,particularly on take-off. and so they required longiunrvays. A fair proportion of the fuel carried was

uscd during taxying.Design of the Goblin engine commenced and

the first drarvings rvere issued to the shop floor on8 August 1941. The projcct required a whole newapproach to thermal, dynamic, mechanical and

rninuiacturing considerations. the cornpressor and

some of the other large components causingspecial problems.

On 13 April 19,12. only 248 days from the issue

of the first drarvings. the prototype turbine enginewas run on the Hatfield test-bed for the first time,rvith security ensured by posting armed guards





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:::ie left:Gloster Meteor DG2O7/G was the prototype F2powerd by a pair of H.1b Goblin engines, and wasdloc€ted to de Havilland Engines foi trials.

-::A Halford H,1 engine was fitted to the AmericanLockheed XP-8O prototype iet fighters, To easerccess, the rear fuselage could be removed.

The_production Goblin engine had a similar layout to6e H.1 engine with a c€ntrifugal compressor and split.ntakes to suit the Vampire installation.

-:' rund the installation. Two days later a half-hour::J;ptaDC€ test run was made at half speed, and:,.; follorving stripping down of the engine proved: i(r be fully satisfactory. The engin-e was::-::sembl€d to begin its main programme of::"..lopment running, its characteristic but unfam_.,: *hine being heard from the other side of the

.,::eld. When questions were asked, the noise was

.:::ibuted to a new electrical plant.During running on 5 May, the engine went quiet

-. ii came to a sudden stop. The intake had been--,-ied flat by the compressor, cutting off the air.-flll

?nq stalling the engine. A complete strip:Jr -aled little damage and, following iepair and::-.1ssembly, it ran at full speed for the firsi time onI -'une. achieving its designed thrust within two- -- rlhs of its first run.

Towards the end of July de Havilland wasinvestigating potential production arrangements,and on 10 September the company was asked tosubmit a complete detailed manufacturing plan,which it accomplished by 18 September. Eightdays later a 25-hour flight approval run wascompleted. bringing total test bed running tonearly 20 hours on two engines, with others nearlycompleted.

The basic design of the Goblin remained largelyunchanged during development, but a characler-istic of gas turbine engines is that any minorimprovements in efficiency have a relatively largeeff'ect on thrust. The major concentrations ofeffort in refining the design were on thecombustion chambers (a new problem to the teamof designers) and the engine compressor. Newtechniques of investigating vibration had to beevolved, one problem being to adhere straingauges to the compressor blades at very highspeeds.

However, all the problems were overcome, andwithin two years of the start of design work theGoblin engine was ready to fly. The aircraftcompany had been busy with Mosquito develop-ments and the Hornet long range fighter, delayingprogress on the Vampire airframe designed to takethe new jet engine. The Gloster aircraft companyhad meanwhile followed the experimental E.28139with the twin jet Meteor single-seat day fighter,and its first prototype was ready to fly. Although

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later aircraft were to be powered by a pair ofRolls-Royce Derwent jet engines, Goblin engineswere installed and powered the maiden flight ofthe Meteor on 5 March 1943 flown by MichaelDaunt, Gloster's chief test pilot.

Six months later the Vampire was ready with itssingle_Goblin-engine, and it made its maiden flightfrom Hatfield on 20 September, in the hands ofGeoffrey de I{avilland Jnr, son of the company'sfounder. The engines worked well and, alt'houghthere was no hazard of a whirling propeller, thesuction of the jet intakes were found to

-be enough

to pull a man in, if he was unfortunate to 5estanding nearby.

With the Goblin norv flying, de Havilland wasinstructed to send an example of the engine to theLockheed Co in California, for installalion in itsXP-80A single-seat jet fighter. Unfortunately, the

Left:Two Avro Lancastrians were used as flying test bedsfor the Ghost engines prior to their insiallation in theComet airliner. Flying at the low€r altitudes, theLancastrians could cruise with their two Merlinenginesshutdown. C. E. Brown

lnset:High altitude testing of the Ghost engine wasundertaken in specially-modified Vampire TG27gfitted with a pressurised cabin and extended wingtips.

Below:The Ghost engine for the Venom was similar inconfiguration to the Goblin, but had largelcombustion chambers and developod moro thruat.



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XP-80A's intake structure was not strong enough'ancl during ground runs it was sucked in. badlydamaging the engine. A replacement engine was

shipped out rapidly, allowing the XP-80A to fly forthe hrst in January 1944. Both the Vampire and

XP-80A easily exceeded 500mph in the spring of1944, powered by the all-British Goblin jet engine.

The^Air Minisiry type approval tests were passcd

on 2 February 1945. the Goblin thus becoming the

first jet engine to achieve this feat. ancl a new

factory was starting deliveries of the productionunits. The prototype engines had a static thrust of2,'7001b, and by the end of the war, with a thrust of3,1001b, the Goblin was the most powerful jetengine in production in Britain. Later versions ofthe Goblin developed 3,5001b of thrust.

Despite a relatively low effort, compared withGermany, de Havilland had built a lighter engine

with a lower fuel consumption per pound of thrust'Also the standard of reliability was much higher,the typical BMW 003 axial flow engine needing an

overhaul every 25 flying hours.In July and August 1948 the Goblin had the

most severe tests ever conducted on an aero-engine. It was run on the test bed over a period ofseven weeks, giving the equivalent of 462 combatsorties each of 65 minutes duration. Maximumpower was used for each for 17: minutes tosimulate take-off, and five minutes to representcombat. The engine still gave full power at the end

of the test, and when stripped looked in such goodcondition that from January to March 1949 the test

was repeated: it attained 1,000 hours between

Below:Vampire Mk 1 VV454 was fitted with a re-heat to a

Ghost iet engine in the autumn of 195O. Before flighttrials it was tested in a spacial ground rig.

overhaul, including 100 hours at full power, tnrepresentative operational conditions.

The Ghost engine for the later Venom was ofsimilar design to the Goblin, benefiting from thegrowing experience which gave it 5,0001b thrust.Test bed running of the Ghost engine commencedjust before VJ Day, and four years later it was

powering the next generation of jet fighters. TheGhost was at that time the most powerful jetengine available and had a lower installed drag andweight than any other turbine powerplant.

Both the Goblin and Ghost engines were goodexamples of effective use of the design knowledgeavailable at the time. The adoption of therelatively safe centrifugal design gave a reliableengine for world-wide service at an early date,while the more advanced layout of the axial typecould be studied with less urgency. By choosing a

single-sided. rather than double-sided compressor,the combined efficiency of the aircraft and powerunit was greater. This was achieved by closecollaboration between the engine and the aircraftdivisions of de Havilland.

Simplicity of design was maintained in the Ghostby pioneering the straight-through flow of combus-tion gases, without any major changes of directionbefore reaching the turbine blades. The straight-forward cantilever mounting and simple twobearing main shaft were examples of practicalthinking at an early stage.

The Ghost engine was then redesigned tobecome the world's first jet engine certificated forcivil flying when it was selected for the de

Havilland Comet airliner. With some 80% of itscomponents redesigned the 'civil' Ghost enginewas awarded its type certificate on 28 June 1948,

the first jet ever to be approved in the normalcategory for civil transport operation.



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Vampire Developmentand Production

.-'; design of the de Havilland DH. 100 Vampire-:menced rn early I94Z to Air Ministry

>:;.-iticnrion E.614l. Although this specification-.,..'d for an experimental prototype, provision_".:> mode for fitting four of the new 20mm:---.r.lno cannons in the underside of the fuselage-.:r'lle. Early in May 1942 permission was grantEd: :roceed with construction of the jet fighter, but-:.'. production line for quantities of aircraft would.:'.g [s be at somewlrere other than Hatfield.r;,-i1use of the existing saturation of the manufac_: -- rne facilities there.

.Br September 7942 the mock-up was well-:ranced rvith a representative cockpii layout and:r-:lv of the detail assemblies installed. To check:.-r' jet efflux clearance, the twin booms and:.r-nlane had been mounted in a relative position: the_engine test bed. Progress on the deiign was

..-.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,::ogress improved dramatically. This assured not-:iv the future of the Vampire, but also gave an

application for the Goblin engine, which otherwisewould have been lacking.

The official specification demanded a maximumspeed of 490mph, together with a service ceiling ofover 4u,000ft. To achieve this performance using anew form of power, whilst carrying four guns with150 rounds each, required an efficient design. As aresult the Vampire was the last of the unsophisti-cated combat aircraft to be flown by RAF FighterCommand, combining Spitfire simplicity with jetperformance.

Construction of three prototypes was under-taken in the experimental department at Hatfield,the smooth, streamlined fuselage nacelle beingconstructed in two halves from the familiarMosquito-style plywood sandwich with balsa woodas a stabilising filling. Each half was equipped andjoined along the centre line. The pilot was housed

Below:The vampire prototyps, fitted with tall fins andrudders, made its first flight from the grass airfield atHatfield, piloted by Geoffrey do Havillind Jnr.



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left:The second prototype Vampirc,lZ55.1tG, became thefirst iet to land on an aircraft carrier when flown byLt Cdr E. M. Brown on to HMS Ocean on 3 December1945. C E Brown

tselow left:The first DH.1 08, TG2B3, was used for low speedresearch into th€ swept wing, and during itstestprogramme it was fitted with Ieading edge slats.

Bonom left:The second DH.108, TG3O6, was built fo, high speedresearch into the swept wing.

rnder a forward-placed, rearward-sliding bubblecanopy, without an ejector seat, but with anexcelient all-round view. The fabric-covered\\'ooden construction of the fuselage up to theengine bulkhead gave a very smooth nnistr. tne*ings, booms and tail were all of flush-rivetedaluminium construction, and easy access was given:o the engine by having removable cowlings o; top3nd bottom, as well as an easily removable jetpipe. Simplicity was maintained by having all flying;ontrols operated manually, without any power3ssistance, and no radar was fitted, the guns beingaimed using a single gyro gunsight. As there wasno

. need

- for propeller clearance, the tricycle

undercarriage_was kept short, making accessibilityelen easier. The only unconventional feature ofihe design was its very necessary twin-boomlayout.

- The Vampire, known initially by its code-name'Spider Crab', took to the air irom the grass

surface of Hatfield Aerodrome L6 months afte; thego-ahead, and

, by early 1,944 was exceeding

,i0Omph by a handsome margin over a wid6altitude range. This first protbtype, LZ54glG,ieatured tall pointed rudders, but production\/ampire F Mk 1s were to have a flat topped finsand rudders, later adopting the more familiar deHavilland shape in subsequent marks. The wingshad an equal taper on the leading and trailingedges with provision for underwing jettisonablefuel tanks, and small flaps.

. The second prototype, LZ55llG, soon joinedthe flight testing, and was followed by thiid andfinal prototype MP838/G on 13 May 1944. (The.c'after the serial number signified the securityaspects of the prototypes, which specified a guardon the aircraft at all times.) No provision wasiradefor a development batch of Vimpires for testing,much of the initial work being undertaken on thehand-built prototypes. The tliird aircraft was thefirst to be fitted with armament, consisting of fourfixed 20mm Hispano cannon. A simple ieflectorgun sight was located on the instrument panelcoaming.

Because Hatfield was fully committed toMosquito production, an alternative factory withadequate capacity had to be found to buiid theinitial production order for I20 Vampires, whichwas later increased to 300. The English Electricfactories at Preston and Samlesbury *ere selectedtoproduce the Vampire F Mk 1s, the first aircraft,TG274|G, making its maiden flight from Samles-bury on 20 April 1945. The first 16 productionaircraft joined the flight development programmecovering a wide range of testing at Hatfield,Samlesbury and the government eltablishments.The first prototype played no further part in thetest programme when it was destroyed followingan engine failure on take off from Hatfield on?! JuIy 1945. Fortunately de Havilland's test pilot,Ge_offrey Pike, escaped without serious injury.. The second prototype was given a 4%'intreasern tlap area, lengthened oleos and an arrester hookfor deck landing trials on HMS Ocean.It becamethe first jet aircraft to land and take off from anaircraft carrier on 3 Decemb er 1945, flown by CaptEric 'Winkle' Brown. Before flying on to the ship,sdeck, trials were made at Farnborough by flyinginto an arrester wire at various speedi and oifsetdistances. As a result of a breakage, the hooksupports were strengthened to reduce the hazardsaboard ship. Further practice on land wasconducted at RNAS Ford on 2 December, readyf.or

.th^e - actual attempt the next day. Despite

doubtful weather, 'Winkle' Brown locatedHMS Ocean, and the ship prepared for his firstlanding. The most demanding aspect of theapproach was that a decision to abort the landinghad to be made early, because of the slowacceleration of the early-standard Goblin engine.Once the aircraft was settled on the approacn] tneship could be seen to be pitching and rolling rathermore violently than anticipated. Howevir, thebatsman gave steady guidance, bringing theaircraft straight in to a gentle landing, despite thepltchrng stern of the ship hitting the tail-skids justbefore touch down.

The aircraft was soon refuelled and made anunassisted take-off which was so short that theaircraft was 20ft up when it passed the captain,slookout point on the bridge. On the fourth lindingth.e larger flaps were damaged by the arresterwires, but by removing 4sq ft of irea, the trialscontinued three days later.

-. Despite the success of these trials the Vampire

did not enter combat service with the Fleet AirArm, due partly to the poor acceleration of itsengine if there was a need to overshoot on landing,and also because of its lack of endurance over ahcstile sea where a number of approaches might beneeded in poor weather. The Vampire was io seesome Fleet Air Arm service, but as an advanced


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trainer and for development work: more on thatshortly.

N{eanwhile the third prototype. MP838.porvered by a 2,5001b thrust Halford H1A engine,was delivered to the Aeroplane & ArmamentExperimental Establishment (A&AEF) at

Boicombe Down for handling trials in April 1944'

In the report published on 1 June i944. the overallimpressions were favourable. The cockpit w-as

considered comfortable, r.vith easy access to thewell-arranged controls and instruments. Thepilot's view was generally good, but spoilt in some

places by distortion, and the thick windscreeniupportr. Also amongst the credits were good

conirol during high speed taxying. excellentaileron contro[, very lorv cockpit noise levels and

high speed at lorv lcvel. Criticisms included a poorraie of c1imb. slow acceleration - these character-istics a result of the engine being at an early stage

in its development - and clirectional unsteadiness

which interfered rvith its efficiency as a gun

platform.Soon after its maiden flight from Sarnlesbury,

the first production aircraft. TGzl4. rvas deliveredto 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 toshorten the take-off run. which was long comparedrvith piston-en-qined fighters. The aircraft appeared

to leap into the air at 110mph IAS. while the best

climbing speed rvas 220mph IAS. Nonetheless theaircraft- was pleasant to fly and directionalbehaviour was an improvement over the thirdprototype.-

The .second production aircraft, TG275, was

converteci to the prototype F Mk 3 to specificationF.3l4l , powered by a 3.1001b thrust Goblin 2

engine. Internal fuel tankage was increased from201to326gal and a pair of 100gal drop tanks couldbe carrieci under the rvings. The tailplane and

elevator were lowered between a pair of moreshapely fins and rudders' This prototype first ilewon-4 November 1946 and rvas allocated to the

A&AEE for handling trials from August 1947 untilthe following February. Its assessment consideredthat the F Mk 3 did not meet the requiredstanclards of stability under some conditions,either with or without the drop tanks. The typewas. however, cleared for service pending the

evolution and incorporation of suitable rnodifi-cations, providing that pilots were rvarned of theshortcomings, 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 River Thameson 27 September 1946, killing Geoffrey de HavillanaJnr.

thrust. This aircraft first flew in March 1946 anclwas allocated to Rolls-Royce at Hucknall forengine development. TG276 was then delivered toFrance as the Mk 51 Mistral testbed, the Frenchversion of the Vampire. The Nene engine had adouble-sided compressor, and theref&e in theBritish version had additional air intakes on thetop engine cowling. However, these extra intakeswere.removed by the French and the original wingroot intake modified slightly.

The second F Mk i was TG279. which wasallocated to the RAE Farnborough, but wasdestroyed in a crash near Newbury o'" iZ Septem_ber 1945. It was followed by TG2S0, wtricf, firstflew in July 1946 and like '1G276 was delivereJtoRolls-Royce at Hucknall for engine development.The fourth F Mk 2 was thJ out_of_sebuenceTX807. which was evaluated ar the A&A'EE inOctober 1947 before being despatched to Ausi;lialo. qTgT" .the prototype F.30, aciopting thel4+F identity of A78-2. prior to this, Fr rYC+:rhad been allocated to the RAAF us a i.aine. *iththe identity A78-1.

TG277 was used for service evaluation, to checkperformance, operation and maintenance insquadron use, before being delivered to Cosfordon 10 October 1952 as a maintenance airframe(7004M). TGZT1 was allocated for Ctrost enlinedevelopment, and was given a lurg". .niin.compartment, a mainly metal canopy oue-. upressurised cockpit, and extended wingtips. Thistest bed. which made its maiden nignt-bn S Vfay1947, was used for high altitude Oelvelopment-tf


the new de Havilland jet engine, and demon_strated its capability when John-Cunningham tookrt up to 59.446ft on 23 March 194g. achie"vins a newaltitude record. TG2gl was used for nose !".iioninstallation trials for the DH.10g ln preparation forthe high speed third prototype, wtrlle tCZSiwasuse_d for Goblin engine deveiopment.

The DH.108 was a swept wing tail_less researchaircraft built by- adapting the Vampire fur"iug.nacelle^, fitting 43. swept-6ack m"tal wings, and aswept fin and rudder mounted above an Exiendedtjt- ^pip. ,

Designed and buitt to ,p".id.uiionF.18/45, the aircraft was intended to'inu.rtinut"the behaviour of swept wings and to p.ouiJ. U?ri.qeslgn data for the DH. 106 Comet jet transport,and the DH.1l0 fighter. TG283 *ui th" niii orthree DH.108s, and the maiden flight was from thelong. runway ar RAF Woodbridg-?, ri rrr^u'ic+e- there was not a suitable .r"n*uy at Ua'tnela.This initial pro^tglype was designed fo. fo* ip""Oresearch and, following company trials to investi_gate the aerodynamic characteriitics of the sweptwing, the aircraft was transferreO to ttre RagFarnborough in October 194g for further ,.r.u..t,flying. Tests inclucied stability, control urJil;;irgtrials. and. the fitting of a long stroke Sea V^rnlrlr.unoercarnage to allow landings at higher ansles ofattack at speeds as low as 95ki. ThesE trials ieaseda_bruptly when the aircraft crashed at ffarti.yWintney, Hants, on 1 May. 1950 during;i;ili;gtest_s, killing the pilot, Sqn Ldr Genders.- Vampire TG284 was used for armament

developmenr trials by de Havilland unJ if,"A&AEE at Boscombe Down, where it arrived on28 September 1945. On completion of these trialsit was flown to 33 MU at Lyneham on 4 July 1942,before deliveryto France on g January fSSd as thefirst of many Vampires to enter ,".uic" with theFrench Air Force.

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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'nnstandard for the Royal Navy' This version was

"J""it."..r"n;designed to test the feasibility of operating.jetaircraft from catapults and landing on flexibledecks without an undercarriage, to save weightonJ.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 - by'dropping the through the spring and summer of 1948, reducing

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.backwardsatconstruction had to withstand the ili-ut. and the 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 concluded

made a dummy run over the 'deck' to check that successfully, sea trials of the flexible deck 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

Jiipit" an increase of power *bulO not respond. to be flown offthe short carrier deck because it was

The arrester hook hit -ttr. end of the not adapted_fol catapulting' The flexible.deck was

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

ine uir"rati pitched dJwn violently into the carpet, hrst approach at^118mph was.slightly high because

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

the flexible deck. He was unhurt, buj the aiicraft landings followed; the fourth approach missed the

*asUuOfydamagedwithsplitcockpitstructure. wire, and the aircraft was flown around again'

Fottowing OeialteO inve'stigations into low speed Minor damage was sustained throughout the

flying with ihe Vampire and"also tests to avoid the programme, mainly caused by the wire supports


Page 22: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

being hit by the wingtips, but after moclificationthe trials went smoothly, even on off-centreapproaches and with cross-wind components.After the initial successes by 'Winkle' Brown,other pilots completed u nurnb.. of successfullandings, although one had to return to Lee-on-Solent when the hook claw broke mysteriously.The trials proved that it would be possible toprovide landing grounds on board small ships or onland where insufficient facilities for iunwaysexisted, and to dispense with heavy aircraftundercarriages in the search for improved perfor-mance. However, such developments involved toofundamental a change in operating facilities: inparticular the aircraft were far less easy to handleonce on the ground.

Vampire F1 TG287 was used by English E,lectricas a trials aircraft, but eventually entered servicewith No 54 Squadron at Odiham in 1948. TG288undertook service trials at the A&AEE. where itarrived on 4 November 1945. and was laterdelivered for service with the French Air Force in1949. TG289 undertook aerodynamic testing ofwingtip mounted cameras, before being allocatedto maintenance training at Cosford in May 1953 as7052M- The Empire Test Pilots' School (ETPS)used TG293 in 1946 before allocation to No 72Squadron the next year. TG299 was used by theAero Flight at Farnborough in 1946, evenfuallybeing allocated to Kirkham in November 1952 forground instruction (7006M).

TG306 became the second DH.108 prototypeintended for high speed research, hopefully ioinvestigate speeds around Mach One. Sweep6ackof the wings was increased to 45. and powercontrols were provided. A 3,3001b thrust Goblin 3powered the aircraft on its maiden flight fromHatfield on 23 August 1946, and level speeds weresoon being attained in excess of 616mph, then theyorld's absolute speed record. Geoffrey deHavilland Jnr displayed the aerobatic capabilitiesof the aircraft at the SBAC show at Radl-ett on 12and 13 September, before preparations were madefor an attempt on the speed record over the officialcourse along the south coast near Tangmere. Hecommenced practice flights for the record attempt,which were to be part of the routine high speedtesting, and after waiting all day for calm air on27 September, the conditions in the early eveningappeared ideal for a practice high speed flight overthe Thames Estuary. The aircraft was dived from10,000f1 to build up speed, and the plan was to flyat low level. However. 20 minutes after take-offthe aircraft was seen to break up and fall intoEgypt Bay near Gravesend killing the pilot. Muchof the wreckage was recovered, including theengine, and as a result of the subsequentinvestigation it was assumed that the aircraff hadflown through unexpected turbulence, which had


Top right:A total of 1,369 Vampires were built by EnglishElectric at Preston between 1 945 and I 95O, the first,TG274lG, making its maiden flight from Samlesburyon2OApril 1945. BAC

Bottom right:The F Mk 3 was a standard RAF day fighter whichcould carry underwing jettisonable tanks to extend itsrange.

raised the Mach number and caused a violent pitchdown of the nose. The wings then tiiteAdownwards with the sudden aerodynamic loads,although the aircraft was too low to recoveranyway.

Despite this tragic loss, the brief flight trials hadshown that a number of improvements weredesirable. These included a lower pilot's seat, aredesigned canopy and a pointed nose. The thirdand final prototype, VW120, once again used aVampire fuselage, but more extensively adaptedfor high speed research and powered by a 3,7501bthrust Goblin 4 engine. John Cunningham madethe first flight from Hatfield on 24 July 7947, andafter a year of steady development it was enteredfor an attempt on the 1Okm InternationalClosed-Circuit speed record. Flown by John Derryon a course to the north of Hatfield in the eveningof 12 April 194{3, a new record of 605.23mph wasachieved.

The high speed development flying continuedwith _a gradual build up towards exceeding thespeed of sound in a dive from high altitude.lohnDerry was the pilot on these hazardous tests.diving the aircraft from around 40,000f1 to achievethe maximum speed. On 9 September he com-menced the highest speed dive to date andcompletely lost control as the aircraft became thefirst to break the sound barrier in Britain. Despiteall attempts to regain control the aircraft continueddown, until the trim flaps were selected. Theaircraft went into an inverted bunt and eventuallystabilised in a gradual climb. The trim flaps wereunlikely to have been significant in regainingcontrol, the most likely reason being the rafuing oTthe speed of sound in the denser air at loiveraltitudes, taking this small low-powered aircraftout of the compressibility range. One further flightwas made in excess of the speed of sound, butcontrol was lost similarly and no further attemptswere made.

Following the completion of the manufacturer'strials, the third DH.108 was delivered to the RAEat Farnborough to continue a programme ofexperimental flying. It, however, crashed inmysterious circumstances near Birkhill, Bucks, on15 February 1950, killing the pilot, Sq Ldr Muller-Rowland. It was believed that control was lostwhen the pilot's oxygen system failed at high

Page 23: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

altitude. as no fault could be found with the

aircraft.Minor development continued with various

F Mk 1 Vampires, TG314 being the first to,befitted with the Goblin 2 engine and TG328

becoming the prototype F20 for the RN TG336

rvas the hrst to featuie cockpit pressurisation and

TG343 was used for performance checking at the

A&AEE in 1948, foliowed by wing fuel drop tanktrials. TG372 was shipped to Canada for cold

weather trials in 1946, where it remained to

becc.rne part of the Canadian Museum collection at

Rockcliff. TG426 was the second navalised

Vampire and was used for flexible-deck trials, but

suffered undercarriage damage'TG433 was the prototype FB6, an export

version of the later RAF FB5 powered by a 3,3001b

thrust Goblin 3 engine. TG433 was used for the

later DH.lOU canopy installation trials and also

became a Goblin 3 engine test bed. The next

aircraft off the production line had its rving span

reduced to 38ft ;nd made its first flight on 29 June

1948 for development of the FB Mk 5.

Following Varnpire Fl production *-1L lh"F Mk 3 to Spec F.3147, commencing with VF335'

Improvemenis inciuded increasing tailplane chord

Page 24: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

De Havilland DH1OO, the Vampire F Mk1, with originalfin shape in dotted line and the initial form ofwindscreen, canopy and rear fairing. James Goulding

Page 25: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

by 4.5in, reducing elevator chord by 1'5in and

fiiting streamlined fairings to the fin and lowered

tailpiine junction. The fin and rudder shape was

changed to the more familiar curved de HavillandshapJ and range was increased by internal wingtuei tankage capable of carrying up to 326gal.and

provision for two 100 or 200gal underwing drop

ianks. The F Mk 3 was first flown on 4 November1946 and VF343 and VF345 were allocated to

development and service trials. VG702 and VG703rvere used for climatic and tropical trials over a

l5month period in Singapore, the Philippines and

Khartoum, ending in October 1949' These aircraftrvere used not only to assess flying performance in

hot and high conditions, but also the effect of longperiods ofixcess humidity and temperature on the

structure and sYstems.Amongst otirer aircraft converted to F21s for

flexible-d"eck operations were VG701, VT802 and

vT803.Vampire F3 VV190 was used for Goblin 4

engine development in 1948 and gained- second

plice in the Kemsley Trophy Race in July 1949,

iueraging 470mph. W200 was also used by the de

Havilland Engine Co for test flying.Vampire F Mk 3 production was completed with

VVZIf, and the neit aircraft, W214, was the-firstproduction FB Mk 5, making its maiden flight fromi'reston 23 June 1948. VV215 was delivered toBoscombe Down on 22 J:uly for handling trials,and the next aircraft was used by both de

Havilland and the A&AEE for performance

measurement. yYzIl was used for various tests,

including the Sea Vixen nosewheel steering,

vy454 1ad its Goblin engine fitted with an

experimental reheat in an extended tail pip-e in

Juiy 1950, whereas VV568 was only FB51,

powered by a Rolls-Royce Nene engine' for

Below:The Vampire FB Mk 5 was the standard RAF fighterbomber, ind could carry a variety of underwing loads'including a pair of l,OOOlb bombs' The wing tips wereclapped to increase manoeuvrability'


France. W603 was allocated initially to the RAEFarnborough and also was on the charge. of the

Royal Ra--dar Establishment, where it was

delivered on 12 JulY 1951.

The two prototype Venoms, originally k-nown as

Vampire FBSs, w-ere VY61'2 and VV613' taken

from the Vampire allocations, but they will be

dealt with in more detail in a later chapter.Vampire FB5 VV675 was allocated for FB9

development on air conditioning trials for. hotclimates, and delivered to the A&AEE on 1'6 April1951. V2808 was the first de Havilland-builtVampire, being delivered from Hatfield to the

R&Ael, on 1 July 1949, but production continued

for a while at Preston as well. One of the

Hatfield-built FB5s, V2835 was used for ejectorseat installation development and spinning trialsfor the Vampire night fighter tailplane, starting in

September 1950, and it subsequently-went. to

Fainborough in January 1952. Only 33 Vampires

were buili at Hatfield, before the transfer ofassembly to Chester, from where the first, VZ84l,was delivered to No 501 Squadron at North Weald

on 3 April 1.951. Preston-built FB5 WA172 was

used to iest the DH.110 air intake shape.

Following the last FB5 WG847, off the English

Electric production lines was the first productionFB9 WG848, for operation in the Middle East and

Asia. To overcome the high temperature prob-Iems, this tropical version was fitted with Godfreyrefrigeration bquipment in the wing root to supply

coct"plt air condiiioning' Only one of this markappears to have been used for development 1o-rk,uir^O tttit was WR249, delivered to No 19 MU at

St Athan on22December 1953. A total of 1'565

Vampires had been built to RAF and RN order,many of which had been diverted to other air

forces: in particular France acquired l^arge

numbers. Most of the production had been fromPreston, but in addition to the 33 from Hatfield,313 were built at Chester and the final eight were

assembled by Fairey at Ringway. Furthermore, a

considerable- number were built for export: thisproduction is covered in a later chapter.

Page 26: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

The Vampire Enters Service

The Vampire entered service too late to partici_pate in World War 2, initial deliveries beinc madeto 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


delivered to No 247 Squadron to allow participa_tion in the Victory Day fly-past over London on6 June 1946. In October 1946 both Nos 54 and i30Squadrons commencecl receiving Vampire iis at9dilg. although at the end

-of funuo.y tO+Z

No 130 Squadron was renumbered No 72 Squad_ron. Fls remained in scrvice with the Odiham winguntil replaced with F3s cluring 1948, making someaircraft available for No 3-squajron Uui"j utWunstorf as the first unit in the 2nd Tactical AirForce.(2TAF) to receive Vampires. The firstarrived

11 April 1948 anci were replaced by FB-5s in

May 1949, by which time the Squadron naC moveato Gutersloh. Other surplus Fli were allocated tothe Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF). No OOSSquadron at.Honiley becoming the Ilrst'auxiliarysquldron to be jet-cquipped on 3 July 1948. laterreplacrng the Fls with FB5s in March 1950. No 501Squadron at Filton was the second auxiliarysquadron to operate the jets, with Fls froml"brg?ly 1949 until converting to FB5s in 1952;No -502 Squadon at Alderg.'rove equippeJ inJanuary 1951. converring to tEe FB5 i; t'h. ,n-"yeal, and subsequently became one of twoauxiliary squadrons to fly the tropical FBg _hardly appropriate in Nortirern Ireland.

A little-known use of Vampire Fls was with anumber of the anti-aircraft 'co_operation

units.lJo -59-5 Scluadron was the first to 'U" .quipp"C inDecember 1946. f)ying from FairrvooO'Cf-irunand Pembrey in South Wales. It was renumberedNo 5 Squadron in October 194g, and op..ui.,l-F3,at {hivenor from August 19-50 until September195 I . still as an unti-aircraft co_operation unit.. No 631 Squadron com,l,enc"d jet operations inl!: ruT" rolein August l94g at"Llan'bedr, beingrenumbered No 20 Squadron in 1949. ancl con_trnued with Vampires until Ocrober 1951.

_ . The first major production version of thevoTtlll. was rhe F3, which entered service initially

at Odiham. its replacement with FB5s commenc_rng rn December 1949. In March 1950 No 72Squadron moved to North Weald to ..."lul ir,24

FB5s, joining No 601 Squadron which hadequipped with F3s the previous December. No O0+squadron replaced its Spirfires with Vampire FJsin 195 l. but Norrh Weald squadronr r"pi,,J"Olfr.i,Vampires with Meteors in ISSZ.' ihe iwosquadrons remaining at Odiham began converti.,gto Meteors, commencing with No Z+i SquoOion inMay.l951.and No 54 Squadron in 1953. n4""n*-nif"srx vamplre Fjs were the first jet fighters to flyircross the Atlantic, when No 54 S{uud.on:l"ftOdiham ancl reached Goose Bay,

"1" i..iurJ urO

Greenland. on 14 July 194g. They ,"." "i.o.t.O

.!Y a,parr oj .T"1' Mosquitoes and participared in a

lunlb-9r of displays and exercises-in Canacla and:|l. yll. rhe highlight of the tour ueins th;N"wYork Lrty centenary celebrations at the beginningof August.

Two further RAuxAF squadrons were equionedwith,Vampire F3s. No 608 Squadron fl"* ;i;;i;;"at Middleron St George from 1950 ,n,ii-tl1Ji,replacemenr by FB5s in 1952. and No 614)9.uait-r91 operated its aircraft at Llanclow fromJuly 1950. FB5s were supplied to this squadron to-oa.s replaccments in July 1952. rnd it luier becam.the second auxiliary unit to operate FB9s.

Page 27: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Left:Vampites filst €ntored service in April 1946 when Flsequipped No 247 Squadron at RAF Odiham.C. E. Brown

Above:Vampire FBSs shared training duties with the T1 1, oneof th€ units being No 5 FTS based at Oakington.C. E. Brown

Bottom:The first iet flaght across the North Atlantic was byVampires of No 54 Squadron: here the aircraft aretaking off from their Odiham base.

The only other Vampire F3s to be operated byfront-line RAF units were with No 73 Squadron,rvhich equipped in October 1948 at Nicosia tobecome the first jet fighter squadron in the MiddleEast, and No 32 Squadron in May 1949. Bothsquadrons received FB5s and FB9s from 1951,

No 32 Squadron also operating on two occasionsfrom Shallufa and No 73 Squadron moving to TaKali and Habbaniya in Iraq. Both had ceased

Vampire operations by the end of 1954.

Of the RAuxAF squadrons, those which werenot re-equipped with Meteors continued with

q& -:

Vampire FB5s and some others were supplied withthis mark as original jet equipment. The FB5 was

produced in the largest numbers, combiningiighter duties with an excellent ground attackcapability. It served widely with the 2nd TAF inWest Germany, in the Middle East, and even as

far afield as Hong Kong. In 1950 No 602 Squadronreceived FB5s at Abbotsinch, and was followedduring the next year by No 613 Squadron atRingway in March, No 603 Squadron at Turnhousein May, No 612 Squadron at Edzell in July andNo 607 Squadron at Ouston. All the RAuxAFsquadrons were disbanded by the Government inearly 1957 as an economy measure.

In the 2nd TAF No 3 Squadron moved toGutersloh with its Vampire Fls in June 1948, andNo 16 Squadron at the same airfield exchanged itsTempests for Vampire FB5s in December 1948.

The Gutersloh wing continued to build up itsVampire strength with the equipping of No 26

Squadron in April 1949, and No 71 Squadronreplaced No 16 Squadron, which moved to Celle inNovember 1950. Meanwhile No 26 Squadronmoved to Wunstorf in January 1950, receivingFBgs in mid-1952, and was later transferred toOldenburg.

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

Page 28: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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


Page 29: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

The next Vampire wing to equip with FB5s in2TAF was at Wunstorf, commencing with No 4Squadron in July 1950. This was joined by No 11

Squadron in the following month, No 5 Squadronin March 1952 and No 260 Squadron in July 1952.

By 1953 No 4 Squadron had re-equipped withSabres at Jever and the remaining three Vampiresquadrons had re-equipped with Venoms.

In 1950 the Celle wing began receiving FB5s,commencing with No 14 Squadron which latermoved to Fassberg. In November No 93 Squadronreceived FB5s, followed by No 94 Squadron thenext year and No 145 Squadron the year after; theyremained in operation until 1954. Fassberg was

occupied by Nos 112 and 11tl Squadrons from thespring of 195i. although both units were laterbased at Jever. No 234 Squadron equipped withFB-5s and FBgs at Oldenburg in August 1952, latermoving to Geilenkirchen, while No 67 Squadronused FB5s for six months at Wildenrath fromSeptember 1952, and No 130 Squadron again

became a Vampire operator for six months at

Bruggen from August 1953.Moving towards the warmer climates of the

Middle East, No 185 Squadron began operatingFB5s at Hal Far in Malta in September 1951'

before moves were made to Luqa, Idris, Nicosiaand finally Habbaniya, where the squadron was

disbanded on 1 May 1953. No 6 Squadron receivedFB5s in October 1949 at Deversoir, later movingto Shaibah and Habbaniya. No 213 Squadronequipped with FB5s at Deversoir in December1949, receiving FB9s in 1953 and finally disbanding

Below:Vampires of No 54 Squadron and No 6O5 AuxiliarySquadron participated in the RAF display atFarnborough in July 1 95O.

Bottom:No 6O4 Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force operatedits Vampire F3s from North Weald for Exercise'Emperor' in October 1 950.


Page 30: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


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


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

&,i\\;{Si*N -

on 30 September 1954. Meanwhile No 249 Squad-ron equipped with FB5s in 1950 at llabbaniya andlatcr moved to Deversoir. In June i954 theSquaclron began flying from Amman in Jordan andat the same time FB9s rvere supplicd, untilFebruary of the ncxt ycar.

In Asia, No 60 Squadron operated FB5s andlater FB9s at Tengah frclm Dcccrnber 1950 untilApril 195-5. and No 28 Squadron at Kai Tak rvithboth {ighter bomber versions frorn February 1951

until 19-56. Both squadrons re-equipped rvithVenoms.

Three front-line RAF squadrons operated onlyVampirc FB9s, these being Nos 8. 20 and .15. No 8Squadron Ilerv them at Khormaksar, Aden fromDccember 1952 to June 1955 rvhen Venomsarrived: No 20 Squadron was at Olclcnburg in 2ndTAF from 19-52 until Junc 19-54 rvhen its aircraftwere replaced by Sabresl and No 4-5 squaclronoperated FB9s with Mctcors at Butterworth,Malaya. when its Ilornets rvere replacccl in March1955. Seven months later Venoms rvcre supplied.

Initially. operational training for the Vampiresquadrons was handlecl by No 226 OCU atPcnrbrcy ancl No 229 OCU at Chivenor. bothbcing equippecl rvith FB5s. Vampire FB-5s rvcrealso usecl for aclvancecl flying training. alongsideVampire trainers at Nos 1 FTS Linton-on-Ouse,5 FTS at C)akington. 7 FTS (later to become4 FTS) at Valley. ancl ii FTS at Swinderby, as wellas thc IlAF Collcge at Cranrvell. Armamenttraining rvas unclertaken by No 203 AFS atDrifficld. and Nos 202 AFS and 2 APS atAcklington, co-ordinatecl by thc Central GunncrySchool (CGS) ai Lcconficld. Other training unitsto opcratc Vampire FB5s rvere the Central FighterEstablishrnent (CFE) at Wcst Ra,vnham. theErnpire Tcst Pilots School (ETPS) at Farn-borough. the RAF Flying College at Manby.


Top:The Vampire FB Mk 5s could fire undeming-mountedrocketproiectilesat groundtargels. Aeroplane

Above:FBSs, FB9s and T1 1 s were used by No 7 FTS at Valleyfor advanced training. This line-up includes FB5sWA41 3, WA332 and WG843, FB9 WRl 94 and T1 1


Right:The initial Vampire F2Os for the Fleet Air Arm werenot fitted with arrester hooks. C. E. Brown

I nset:A Sea Vampire F2O on approach to HMS Vengeance on3July195O. FAAMuseum

Page 31: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen
Page 32: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above:The Sea Vampire had a V-frame arrester hook stowedabove the jet pipe. The compact size of the aircraftavoided the need for folding wings, FAA Museum

Below:The second Vampire prototype, L2551/G, was used bythe RAE at Farnborough for flexible deck landingttials. BAEFarnborough

Above right:Sea Vampire F21VG7O1 was used for research intolandings on flexible decks with the undercarriageretracted,

Page 33: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

No 102 Flying Refresher School (FRS) at NorthLuffenham, and No 3 Civilian Anti AircraftCo-operation Unit (CAACU) at Exeter until 1961.

No 1et conversion trainer existed initially forintroduction to flying the Vampire. Pilots wereconverting not only to a new type, but having onlyflown piston engined aircraft before, they had tomastei the new jet principles. The transition fromone to another was achieved by a briefing on thenew handling techniques and a familiarisation withthe cockpit, with emphasis on the new controls'The low ground clearance resulting from the lackof a propeller, and the nose wheel undercarriage,helped with handling on the ground and visibility'Acieleration was far slower with the early lowthrust jet engines, and controllability at low speeds

was not assisted by the familiar propellerslipstream. The Vampire was, however, pleasantto fly and very much less demanding than many ofthe contemporary high performance propeller-driven aircraft, which were optimised for thehighest possible top speed and had less thandelirable characteristics at low speeds. TheVampire's clean, efficient design made ,it .aneffeciive interceptor, and the provision of winghard points for bombs and rockets gave it a veryvaluable ground-attack capability, the cannon toobeing useful for keeping the enemies'heads down!The hghter-bomber role had already been antici-pated 6y de Havilland, but, with the selection ofihe more complex twin-engined Meteor as a

standard RAF interceptor, the stable and straight-forward Vampire was allocated to ground attackduties throughout 2 TAF, the Middle East and

Asia. In European theatres in wartime theVampire would be used to harass enemymovements, with its effective reconnaissance and

strike capability, while still being an accomplishedinterceptor able to maintain air superiority.

In th; Middle East and Asia the aircraft trainedfor similar duties, but was rather more active inMalaya against the terrorists, bridging the gap

between the long-range Hornets and the laterVenoms with their improved performance. No 8

Squadron also provided support during the MauMau uprising in KenYa.

Singie-seai Vampires continued serving withtraining units, later alongside the Vampire T11s,

for some years after the type was withdrawn fromfront-line service, providing useful training experi-ence as an introduction to the Hawker Hunter.

With the success of the deck trials using thesecond prototype Vampire, an order was placed

for six Sea Vampire development aircraft and 30

production versions, known as the Sea VampireF ltt ZO. An arrester hook was fitted above the jetpipe and the small overall dimensions of theiiicraft avoided the heavy, expensive and compli-cated fitting of wing folding mechanism. With theirrelatively low endurance the Vampires were. not

intended for regular deck operations, but provideda cost effective introduction to jet flying for thenaval aviators. The Vampire F20 was based on theRAF Mk 3, and the first public appearance of this

naval version was at Yeovilton on 6 September1947. Sea Vampires of the Carrier Trials Unit were

based on HMS lllustriou.s in early December 1948,

during Exercise 'sunset' in the North Atlantic,when they were used for the first time as

carrier-boine interceptors, and over 200 decklandings were made. A small detachment also

served aboard HMS Vengeance in 1950. A single

Sea Vampire F20, flown by Rear Adm Couchman,led the fly-past of over 300 FAA aircraft during the

Queen's Review of the Royal Navy at Lee-on-Solent on 13 June 1953.

The production aircraft were issued to 700 Squa-

dron ai Ford, 702 Squadron at Culdrose and 787

Squadron. They were withdrawn from service in1957, and the majority were scrapped at Lossie-mouth. The other naval conversion was the F21

used for flexible-deck trials, and although it did notenter service in the configuration intended' twosaw service later with 764 Squadron.


Page 34: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

r Export4

Vampires fo

The Vampire also achieved considerable exportsuccess, becoming the standard day fighter andground attack aircraft with many air forcesthroughout the world. In addition to productionfrom Britain. in some cases orders were largeenough to justify licence production in the countryconcerned.

The first large export order for the Britishaircraft industry was placed on 9 February 1946

when de Havilland completed the negotiation ofthree contracts with the Swedish Government forthe supply of Vampire fighters and Goblin engines.and the eventual licence production of Goblin 3

engines. On 4 June 1946 the first five Vampires,designated J28 for the Royal Swedish Air Force.letl Hatfield on their delivery flight to Barkarby.The Vampires replaced Mustangs in Srvedishservice and operated with great success evenwithin the Arctic Circle. The initial order was

completed 15 months from the first delivery and a

further batch was ordered on 22 January 1948'bringing the overall total to 70 aircraft. TheVampires introduced jet aircraft to a number ofday fighter wings, the first unit being F.l3 atNorrkoping. The training of new pilots wentwithout difficulty and exercises were held at Lul6a.the base of F.21 well up into the Arctic Circle,where temperatures went as low as -45'C andwhere it was dark continuously from 4 Decemberuntil 9 January. A final order for 200 Vampires was

placed in 1948, to include a number of Vampiretrainers. The single-seat Vampires remained in


front-line service until 1958, some remaining foradvanced training with F.5 Wing at Ljungbyhed.

The next order was an important one fromSwitzerland, initially for an evaluation batch offour Fls, the first being delivered to Geneva on27 July 1946. The evaluation continued for a yearunder typical operating conditions, resulting in an

order for 75 Vampires, similar to the FB5s butknown as the export FB Mk 6s, powered by the3,3001b thrust Goblin 3 engine. Following theinitial production batch of 75 aircraft from the UK,licence production of 100 Swiss-built aircraftcommenced at the Federal Aircraft Factory atEmmen and Pilatus at Stans. All the engines were

Below:The first Vampire overseas sale was to Sweden whichordered a batch of F Mk 1 s in February 1 946- TheseJ.28s (the Swedish designation) are at Norrktiping.

Above right:Sweden eventually ordered 7O Vampires, the lateraircralt being to the FB5 standard.

Right:Switzerland ordered lour early Vampires for6valuation, the first being delivered from Hatfield on27 July 1946.

Below right:The Swiss Air Force is still using Vampire FB6s foradvanced training in the mid-1980s, fitted withmodified noses and eiector seats. Here J-l 149 lands inJune 1982. Philip Birtles

Page 35: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Page 37: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Left:The RCAF ordered 85 F Mk 3s which were built inBritain and assemblod by de Havilland Canada. Theywere operated by the Citizens Air Force squadrons.

Below left:Before placing its main order for Vampires, Norwayordered an evaluation batch. C. E. Brown

Above:Vampire VT-GXJ H8546 departing from Hatfield on itsdelivery flight to lndia, which took 39 Vampires fromUK production lines before commencing licenceproduction.

supplied from Britain and three more Vampireswere assembled from spares at Emmen in 1960.

The first Commonwealth order was from theRoyal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in March 1947for 85 F Mk 3s to be built in Britain. and assembledby de Havilland Canada. The first aircraft wasdemonstrated at Rockcliff near Ottawa in March1948, with the first regular squadrons being formedat Trenton, followed by auxiliary squadrons atllontreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver.No 410 Squadron formed an aerobatic team of sixaircraft in 1949, demonstrating in Canada and theUSA. The Vampires worked well in temperaturesdown to -60'F. an example being 12 Vampiresrvith No 410 'Cougar' Squadron which operated inthe Yukon on a winter exercise. The RCAFVampires were withdrawn in the early 1950s. somebcing acquired by private owners as sports aircraft.Trvelve ex-RCAF Varnpires were purchased byDominica, to add to 25 ex-Swedish Varnpircs, and1-5 ex-RCAF Vampires were used to form\lexico's first jet fighter squadron.

In the spring of 7947 plans to license-build the\/ampire for the Royal Australian Air Force(RAAF) were announced. the first cxample,powerccl by a 5,(X)0lb thrust Rolls-Royce Neneensine, making its maiden flight from Bankstown.S1'dney on 29 Junc 1949. Known as the F.30 withthc RAAF. a total of 57 was built to replace\Iustangs in the regular ancl citizens' air fbrce

squadrons. These were followed by 23 FB Mk 31s,which remained in service with the regularsquadrons until replaced by Sabres in 1955. Fourout of five of the citizens' squadrons retained theirVampires, until they too were disbanded, in 1957.

Like the Swiss, Norway ordered a trial batch offour Vampires in the spring of 1948. These weretaken from RAF stocks to speed delivery, the firstthree arriving at Gardemoen near Oslo on29 April. As a result of the evaluation 25 FB5swere ordered for No 336 Squadron.

India purchased an initial batch of 39 F3s andFB52s from the de Havilland production lines, thefirst three being delivered to Cawnpore on6 November 1948. Hindustan Aeronautics atBangalore then commenced licence manufacture,building 247 single-seaters as well as someVampirc trainers for the Indian Air Force andNavy, before completion of the last aircraft in1959.

A maior user of the Vampire was the FrenchGovernment, which was in urgent need of suitablecombat aircraft to build up its depleted postwar airforce. The Vampire proved ideal for the task, andthe agreement including licence production anddevelopment by SNCA Sud-Est was reached in thespring of 1949. While production plans were beingmade some 76 Mk 5s were supplied from RAFstocks. and the initial licence-built version knowrras the FB Mk 51 made its maiden flight fromMarignane on 27 January 1950. The productionlines maintained a high rate from thc start, becausede Havilland supplied major assernblies initially,followcd by unequipped components, and linallydetailed parts. until full licence production wasestablished. This resulted in a production rate of10 aircraft per month only seven months after thelirst deiivery. The Rolls-Royce Nene engine wasalready in production in France. and it was decidedto adapt the Vampire to this power plant.Improvements were made to the originalde Havilland-designecl Mk 2 by deleting the extraair intakes on top of the fuselage and refining the


Page 38: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Page 39: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

wing-root intakes. Further development bySNCASE left only the forward fuselage, the tailbooms and tailplane common to the Britishversion, the new 'Mistral' also having an ejectorseat. The first production Mistral made its maidenflight at the end of 1951, achieving a maximumspeed at sea level of 578mph, 50mph faster thanthe standard Mk 5. A total of 183 Vampires and250 Mistrals were produced under licence inFrance, replacing F-47Ds with 4e Escadre in 1951.followed by 3e,5e andTe Escadres, until Ouragonsbegan to enter service in 1954.

South Africa ordeied a squadron of 10 Mk 5s inearly 1949. The aircraft were shipped from Britain,and the first example made its maiden flight afterre-assembly on 8 February 1950. A further 40Vampires were ordered, including FB9s, toreplace SAAF Spitfires. They remained infront-line service and with the Active Citizen

Left:France adapted the Vampire to taks the Rolls-RoyceNene engine and with a number of other modificationsit became known as the Mistral. S|VCASE

Below left:Two South African Air Force FB5s fly past TableMountain. The SAAF placed an order for a squadron ofVampire FBSs before ordering further Mk 5s andMk 9s.

Below:Aeronautica Macchi built Vampires under licence forthe ltaf ian Air Fotce. Macchi

Force until replaced by Sabres in 1956, when manywere allocated to advanced training.

The Italian Air Force standardised on theVampire as a day fighter, placing an initial orderon 29 November 1949, followed by a second one ayear later. The first five ex-RAF aircraft weredelivered for evaluation in early 1950, to aliowexperience with the aircraft to be built up whileplans were made for licence production by Fiat,Alfa Romeo, Aeronautica Macchi and SAIAmbrosini for both the airframe and the engines.Two years after signing the agreement theBritish-supplied Vampires were operational, andthe first of 80 licence-built aircraft had made itsmaiden flight on 18 December 1951, from theMacchi factory at Venegano near Milan. TheVampires equipped 4a Aerobrigata and 20 Stormct,and the mid-1950s were used for advancedtraining.

The first Middle Eastern order came from Egyptat the end of. 7949 , to re-equip its air force after the1948 war with Israel. Before the aircraft could bedelivered, the British Government placed anembargo on military sales to Egypt, but this wasovercome by the acquisition of 30 FB52s from Italyvia Syria. Following the iifting of the embargo inAugust 1953 a small batch was supplied from theUK. When the RAF withdrew from the CanalZone in October 1954, the Egyptian Air Forcetook over the defensive role with 49 Vampiresequipping four fighter-bomber squadrons.Vampires and MiG-15s were used for the defenceof the Sinai in the October 1,956 war with Israel.


Page 40: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


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Page 41: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above left:The Egyptian Air Force Vampire order was embargoedby the British Government, and early aircraft wereacquired from ltaly.

Left:The only South American operator of Vampires wasVenezuela which took delivery of its first aircraft inDecember 1952. Here 3835, to FBs standard, issurrounded by typical Venezuelan terrain.

Top:Royal New Zealand Air Force FB5 N25731. A numberof Vampires were ordered by the RNZAF and remainedin service un(il1972. RNZAF

Above:The first three of six Vampires for Finland weredelivered from Hatfield in January 1 953.

the first Vampire being shot down on 31 October.At least three more were shot down and manymore were destroyed on the ground by theAnglo-French operations in early November. Fourof the survivors were presented to Saudi Arabia inJuly 1957, and seven were supplied to Jordan inOctober 1956 to add to the 10 FBgs presented bythe RAF in December 1955, as the country's firstjet combat aircraft.

The only sale to a South American customer wasfor 15 shipped out to Venezuela, the first flying on22 December 1949 after re-assembly at Caracas. Afurther batch of FB5s was ordered in 1950 f<-rr

Escuadron de Cuza No 35 formed at Boca de Rioon 10 December 7952. The accident rate was highas only 10 Vampires had survived by 1959.

New Zealand ordered 18 Vampire FB Mk 52s in1950, as the first jets in the Dominion, the aircraftbeing shipped out and assembled at Hobsonville.No 14 Squadron re-equipped with the Vampires on3 September 1951, at its Ohakea base. This wasone of only four airfields with paved runways, butthe aircraft were also well suited to the grassairfields, which often had difficult approaches.No 14 Squadron was moved to Cyprus tostrengthen the allied presence in the Middle East,flying Vampires leased from the RAF, theiroriginal aircraft passing to the home-based No 75Squadron. In late 1952 a further eight ex-RAFFB5s were supplied to cover attrition and providesome stock for further years, and at the end of1955 a further 20 Mk 5s were orderd. Theyremained in service with No 14 Squadron (rvhichreturned to New Zealand), No 75 Squadron, andthe Fighter Operational Conversion Unit, untilfinal retirement at the end of 1972.


Page 42: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above:No 5 Squadron of tho Royal lraqi Air Force oPeratod itsVampires from Rashid.

Below:The Lebanese Air Force operated five Vampire FB52sfrom Kleyate, where the first were delivered inOctober 1953.

The remaining overseas orders were for smallnumbers for customers in Europe, the Middle Eastand Africa. Finland ordered six Mk 52s, the firstthree being delivered on 22 Jarr:uary 1953 to Pori

near Helsinki, where one is preserved followingretirement in 1965. The Royal Iraqi Air Forceordered 12 Vampires in 1953 to equip No 5

Squadron at Rashid, its flrst jet fighter unit; laterth-e same year the Lebanon ordered five Mk 52s,

the first being delivered to Kleyate on 22 October1953. The last Vampire export order came fromsouthern Rhodesia for 24 FB9s for deiiverybetween December 1953 and November 1955 toequip two squadrons.-Now all the single-seat Vampires have been

retired apart from a small number flying inSwitzerland on training and target towing duties.




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Page 43: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

The Vampire Night Fighter

The DH.113 Vampire night fighter was producedas a company-funded private venture design toprovide a cost-effective export night fighter.Geoffrey Pike took the prototype on its maidenflight from Hatfield on 28 August 1949, powercoming from a 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 engine. Themajor difference from the single-seat Vampire wasan enlarged fuselage nacelle to accommodate thesomewhat ancient AI Mk10 radar, two crew andthe additional equipment. The standard four20mm cannon were retained and provision wasmade for a pair of 100gal drop tanks to be carriedunder the wings.

The first public appearance of the first of twoprototypes was at the SBAC show at Farnboroughonly a few days after the initial flight, and thefollowing month Egypt placed an order for 12.However, the British Government embargoedarms to Egypt and the aircraft were adopted by theRAF as the Vampire NF10, an interim aircraftpending the delivery of the more sophisticatedMeteor and Venom night fighters.

The second prototype became part of the RAFallocation, the first real production aircraft,WP232, making its maiden flight from Hatfield on19 February 1951 for delivery to the A&AEE on30 March. WP236 was operated by the HandlingSquadron at Manby for the compilation of pilots'notes, and WP240 was evaluated at Boscombe

Down. Aircraft used for research included WP240to test the Sea Vixen radome shape in 1955 andWP250 by Handley Page for boundary layersuction laminar flow wing section developmentfrom 1953 to 1956.

The first RAF unit to receive Vampire NF10swas No 25 Squadron at West Malling in July 1951,replacing its Mosquito NF36s. The Squadronworked up to operational service during the rest ofthe year, with No 151 Squadron at Leuchars on15 September and No 23 Squadron at Coltishall inthe same month also receiving NF10s.

For safety reasons if was desirable for the RAFto operate twin-engined night fighters, but withlate deliveries of the Meteor night fighters, theVampires filled an urgent gap. They did not haveejector seats for the crew, but despite having apoorer performance, as compared with thetwin-engined Meteor, the Vampire night fighterhad a greater endurance and was a better gunplatform.

Although being home based, No 23 Squadrondetached five aircraft to Fassberg in Germany forExercise'Hold Fast'in September 1952. The same

Below:The prlvate venture Vampire night fighter prototypeG-5-2 flew with modified fins to balance the increasednoso longth.

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Page 45: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

unit flew 12 of its aircraft in the Queen's Review ofthe RAF at Odiham on 15 July 1953, four monthsbefore the replacement with Venoms began. InApril i954 Meteor night fighters began to replacethe Vampires with both Nos 25 and 151 Squad-rons, leaving 25 unused aircraft still held in storageat maintenance units.

Some of the aircraft were retained by the RAFfor navigator training, the AI radar being removedand replaced by navigation equipment such as

Rebecca 3 and Gee 3. The armament was retainedto help maintain the centre of gravity and a newcockpit canopy was fitted to provide a better viewand easier escape in an emergency. Ejector seatswere still not fitted.

No 2 Air Navigation School (2 ANS) at ThorneyIsland was the first to receive these revised

Above left:The RAF production standard Vampire NF1 O returnedto the traditional fin shape, but had tail plan€extensions. Many of th6 RAF aircraft (like WM659shown) were exported to lndia. MoS

Left:NFIOs were used by the RAF as anterlm night fighters,No 25 Squadron based at West Malling being one ofthe units. This is the fourth production NFlO, WP235,under preparation for a night execise in December1951.

Below left:The ltalian Air Force ordered 14 Vampire NF54s, thefirst. 3-1 67, being delivered in June 1 951 .

Below:The lndian Air Force acquired 3O ex-RAF Vampirenight fightels, which were refurbished at Chestelbefore delivery.

Vampires in August 1955, eventually totallingaround 14 aircraft with a pair of Tlls forcontinuation training. Nearly two years later, inMarch 1957, No 1 ANS was re-formed at Topcliffewith nine Vampires sharing the training withValettas and Marathons. The jet navigationcourses lasted until 1959. when No 1 ANSdiscontinued them early in the year, followed byNo 2 ANS in April. The aircraft were soonscrapped, apart from WP255 which flew as a hackwith No 27 MU until the end of 1959. SomeVampire NF10s were used by the CentralNavigation & Control School (CNCS) at Shawburyfrom May 1954 until September 1959 for thetraining of air traffic controllers.

The surplus aircraft not used by the RAF wereoffered for export after overhaul at the Chesterfactory. Italy ordered 14 new NF54s as interimall-weather fighters and for advanced night fightertraining, which were delivered between 4 June1951 and 25 March 1953. Switzerland ordered onenew Vampire night fighter, U-1301, which wasdelivered on 1 January 1951. It was used for thetesting of system and equipment in the Swisslicence-built Venoms, and later used for electroniccountermeasures trials. Following its handover tothe Swiss Air Force. it was flown on variousevaluation tasks, before being withdrawn fromservice and scrapped at E,mmen in 1961, becauseof the lack of ejector seats. The iargest overseassale was to India. which ordered 30 ex-RAFaircraft. modified to NF52s and delivered between18 April and 15 October 1954.

Out of the 94 Vampire NF10s built, two nowremain, one preserved in Italy and the other inIndia.

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Page 46: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

The Vampire Trainer

The Vampire trainer was an uncomplicatedadaptation of the Vampire night fighter, .byremoving the AI radar from the nose and fittingdual coritrols in the side-by-side cockpit' Instead ofhaving a radome in the nose, the front fuselage

incorp'orated an upward opening- large .fairinghinged at the rear, where the aircraft batteries and

corimunications equipment was located on an

easily accessible shelf. As with the earlier Vampirefamiiy, the wooden fuselage was attached to the

standard metal wings and tail booms, power

coming from a 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 engine'

First innounced publicly in August 1950' the

private venture prototype' marked. G-5-7' was

ihown at the SBAC display at Farnborough the

following month. Despite looking complete exter-

nally, thi aircraft had not flown, and was shown

statically.The purpose of the type was to prwide^ the

widest iange of training duties possible, fromadvanced Jet training through gunnery and

weaDons training, whilst having as much cotn-

monality at possi-ble with the other Vampires' Twoor four 20mm cunnon could be installed under the

fuselage, not only to provide realistic training but

also td give the aircraft an operational capability'A stanJard reflector gunsight was {itted in the

cockpit. Strong points were retained in the wings

for tire carriage of a pair of 1,0001b bombs, eight

rockets or long range fuel tanks.



Page 47: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Left:The Vampire trainer was originally built as a pravataventure but was intended to meet the RAF advancedtrainer requirements. The prototype, G-5-7, featuredthe origina! Vampire tait with no outboard tail-planeextensions.

Below left:Early production Vampire T Mk 11s, featuring the oldcanopy, no eiector seats and the early fin shape,entered ssrvice with No 2O2 Advanced Flying Schoolat Valloy.

Above:The Vampire trainer had full dual controls including apair of reflector gun sights for weapons training.

The prototype featured the old night fighterframed canopy with an upward opening lid, andthe fin and rudder were the traditional shape, butthe outboard tailplane extensions were removedand bullet fairings were located on the fin-to-boomjoin. First flight was made from the grass airfield atChristchurch by John Wilson on 15 November1950, for 25 minutes. Following company flighttrials, the prototype became WW456 for officialtrials. It underwent service evaluation at No 204AFS and then the CGS at Leconfield beforeadoption by the RAF as the Vampire T Mk 11, thetrials being completed on 26 April 1951. Theprototype was then delivered to A&AEEBoscombe Down on 29 April 1952 for furtherofficial trials.

Two pre-production aircraft, WW458 andWW461, came off the production line next atChristchurch, the first one flying on 1 December1951 and being delivered to RNAS Culham on21 January 1952 for evaluation by the RN. Thesecond pre-production aircraft joined the first atRNAS Culham on 22 May, the successful trialsresulting in orders for the Fleet Air Arm for thetype as the T Mk 22.

Production for the RAF commenced at Christ-church withWZ4l4, which first flew on L9 January1952, the first of 26 airqaft built at the factorybefore transfer of the main production to Chester.W241.4 was used for company trials beforeallocation to the ETPS. W241,5 andWZ4|T weredelivered to the A&AEE, and WZ4I9, which firstflew on 27 March 1952, was allocated to develop-ment of the improved fin shape with a dorsalfairing, clear view upward opening canopy and theinstallation of ejector seats. The outboard tail-plane extensions had already replaced the proto-type bullet fairings. WZ4I9 first flew aftermodification on 4 April 1954, and these improve-ments were introduced on the production line onthe 144th aircraft, the earlier models beingretrofitted.

A total of 535 Vampire trainers was ordered bythe RAF, over a period of time, the initial unitdeliveries being five aircraft to the CGS atLeconfield on 4 September 1952, followed by fourdelivered the same month to the APS at


Page 48: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Page 49: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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-w,Above left:The Central Gunnery School at Leconfield used T1 1 sfor weapons training including firing of rocketprojectiles and the standard four-cannon armament.

Left:The Gentral Flying School at Little Rissington usedTl 1 s for the training of flying instructors. G/oster

Top:Like a number of RAF fighter units, No 8 Squadron inAden had a Vampire Tl 1 for communications,continuation training and instrument rating,

Above:T1 1 s were used by No 3 GAACU at Exeter as highspeed targets for the training of artillery gunners, Theunit's pilots were the last regular operators of theaircraft in the UK. Philip Birtles

Acklington and No 202 AFS at Valley. Other earlydeliveries were to the APS at Sylt, No 233 OCU atPembrey and No 229 OCU at Chivenor.

No 5 FTS at Oakington, near Cambridge.commenced the first Vampire advanced jet flyingcourse in June 1954, the new students havinggraduated from the Percival Provost. The averageto-solo time on the new aircraft was eight flyinghours, the total course to wings standard involving

115 flying hours as well as ground instruction. Thefirst course of students to receive all their advancedflying on jet aircraft were awarded their wings on22 December 1954 at a parade at Oakington. Thepilots were able to include fighter navigationtraining and experience compressibility effectsbefore continuing on to weapons training.

In 1956 Vampire T11s replaced Balliol advancedtrainers with the RAF College at Cranwell, and anumber were also used by the CFS at LittleRissington to train instructors from 1959. TheRAF became the first air force to conduct anall-through jet training programme, althoughgrading training was later introduced to checkinitial pilot suitability. A number of Vampire T11swere allocated to fighter squadrons and somestation flights for communications flying and tomaintain a check on proficiency with instrumentratings and continuation training.

While the CFS was responsible for maintainingthe high levels of flying instruction training. withregular checks at the various Flying TrainingSchools, the FWS at Leconfield was responsiblefor maintaining a high level of weapons training. Aclose liaison was maintained with operational unitsto keep up the high standard of pilot instructorswith the squadron, as well as monitoring theweapons instructors at the Armament Practice


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Page 50: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Page 51: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Schools. The staff at the FWS not only trainedRAF aircrew, but also many overseas students.

With its good view and side-by-side seating theVampire T11 was well suited to weapons training.Its pair of 20mm cannon could be used forair-to-air firing on towed targets, and rockets andpractice bombs were carried for ground-attacktraining.

In addition to aircrew training. Vampire T11swere used on other training tasks. A number wereallocated to the Central Navigation & ControlSchool (CNCS) at Shawbury, together withProvosts, for the training of RAF air trafficcontrollers. This unit was the last in the RAF tooperate the aircraft on training duties. the T11providing realistic fast jet controlling exercises forthe students untii November 1970. No 3 CAACUat Exeter was equipped with a number of VampireTl1s in the early 1960s, replacing the veteranMosquitos. The Vampires shared with Meteor T7sthe duties of simulating tactical targets for Armygunners, 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 theonly RAF unit still using the Vampire T11 foraircrew training, mostly for overseas students.alongside the unit's Jet Provosts. The small batchof T1 1s, supported by reserve aircraft held in storeat No 27 MU, Shawbury, were transferred toNo 7 FTS at Church Fenton in January 1966,followed by a move to No 3 FTS at Leeming on1 November. They remained at Leerning for justover a year, and their withdrawai from service was

marked by a small ceremony on a cold bright29 November 1967.

The iast RAF T11. XK637. flew from Chester on8 November 1956. and was delivered to No 19 MUat St Athan on 27 November, along with XK636.XK637 served with No 4 FTS, RAF College atCranwell and No 7 FTS before storage at Chesterand Woodford. It was one of about 40 given awayby Hawker Siddeley Aviation to schools. ATCcadet units and museums, this particular aircraftbeing acquired by No 18t15 Squadron, ATC.

One Vampire T11 remains airworthy with theRAF. XH304 shares the limelight with a MeteorT7 as part of the Vintage Pair, administered by the

Above le{t:W2419 was the development T1 1 fitted with a pair ofeiector seats under a clear view canopy, and dorsalfairings on the fins. Later production aircraft werebuilt to this specification: earlier ones were modified.

Left:The last RAF training unit equipped with VampireT1 1s was No 3 FTS which used the aircraft for the:nstruction of foreign students, The aircraft wereretired on 29 November 1967. Philip Birtles

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Page 52: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Page 53: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


fury-uMpwffiI $u'*u!r w

Above left:A total of 73 Vampire T Mk 22s was ordered by the RN,initially appearing to tho early standard, but latermodified. The first pre-production aircraft. WW458'made its maiden flight on 1 December 1951 .

Left:A small number of T22s were used by the FAA asadmirals' barges and painted in a non-standardlivery, FAA Museum

Top:One of the FAA training units to use T22s was738 Squadron, based at RNAS Lossiemouth.FAA Museum

Above:Vampire T22 XA129 was used by Aimork at Yeoviltonwith the Air Directors School and is now preserved bythe FAAMuseum. Philip Birtles

CFS which is now based at Scampton. At least oneis also flown privately from time to time.

A total of 73 Vampire T22s was ordered for theFleet Air Arm, all built at Christchurch. The firstaircraft, XA100, flew in May 1953 and was

allocated to company trials before delivery toLossiemouth in July 1956. XA101 was flown to the

A&AEE in August 1953 and XA102 was flown bythe Handling Squadron for the compilation ofpilots' notes. The first delivered were 11 aircraft,xA103 to XA113, to RNAS Stretton on 18 Sep-tember 1953. The aircraft differed iittle from theRAF T11s except for their Naval equipment. Theydid not have arrester hooks, and initially ejectorseats were not fitted, but a retrofit programmecommenced in 1956 to correct this latter omission.

Vampire T22s entered FAA service with 740

Squadron at Lossiemouth, and rvere also used by759 and 763 Squadrons at Lossiemouth, 73u

Squadron at Brawdy, Airwork at Yeovilton andsome of the FAA station flights. At least one was

used as an Admiral's Barge, painted in a ratherattractive navy blue livery. Production was

completed wtth XG771 , which was delivered toLossiemouth on 25 May 1955, later serving with738 Squadron. Following withdrawal from servicein the mid-1960s. this aircraft was stored withothers at No 5 MU Kemble before purchase byHawker Siddeley Aviation, and becarne part of a

batch dismantled and shipped to Chile at the endof 1972.


Page 54: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Vampire Trainers Overseas

With the excellent overseas market established byde Havilland with the fighter and fighter-bombers,many satisfied customers also showed interest inthe trainer. This not only provided them with acost effective multi-role advanced trainer, but alsotook advantage of the commonality in spares andsupport already firmly established.

The Australian Government became the first ofthese customers when in 1951 it ordered 36Vampire T33s for the RAAF, followed by fiveT34s for the RAN. These aircraft were builtinitially to the early RAF standard with the oldcanopies and fins. However, by the time the orderwas being completed, the new canopies were fittedover ejector seats for the two crew, and the dorsalfairings replaced the bullet shape on the fins. lnthis up-to-date form the RAAF aircraft were

Below:New Zealand ordered six Vampire trainers as newaircraft, and later acquired five ex-RAF T1 1 s foradvanced training. RNZAF

Above right:The SAAF T55s were equipped for full weaponstraining, remaining in service until the 1 97Os. SAAF

Centre right:The Vampire T55 was known as tho J.28C in Swedenand a number served with F5 training school.Although the fins had been modified, the originalcanopywasretained. BSAF

Bottom right:The Vampire trainer continues in service for advancedtraining with the Swiss Air Force. Gomparison of thisphotograph with that of the FB6 in chapter 4 gives agood indication of tho differences in configuration oftho two typos. Philip Birtles

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Page 57: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Top left:The largest overseas order for Vampire train€rs camefrom lndia with 53 being delivered from the UK and afurther 6O built under licence. The early canopieswere later replaced.

Above left:Lebanese Air Force T55 Ll 51 was the first of fouraircraft ordered, all of which wete later fitted with thenew canopy. Note the drop tanks fitted for the ferryflisht.

Left:The lraqi Air Force ordered T55s for conversiontraining without eiector seats, the first aircraft,No 333, being delivered on 24 May 1953.

Above:J-Ol was the first of five T55s for Chile, an order towhich was latet added the demonstrator.

re-designated T35s, and were used for advancedflying and weapons training. The earlier aircraftwere modified retrospectively as T.33As andT.34As, a further order being placed in 1955 for 68T.35s and one T.34A to be produced under licenceby de Havilland Australia. In addition four

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Vampire T.22s, including XG766 and XG770,were re-allocated from the FAA order and inmid-1954 equipped 724 Squadron RAN as its firstjet aircraft.

New Zealand joined its neighbour by orderingsix Vampire T55s, the export version, in late 1951.

All six, N25701 to N25706, were for the RNZAF,and were built to the earlier configuration. Thefirst was delivered on 27 April 1952, and fiveex-RAF T11s fitted with ejector seats were lateradded. They served with No 75 Squadron untilL954, passing to the fighter Operational Conver-sion Unit formed at Okakea to take over jetaircrew training. The FOCU was disbanded at theend of June 1955, to be re-formed as the JetConversion Unit to operate the Vampires in theadvanced training role. In early 1960 the JCU wasreplaced by the Bomber Conversion Unit whichwas equipped with Canberras, two Vampire FB5sand four Vampire trainers for bomber aircrewconversion. No 75 Squadron re-equipped on1 September 1963 with eight FB5s and fourtrainers until Skyhawks were delivered in May

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1970. The Vampires passed to No 14 Squadron,where they remained until retirement at the end of1.972, to be replaced by Strikemasters.

The next customer was the South African AirForce, which ordered an initial batch of sixVampire T55s powered by Goblin 35 engines tothe early RAF standard and fitted with four 20mmcannon under the fuselage. Provision was madeunder the wings for the carriage of bombs, rocketsand a pair of 100gal drop tanks. The first of theseaircraft, SA22\, was delivered on 26 May 1952 foroperational conversion training to the single-seatVampires and later Sabres. A further orderfollowed for 19 Vampire T55s, commencingSA257, to the later standard with ejector seats,

Right:Finland ordered nine Vampire T55s for conversion andadvanced training: here VT-1 and VT-2, withoutei6ctor seats, are ready for delivery from Hatfield.

Below:The Union of Burma was a new Vampire customerwhen it ordered eight trainers as its first iet aircraft.

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


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Page 60: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

and the earlier aircraft were modified. One ofthese aircraft was still flying in the late 1970s fordisplays at air shows.

The first E,uropean order came for six VampireT55s for the Royal Norwegian Air Force, to thesame basic standard as the SAAF aircraft. Thefirst, PX-E, was delivered on 28 July 1952 toNo 337 Squadron at Gardermoen, but in 1955 theyall returned to Britain to be overhauled byMarshalls as XJ771 toXJ776, for the RAF.

Venezuela ordered one T55. 23-A-36, which wasdelivered on 16 September 1952 to the samestandard and armament as the SAAF aircraft. Fivemore were ordered on 17 April 1958, the first(2E-35) being delivered on 30 May for jetconversion training with the Escttudrrin de CazaNo 35 at the Mariscal Sucre airbase.

Below:Th€ eaght T55s for lndonesia were not fitted witheiector seats. They were used for advanced trainingand ground attack duties, and had four cannon androcket rails.

Bottom:One Vampire T55, 63-5571, was delivered to Japan in1 955 for evaluation, but no further orders resulted.The aircraft is preserved at Gifu Air Baso.

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A new customer was the Portuguese Army AirForce, which ordered two T55s to the earlystandard with provision for the fitment of cannonand bomb and rocket carriers. These aircraft(P.5801 and P.5802) were delivered on 4 Decem-ber 1952 to Ota airbase near Lisbon.

The Royal Swedish Air Force became one of thelargest Vampire trainer customers when it ordered45 Goblin 3-powered aircraft, the first 30 to theearlier modification standard with provision for thefitment of cannon, bomb and rocket carriers. andSwedish drop tanks. The Iirst batch, 28411 to28440, was delivered between 16 February and10 November 1953 allowing the first advanced pilottraining course to commence at F5 Wing,Ljunbyhed in Southern Sweden in March 1954.The students completed 75 hours initial training onSafirs, followed by 100 hours advanced training onVampires, before converting to the iet fighters.The remaining 15 aircraft, 28441 to 28455, weredelivered at the end of 1955 and had ejector seats,the new canopy and dorsal fairings.

The Swiss Air Force had a need for an advancedjet trainer to convert its pilots to Vampires andother jet combat aircraft. Initially three VampireT11s, U-1001 to U-1003, were supplied in 1953 for




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evaluation, fitted with the dorsal fin fairings, butstill had the early canopies without ejector seats.The next order, following successful evaluation,came in 1956, for a further seven aircraft to theimproved T55 standard with the clear view canopyand ejector seats for the two crew, and in 1960 thethree initial aircraft, which by now had becotneU-1201 to U-1203, were brought up to the samestandard. The training load increased from thestraight-forward conversion task, to include a fullprogramme of advanced blind flying training as afollow-on to the basic training in the Pilatus P3. Asa result, a further 20 Vampire T55s were orderedin 1958, all the aircraft being equipped forarmament training with four cannon and under-wing bomb and rocket launchers. For these aircraftde Havilland supplied the wooden fuselage nacelleand Goblin 3 engines, while F&W at Emmen builtall the metal parts under licence. IJowever, therewere still insufficient Vampire trainers, so nineex-RAF aircraft were purchased from de Havil-land in 1967 and transported by road toAltensheim in S'rvitzerland, where they werecompletely overhauled by the Flug & Fahrzeung-werke (FFA) as U-1231 to U-1239. Two aircraft inthe 1958 order, U-1211 and U-1219, were fittedwith remote controlled nose mounted cinecameras. The Vampire trainer continues to servein small numbers with the Swiss Air Force. andretirement does not appear to be imminent.

The largest overseas order for Vampire trainerscame from India for 53 T55s powered by theGoblin 35 engine and built to the latter standardwith ejector seats. Four cannon were fitted, withprovision for the carriage of bombs. rockets anddrop tanks. The first, Iy46l , was delivered on12May 1953 and the last, BY-386, on 6 February1958. Meanwhile a further 60 were built underlicence by the Hindustan Aeronautics atBangalore.

The Lebanon ordered one Vampire T55 withejector seats, four cannons and the usual provisionfor underwing stores, L151 being delivered on24 August 1953 to Kleyate for jet conversionduties. Three more aircraft were soon added tocomplement L151.

The Iraqi Air Force required a trainer to convertits pilots on to its Vampires, and ordered sevenT55s without ejector seats but with the fullarmament provision: the first, '333', was deliveredon 24 May 1953.

In 1956 demonstrator Varnpire T55 G-AOXHwas shipped from Chester to Buenos Aires, andassembled at the Argentine Air Force Base atMoron. Flown by George Errington on 15 Decem-ber, it commenced a 30,000-mile tour of Argen-tina, Peru, Uruguay and Chile arriving in Chile on16 April 1957. It was handed over to the Chilean

Air Force to add to the five T01s and T05s orderedon 22 October 1953, the first of which wasdelivered on 10 June 1954. By 1972 only oneremained serviceable. To overcome the shortageof suitable trainers, six ex-RN Vampire T22s wereremoved from store at St Athan, packed atChester and shipped to Chile, where they wereoverhauled for service.

On 23 March 1955 the Finnish Air Forceordered four T55s, later increased to nine,powered by Goblin 35 engines but without ejectorseats. Only two cannon were fitted and the usualunderwing stores could be carried. The aircraftwere used for flying conversion to the VampireFB52s and later for advanced training in prep-aration for the Folland Gnat.

A new Vampire customer was the Union ofBurma Air Force, which ordered eight T55s in1954 to the later standard, as part of itsmodernisation programme. Only two cannon werefitted in addition to the underwing storescapability, and the first four aircraft, UB.501 toUB.504, were delivered to Mingaladon Air Basenear Rangoon on 7 December 1954.

To add to its Vampire FB9s, the SouthernRhodesia Air Force acquired eight ex-RAFVampire T11s. These were delivered from Bensonto Salisbury in the spring of 1956, the 5,500nmferry flight being accomplished in seven stages.

Four more ex-RAF T11s were soon added, and theaircraft continued to operate with No 2 Squadroninto the early 1970s.

In the spring of 1955 Egypt placed an order for12 Vampire trainers without ejector seats, but withfull armament capability. The first, No 1570, wasdelivered on 6 July the same year to Fayid to beused for advanced training to prepare studentpilots for flying the Soviet supplied MiG-15s.

Another new Vampire customer was Indonesia,which ordered eight T.55s to the later standard.fitted with four cannon and stores carriers forbombs, rockets and fuel tanks. Indonesia was the19th customer, and by this time over 800 Vampiretrainers were in service world-wide. The eightaircraft, J.701 to J.708, were shipped on29 December 1955, and after assembly they werehanded over on 20 February 1956 at Hussean AirBase, Bandung to form the Indonesian Air Force'sfirst jet squadron.

Vampire trainer No 63-5571, built to the lateststandard and fitted with ejector seats, wasdelivered to Japan on 8 November 1955 forevaluation by the Air Self Defence Force. It wasnot adopted, but the aircraft was retained by theexperimental squadron. It was later preserved atGifu Air Base.

The Arab Legion Air Force, later to become theRoyal Jordanian Air Force, acquired two ex-RAF


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Vampire T11s without ejector seats in 1955. In1960 a further ex-RAF aircraft to the laterstandard was added. The aircraft were usedinitially to convert pilots to fly the Vampire FB9s,and later as advanced trainers to prepare pilots forthe more sophisticated Hunters.

From nearer at home came an order for threeT55s for the Irish Air Corps in early 1956. Theywere to the later standard with ejector seats, butarmament was limited to two cannon and rocketcarriers only. The first aircraft, No 185, wasdelivered on 15 May 1956, followed by Nos 186and 187 on 20 July, for jet conversion training andfighter/ground-attack duties. Three more T55s,Nos 191-193, were added in early 1961, and anex-RAF T11 was delivered on 30 August i963 forground instruction of maintenance engineers.

Below:One of the frustratod export orders was for VampireT55s Nos 493 and 494 for Syria, which wereembargoed by the British Government,

Bottom:The Austrian Air Force was the ultimat6 customei forthe T55, Iat6r aircraft coming from RAF stocks. Theoriginal SC-YA crashed in Snowdonia while on a t6stflight after returning to the UK for overhaul; theSC-YA shown here is an ex-RAF replacement.Philip Birtles

Two frustrated overseas orders were fromCeylon and Syria. The Ceylon Governmentordered five T55s in 1951; these were packed andshipped to Colombo. After unloading at the docks,however, the decision was changed, and they werereturned to Britain unpacked. No records exist oftheir ultimate fate, although they were probablyused for spares. The Syrian order was for two T55sto the latest standard with full armament andstores provision, placed in early 1956. They wereready for delivery in July 1956, but an embargowas placed by the British Government on armssupply to Syria and both aircraft were stored atHatfield until scrapped in the early 1960s.

In January 1957 rhe Austrian Air Force becamethe final Vampire trainer customer when it orderedthree T55s to the latest standard with ejector seatsand full provision for armament and storescarriage. The first, 5C-YA, was delivered on26 March, only two months after the order, andtwo more were ordered in January 1961. Austriahad a further requirement after the production linehad closed down. acquiring three ex-RAF T11s inJanuary \964. The aircraft operated first fromGrazlThalerhof and later Horsching near Linz, andreturned regularly to Chester for overhaul, whereone of the aircraft crashed on a test flight. Thisaircraft was replaced by an ex-RAF T11 and thelast was retired in I971, .

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The Venom Fig

The Venom, originally known as the VampireFB8, was designed to specification F.15/49 as aninterim replacement for the Vampire fighter-bombers, pending the late introduction of Huntersand Swifts to the RAF. In fact the SupermarineSwift proved almost totally unsatisfactory, and theHawker Hunter did not make a suitable ground-attack aircraft until the FGA9 entered service.Therefore, Venoms served more widely andremained in operation much longer than antici-pated, the final ones being retired from activeduties in Switzerland in August 1983.

Although the Venom had the same basic layoutas the Vampire, it differed in a number ofsignificant aspects. Power came from a 4,8501bthrust Ghost 103 engine, and to take advantage ofthis a new wing was designed with a leading edge

sweepback of 17' 6', and the thickness/chord ratioreduced from 14"h to 10%. The wing trailing edgewas straight and the structure was stressed for theinstallation of a pair of 75gal wing tip tanks inaddition to the underwing stores positions,allowing full combat manoeuvring while full. Thewing tip tanks were not jettisonable in flight, butwere an optional fit if required.

Below:The prototype Venom FB1, VV61 2, first flew on1 September 1949 and appeared at the SBAC displayat Farnborough a few days later.

Bottom:The second prototyp€ Venom FBl , W613, was usedto test tho carriage of a pair of wing tip tanks andunderwing drop tanks.

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The De Havilland Venom F Mkl (DH1 121.James Goulding


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The prototype Venom FB1, VV6l2, madc its

first flight from Hatfield piloted by John Derry on

2 September 1949 and, follorving company flighttrials. was delivered to the A&AEE BoscombeDown for testing in May i950. The aircratl rvas

considered reasonably satisfactory. but furtherre{inement rvas required. Despite somc faultsivhich needcd correction. the aircraft shorved a

noticeable aclvantage in mock combat rvith trvo

current fighters, a creditable performancc in vicrvof the fact that the Venorn was optimisccl forground attack.

The second prototype, VV613. joinecl thedevcloprnent programme on 23 July 1950 ancl rvas

clelivered to the A&AEE on 3 April i951 forfurther trials to assess any improvements. It was

found that the rate of roll without wing tip tankswas poor. but with them fitted it rvas dcplorable.The rvings had drooped leading edges in an effortto cure a nose pitch-up at medium and highaltitucles. but the first production aircraft. WE255.had this problem return rvith the deterioration ofthe rving surfacc. However, the aircraft had been

Below:The first production Venom FB1, WE255' carried outunderwing bomb carrying trials.

Bottom:The early Venom FBl s which performed operationaltrials with No 11 Squadron had red bands painted onthe wings to signify that only restricted manoeuvreswere allowed. F/ight

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Top:No 266 Squadron was part of the Venom-oquippedNo 123 Wing at Wunstorf, receiving its FBls inOctober 1952. J. D. R. Bawlings

Above:No 11 Squadron later received full prodrictionstandard FBls without flight restrictions. Air Ministry

flown at altitudes up to 51,000f1 with reasonablysatisfactory control characteristics.

Regret was expressed at Boscombe Down at thelack of ejector seat for the pilot, but it was to befitted in later production aircraft. Other externalchanges from the Vampire included wing fences toeliminate tip stall on the approach to landing, andbullet fairings at the fin and tailplane junction,although the later Venom FB4 had flatter-toppedrudders with a trailing edge bullet fairing added.Fixed armament of the Venom was four under-nose mounted 20mm Hispano Mk V cannon. Two1,0001b bombs or eight 60lb rockets could becarried on underwing pylons.

Meanwhile the first prototype was delivered tothe de Havilland Engine Co at Hatfield on18 Dccember 1950 to have a two-position reheatfitted to the Ghost engine. The second prototypeended its days on ground instruction duties atRNAS Arbroath as A.2327 in 1955.

The first six production Venoms, W8255 toWE260, were flown by the A&AEE and themanufacturer on trials. WE255 was used foraerodynamic and controllability developmentincluding the measurement of control columnforces. It eventually became 7187M at No 2 Schoolof Technical Training on 7 February 1955. WE256


was used for a variety of trial installations and fueltests, before undertaking gun firing trials atBoscombe Down. It was retired to No lgMU atSt Athan as 7228M on 7 July f955. W8257 was thehigh speed development aircraft delivered toBoscombe Down on 9 January 1952.It went to theHandling Squadron at Manby on 16 April for thecompilation of pilot's notes and was retired toground training at Halton as 7133M on 18 March1954. WE258 was delivered to Boscombe Down on12 February 1952. WE259 first flew on 28 Novem-ber 1951, going to Boscombe the following9 January, and W8260 first flew on 29 December1951 for stick shaker and power control develop-ment, passing to the A&AEE on 25 April.

The first delivery to the RAF was of WE263 tothe Central Fighter Estabiishment (CFE) at WestRaynham on 21 April 1952. lt was joined byWE265 on 25 April and WE261 on 8 May for fullservice evaluation before entry into squadronservice.

WE262 was used for the evaluation of aredesigned instrument panel and tip tank trials in1952, ending up as 7134M at Halton on 18 March19-54. WE26-5 first flew on 2 May 1952 and wasdelivered to Christchurch for development flyingon i5 May. It was joined by WE269 on 4 July, butWE265 left for Boscombe on 27 August.

WE266 first flew on 3 April 1952 and rvasretained by de Haviltand for development flying,going to Nameo in Canada in late 1952 for coldweather trials. It retired to Halton as 7211M on24 May 1955. WE267 was delivered to the RAEFarnborough on 8 May 1952,later to be joined bywE268.

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'i r:*A

Above:No 94 Squadron, which formed an a€robatic t€am,was part of theVenom-equipped No 121 Wing atFassberg.

After the first 15 production aircraft were builtat Hatfield, the production line was moved to thelarger Chester factory, the first aircraft (WE270)being delivered to No 22 MU on 26 July 1952.Small batches werc also assembled by FaireyAviation at Ringway and Marshalls of Cambridge.Plans were also made for the Bristol Aeroplane Coat Filton, to build a further 132 FBls commencingWL892. but these were cancelled before com-pletion ofany ofthe aircraft. A total of375 VenomFBls were built for the RAF, mainly at Chester.the last one, WR273, being delivered to No 29 MUon 29 December 1954.

Venoms continued in a variety of trials anddevelopment work, WE272 being used for flutterchecks after delivery to Boscombe on 1 September1952. WE275 was a Hatfield assembled aircraft.out of sequence, which was delivered to Christch-urch on 30 June 7952 for high altitude develop-ment flying. W8279 was delivered to Folland on.l September 1952 for trials work, and WE280 wasdelivered to A&AEE on 27 January 1953.Following its demonstration at the SBAC displayat Farnborough in September 1952, WE28l wasused for high Mach number flutter trials in 1953.WE315 was delivered to Christchurch on 1 Fe-bruary 1953 as the first aircraft fitted with ejectorseat. The CFE also operated WE313 and WE,314,both being delivered on 9 March 1953.


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No single-seat Venoms operated with RAFsquadrons in Britain, but they served widely in the2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany, and in thehigh temperatures of Cyprus, the Middle East,Africa and Asia.

The first overseas unit to receive Venoms wasNo 11 Squadron at Wunstorf in Germany, whichexchanged its Vampires in August 1952 and wasresponsible for the operational service trials.These carly aircraft suffered from weaknesses inthe wing structure, which subjected them to flightlimitations; as a warning, broad orange bands werepainted across the wings. The aircraft were firstoperated on a trial basis in the NATO Exercise'Mainbrace', a largely Naval exercise. FourVenoms from No 11 Squadron were joined by twomore from the CFE for Exercise 'Flold Fast' from15 to 23 September.

During the early days with the Venoms No 11

Squadron found that some of the other NATO airforces were unfamiliar with cartridge startingprocedures. It only needed the sight of a line-up ofVenoms belching flame and black smoke out of thetop ofthe engine cowlings to cause the alarm to besounded. By the time the emergency services hadarrived, the aircraft would be taxying for take-off,unaware of the problems caused.

The earlier aircraft with No 11 Squadron werereplaced with more combat-ready examples whileNos 266 (Rhodesia) and 5 Squadrons re-equippedwith Venoms at Wunstorf, forming No 123 Wing inFebruary 1954. By this time the first aircraft withejector seats fitted had been issued. Squadronpilots were well satisfied with the performance ofthe Venom: it proved to be an outstanding

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MreffrF# d,&ry

Top:Tho Venoms of No 1 1 Squadron used the Fassbergrange for air-to-ground firings - Air Ministry

Above:Based at Tengah in Singapore, the RNZAF No 1 4Squadron hired its Venom FBls from the RAF.

Left:No 6 Squadron re-equipped with FBl s at Amman inFebruary 1954. RAF

interceptor and ground attack aircraft, fitting inwell between the heavy load carrying Thunderjetand the transonic Sabre. The \/enom was also ableto account well for itself in combat with swept wingaircraft, especially above 35,000f1, its rate of climbbeing a great advance over the Vampire.

The second Venom wing, No 121, was formed atFassberg in mid-1953. and consisted of Nos 14, 98and 118 Squadrons; the third and final Venomwing in 2TAF was No 139 at Celle. formed duringthe early part of 1954 and comprising Nos 16, 94and 145 Squadrons. All had converted fromVampires. The Fassberg wing changed its Venomsfor Flunters in 1955 and the Celle wing disbandedin 1957.

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wruw.-ffs.#** G

To achieve early familiarisation, No 14 Squad-ron was issued with some of the stress-lirnitedaircraft frorn No 11 Squadron, but they rverereplaced within two months of the Squaclronre-equipping in May 1953.

Despite the overall success of the introduction ofthe Venoms. the aircraft were not totally rvithoutproblems, and No 14 Squadron had its share todeal with. The Squadron was tasked with series ofbombing trials. including dive-bombing frommedium and low levels. On 23 March. during thepull-out of one of the medium-level trials. thestarboard wing of WE368 came off. As thcremainder of the aircraft began to break up, thepilot, Flg Off D'Arcy, pulleci the cjector seathandle and made the first RAF ejection throushthe canopy. In the resulting investigation theu'eakness was found to be in the rear spar andche cks revealed that 75'lo of thc remainingVenoms suffered the same defcct. An immediaternodification programnle was initiated to overcomethe problem.

Another problem rvas a series of mysteriouscrashes, where the evidence had been dcstroyecl byfire. Howcver, in November 1954 Fl Lt Severne ofNo 98 Squadron experienced a fire rvarning.follorving which he was able to makc a successfulforced landing on the Fassberg crash strip. FIe

iumpcd out of his aircraft quickly. and by hackingoff the engine cowlings with an axe, he rvas able todirect a carbon dioxide extinguisher on to the firc.saving the evidence. The accident investigatiorrfouncl that, under certain conditions of zcro 'g'.fuel was venting from the fusclage into the enginecooling air scoops, resulting in flash {ires. For hisaction Fl Lt Severne was awardecl the Air ForceCross.

With these early problems overcome. theVenom rvas found to be ideal for ground attack,due to its manoeuvrability. steadiness as a gun

Above:The Venoms of No 5 Squadron have used a cartridgestart with its familiar plume of smoke. No 5 Squadronwas one of the Wunstorf based units. F/ight

platforn.r, its good endurance, ease of handling andthe ability to carry a wide range of stores. Typicalpractice missions were fighter-bomber attacks onsmall ground targets such as bridges and roadconvoys; Army close supporti airfield defenceagainst air attack; and visual reconnaissance. TheVenoms had an advantage in air-to-air combat, asby using their greater manoeuvrability, they couldfly rings round many modern fighters. The majorshortcoming was a lack of high top speed for theinterception of any fast hostile aircraft. From thepoint of view of servicing and engineering support.the aircraft rvas operated within the Wing. buteach squadron retained its identity with thecommanding officer being responsible for training,discipline and morale.

In April 1954 details wete released of theimprovcd Venom FB4. It was an all-roundirnprovement in detailed design, but the n.rost

noticeable change wiis the revision of the shape ofthe rudder to prevent excessive yaw and possiblerudder locking at low speeds. The FB4 rvas fittedrvith hydraulicirlly operated ailerons to givcimproved control at high Mach numbers, andcould carry underrving fuel tanks, in addition tothe tip tanks. Design work on this version hadbeen transferred to Christchurch and FB1 WE381was taken from the Chester production line forconversion at Christchurch as the prototype FB4.After rnodification WE381 was delivered toBoscornbe Down on 1tt May 1954. where thedropping of thc underwing fuel tanks was includedin its testing. It linished its flying at Farnboroughwhere it rvas scrapped in 1950.


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A total of 151 Venom FB4s was built for theRAF. 52 from Chester, 51 from Hatfield, 33 fromMarshalls and 15 from Fairey. None appears tohave been used for development flying, themajority being issued to the squadrons. The flrstproduction aircraft, WR374, was delivered toNo 29 MU at High Ercall on 28 March 195-5, andthe ulimate single-seat Venom for the RAF wasWR564. delivered to No 22 MU on 28 March 1956,later serving with No 28 Squadron.

The only unit in 2TAF to re-equip with FB4swas No 123 Wing at Wunstorf. starting with No 5

Squadron in July 1955. No 11 Squadron receivedits aircraft in August and No 266 (Rhodesia)Squadron in May 1956. No 121 Wing at Fassbergleft its aircraft and went by road to Jever to collectits Hunters, and No 139 Squadron operated a fewFB4s until disbandment of the squadrons, No 16

September 1957, No 94 on the 15th of the samemonth, and No 145 one month later on15 October.

At this time No 123 Wing began the withdrawalof the Venoms, with No 5 Squadron the flrst to goon 12 October, followed by Nos 11 and 266Squadrons by the end of November. Also inGermany No 213 Squadron re-formed as a

Canberra attack unit on 1 September 1955, andworked up with Venoms until Canberra B(I)6swere delivered in March 1956.

As already mentioned the Venoms servedwidely overseas, in addition to West Germany.No 6 Squadron was the first Middle Eastern unit tofly them when FBls were delivered to Arnman inJordan in February 1954. A move was made inJune to Habbaniya in Iraq where the unit joinedNo 73 Squadron, whose pilots replaced theirVampires with Venoms in December. No 249

Squadron began to re-equip with Venoms atAmman in October 1954, remaining there until1956, when it moved to Akrotiri in Cyprus.

On 15 September 1954 No 32 Squadron in Egyptmoved from Deversoir with its Vampires, toKabrit, on the south side of the Great Bitter Lake.To the pilots' surprise a pair of Venom FBls wereawaiting them and by the following January theSquadron was fully re-equipped. Despite a

struggle to keep the aircraft serviceable because ofa lack of spares, a move was made to Shaibah. viaAmman, on 14 January, where the unit remaineduntil moving to Takali in Malta in October 1955.

No t3 Squadron was the only other MiddleEastern Venom unit, exchanging its Vampire FB9sat Khormaksar, Aden in June 1955. The Squadronhad received its standard at Khormaksar on9 April 1954 and at that time had served in Adenand the surrounding area for over 27 years, makingit the senior fighting unit in the Protectorate. TheSquadron used its aircraft actively against rebeltribesmen as a protection for the local sheikhs and


their oil installations. Detachments were frequen-tly made to Shajah, where the ground crews had tomaintain the aircraft in temperatures of 65'Cwithout shade, making the aircraft too hot totouch. During these detachments spares wereoften a problem, and when an engine access panelwas damaged. the only way to make a repair was tomanufacture a patch from bright yellow beer cans.

On 23 December i954, not long after re-equip-ping with Venoms, No 73 Squadron had four of itsaircraft airborne when a sandstorm hit the airfieldat Habbaniya. The pilots rvere forced to abandontheir aircraft, which they achieved successfully,and by February 1955 when they visited Nicosia inCyprus, replacement aircraft had been supplied.Following a month of exercises the Squadron flewthe 580 miles to its base in t hour and 5 minutes.

On 2 May 1955 the RAF handed overHabbaniya to the Royal Iraqi Air Force and No 73Squadron withdrew to Nicosia. No 6 Squadronremained until April 1956 when it moved toAkrotiri. having become the first unit to receiveFB4s in July 1955. In August four of the newaircraft completed a i0.000-mi1e flight fromHabbaniya to Cape Town and back, during whichthey broke the record from Cape Town toPretoria, previously held by the SAAF. Theycovered the U07 miles in t hour 23 minutes. nineminutes faster than the previous record. Operation'Quick Return' (as the mass flight was called)resulted in the first visit of RAF Venoms as farsouth as Cape Town; under the command of Flt LtMichael Hobson the four aircraft completed theround trip in 14 days, during which they visited 13

airfields giving displays of formation aerobatics.Engineering support was provided by a Valetta ofNo 114 Squadron.

Most of the Venom squadrons in the regionjoined other British and French forces in activeduty during the seven-day Suez crisis from1 November 1956. The Akrotiri-based No 6

Squadron made the first Venom strike againstEgypt led by its Commanding Officer, Sqn LdrP. C. Ellis DFC, when rockets were fired at groundtargets. During the campaign one Venom was lost.

Some of the Middle East-based squadronsre-equipped with the improved FB4s in 1956,including Nos 8, 249 and 73 Squadrons, whichreceived its first aircraft on 19 December. Therewas not time for No 23 Squadron to re-equip as itwas moved from its post-Suez crisis base at Mafraqto Nicosia in January 1957. There its 13 VenomFBls, two Vampire T11s and a Meteor T7 werereplaced by Canberra B2s, the last Venomsdeparting on 14 January.

During 1957 the Venoms of Nos 8 and 249Squadrons were contributing towards the controlof the Aden-Yemen borders, as well as operatingagainst rebel tribesmen in Trucial Oman. In

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reports from Aden of hostilities on the Protecto-rate's frontier with Yemen. the Venoms rvere inaction against Yemeni troops in at least threeareas, including Beihan, where incursions hadbeen made. The Venoms supported troops of theDurham Light Infantry, attacking with rockets andcannon fire. No 73 Squadron also took part inthese activities, firing live rockets and cannon forthe flrst time on 30 August 1956 on ground targetsat Al Taiela. The Squadron had however. movedto Akrotiri by the end of March 1957. andconverted to Canberras.

No 6 Squadron had moved to Akrotiri in Aprili956 and by July 1957 had converted to Canberras,followed by No 249 Squadron the next month. Thisonly left No 8 Squadron in Aden flying Venomsuntil re-equipping with Hunter FGA9s by 7 March1960.

In Asia No 60 Squadron, which had been thefirst Far East Air Force jet squadron, exchangedits Vampires for Venom FBls on 24 Aprll 1955. atTengah, Singapore. At this time No 14 (NZ)Squadron moved from Cyprus to Tengah whereRAF Venom FBls were awaiting, on hire to theNew Zealand Government, consolidating theAustralian and New Zealand forces. Nos 60 and14 (NZ) Squadrons flew together in the MalayanEmergency, making ground attack stikes onterrorist positions often close to allied troops.operations requiring a high level of accuracy.

Further north at Butterworth in Malaya, No 45Squadron received the first of 18 aircraft, FBIWR346, on 10 October 1955, and had completed


Above:No 8 Squadron operated its FB4s in the hot, barrenclimate of Aden.

equipping by the following February. It also tookan active part in the Malayan Emergency, makingsome 300 strikes against terrorist locations beforethe Venoms were retired by 15 November 1957.

No 14 (NZ) Squadron left Tengah for NewZealand on 30 June 195U to re-equip withCanberras, leaving behind its Venoms. Duringtheir stay at Singapore, the squadron pilots hadformed an aerobatic team, one of the specialitiesbeing the writing of the figure '14'in smoke.

The FBls of No 60 Squadron were replaced byFB4s in April 1957 and they continued inoperation in Singapore until replaced by MeteorNF14s in October 1959. The last of its Venomsjoined No 28 Squadron in Hong Kong on13 November 1959.

Based at Sek Kong, six miles from thecommunist border, No 28 Squadron had receivedits first FB1, WR299 'A', in February 1956, and itsduties included patrolling the 'bamboo curtain'.The airheld was one of the most demanding in theRAF, with its single runway surrounded on threesides by high mountains. Take-offs were madetowards the gap, and landings in the oppositedirection, made even more hazardous by theregular strong cross-winds. In June 1957 theairfield was relegated to emergency use only, andNo 28 Squadron moved to the main airport ofHong Kong, Kai Tak. Re-equipment with FB4s


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was completed there. the normal duties of theSquadron being daily armed reconnaissance flightsby the duty pair of aircraft, the object being to spotpirate junks and any illegal activity in the PearleEstuary. During the summer months, patrollingoff the more popular beaches was added to thetasks. to rvarn of sharks and manta rays. When twoof the Venoms collided at 30,000ft about 40 milesout to sea. both pilots ejected successfully andparachuted into the water. They were picked upfairly quickly by a Chinese fishing boat. whosecrew received as a reward. a scroll recording therescue, an enormous sack of rice and $l,000. No 28Squadron became the last RAF unit to operateVenoms. until WR539 'F' flew the last sortie on27 June f962. Hunter FGA9s being thereplacement aircraft.

Although No 28 Squadron was the last unit tcr

operate Venoms. it was not the last unit to bere-equipped with the aircraft. No 142 Squaclronwas re-formed at Eastleigh, Nairobi on 1 February1959 with Venom FB4s, lcd by Sq Ldr Ramirez.Soon after, on 30 March, it rvas renumbcrcdNo 208 Squadron, which had prcviously beenoperating I{unter F6s at Akrotiri. 'Ihe new No 208Squadron was soon involvcd in training. going ondetachment to the Royal Rhodesian Air Forcebase at Thornhill for armament practice. A tour ofRhodesia and Nyasaland foilowed, before

returning to Kenya. During the following monthsthe Squadron participated in various exercises andformed an aerobatic team, which in Augustperformed before the Sultan of Zanzlbar tocelebrate his 80th birthday. No 208 Squadroncontinued to fly effectively in Africa and thePersian Gulf, operations ranging from theNorthem Frontier District of Kenya on Armyco-operation exercises with 24 Brigade, toKhonnaksar, Sharjah and Bahrain. Many of theVenoms began to show their age and werescrapped as they be came time-expired, theSquadron finally returning to Britain on24 March 1960 to re-equip with I{unter FGA9s atStradishall.

Below:The Royal lraqi Air Force operated two squadrons ofVenoms, one of ex-RAF Mk 1 s and the other ofnewly-built FB50s.

Bottom:Venezuela ordered 22 Venom FB54s, the exportversion ofthe FB4. Venezuela

Above right:The Swiss Air Force was a maior user of the Venom,with FB1s, FB4s and a specially adaptedreconnaissance vercion. They were finally retired attho ond of 1983. Philip Birtles

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Page 73: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Export CustomersAlthough the Venom was produced as a relativelyshort-life interim aircraft, it proved to be a

successful export product, following in thefootsteps of the Vampire. Its relatively uncompli-cated development, together with large orders forthe RAF, made the Venom a very cost-effectiveacquisition for a number of air forces. The exportversion of the Venom fighter-bomber rvas knorvnas the FB50.

The first overseas customer was the Italian AirForce, which ordered two FB50s, MM6153 andMM6154, both delivered on 21 February 1953. tobe followed by licence production by Fiat. In theevent these plans did not materialise and noVenoms were built in Italy.

With the Royal Iraqi Air Force taking overresponsibility for the defence of its country. abatch of FBls were supplied to equip No 5

Squadron. The first one was delivered toHabbaniya in May 1954, by George Thornton. ade Havilland test pilot, in a time of 6 hours 25minutes, and the Squadron was completelyequipped by early 1955. An order followed for 15

FB50s, Nos 352 to 366, to equip No 6 Squadron.also at Habbaniya. They were delivered betrveen8 April 1955 and 3 February 1956.

In July 1955 Venezuela ordered 22 FB54s. theexport version of the FB4, all of which were builtat Chester. The first aircraft, 1A-34, was delivercdto No 34 Squadron at Maiquetta on 1 December1955, and the final one. 8C-34, on 17 August, 1956.They remained in service until the end of 1965rvhen they were replaced by Hawker Flunters.

The major overseas user of the Venom was theSwiss Air Force. which undertook a detailedevaluation in both Britain and Switzerland. After a

successful conclusion, licence production com-menced in 1953 of 126 FBls (J-1501 to J-1625) atF&W Emmen, Doflug Altenshein and Pilatus AGStans. It was also decided to build the Ghost 48engine in Switzerland, licence production beingthe responsibility of Sulzer Brothers at Winter-

thur. However, because of a lack of enginemanufacturing experience, compared with that forairframes, the first 35 engines were supplied directby cle Havilland, and Swiss-built Ghost enginesrvere installed in the 30th and subsequent aircraft.The production rate eventually achieved sixaircraft per month.

Because of delays in the selection of a newcombat aircraft by the Swiss Government, theVenoms had to continue in operation much longerthan anticipated. Although the wooden fuselagedid not suffer from fatigue, the metal structurebegan to show signs of age. Extensive fatiguetesting was carried out by F&W at Emmen, and asa result a number of strengthening modificationswere made, more than doubling the service life ofthe aircraft. Monitoring of the structural conditioncontinued during the life of the aircraft to avoidany restrictions being imposed on the normaloperations.

In 1956 the same group of factories produced 24reconnaissance versions of the Venom FB1, serialscommencing at J-1626.In addition to the standardequipment, these Venoms, known as FBlRs, hadfixed underwing fuel tanks with a number ofautomatic aerial cameras installed in the forwardportion. When the replacement Mirage IIIRreconnaissance aircraft were delivered in 1969. thespecial Venoms were reduced to eight aircraftretained for training purposes, the remainderbeing converted to the normal combat standard.

Finally, in 1956 100 Venom FB4s equipped rvithUHF radio and an improved bomb sight werelicence-built. commencing J- 1701.

The Swiss Air Force Venoms were used mainlyin the ground attack role. In 1965 a total of 11

combat Staffeln were equipped with Venorns.crewecl by the part-time militia pilots. and in theeaily 1970s, rvhen some of the aircraft were 16years old, some 200 were still in service with 14squadrons. The final aircraft were withdrarvn inthe latter half of 1983, a number being sold toenthusiasts for preservation.


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Venom Night Fighters

The two-seat Venom NF2 was developed by deHavilland from the single-seat Venom, in a similarway to the early Vampire night fighter from theVampire fighter-bomber. The Venom Wings, tailand engine installation were retained, but a newfuselage nacelle was designed to accommodate apilot and observer side-by-side, and the AI radarwas located in the lengthened nose. The proto-type, G-5-3, was produced as a private venture byde Havilland, and was flown by John Derry fromHatfield for the first time on 22 August 1950,powered by a 4,8501b thrust Ghost 103 engine. Thefirst public appearance was at the SBAC display atFarnborough the following month.

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The prototype was adopted by the RAF as

WP227 when it was delivered to Boscombe Downon 3 April 1951 for evaluation until September.During preliminary handling trials the rate of rollwas found to be barely adequate for a night fighter,and would be totally unsuitable for all-weatheroperations. Great regret was expressed at the lackof any intention to fit ejector seats for the crew,although the good all-round view and roominess ofthe cockpit was praised.

The first seven of the 90 production VenomNF2s were built at Hatfield, commencing withWL804 which first flew on 4 March 1952 but wasdestroyed in a crash early in its development




Page 75: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

programme. WL805 and WL807 were used forcontrol development at Christchurch and WL806rvas delivered to Boscombe Down on i1 Septem-ber 1952. WL808 flew on elevator dither and buffettrials, before going to Boscombe Down on25 February 1953 and later to CFE at WestRaynham. WL809 and WLu12 were evaluated b1,

NATO, WL809 then going to Boscombe on5 January 1953 and WLU12 to de HavillandPropellers on 8 January. WL810 had dorsal finfairings and flew on underwing drop fuel tank trialsat Christchurch. The new clear view canopy rvas

Below left:The Venom NF2 prototype, G-5-3, was developed as aprivate venture interim night fighter and the type waslater adopted by the RAF.

Below:The NF2 used the basic Venom single-seat airframewith a two-seat side by side cockpit and Al radar in anextended nose. No 23 Squadron based at Coltishallwas the only unit to use the early NF2s,

Bottom:No 253 Squadron was equipped with the improvedVenom NF2AS at Waterbeach from April 1 955 untilAugust 1957. J. D. R. Rawlings

tried on WL811 at Christchurch. the first NF2 offthe Chester production line. WL814 was used tocheck the new large chord elevator and dorsal fininstallation before going to the A&AEE. WL813rvas delivered to de Havilland Propellers on5 December 1952, followed by WL820 on 9 June1953. both aircraft being allocated to Firestreakair-to-air missile development.

The first delivery to the RAF was WLS17 to theHandling Squadron at Manby on 6 May 1953 forthe compilation of pilots' notes, and WL816 andWL818 were delivered to the CFE, at WestRaynham on 22 May. The first squadron aircraftrvere deliverecl from the production line in one sideof Hawarden airfield to No 48 MU on the otherside.

The first squadron to equip with Venom NF2srvas at Coltishall in December 1953. The Squadronmade its operational debut in Exercise 'Dividend'in July 1954, but because of a high accident ratervhen pilots found themselves in difficulties at nighton the approach, it was the only unit to operate thebasic NF2s.

In an effort to overcome these difficulties. thesurviving NF2s were fitted with jettisonable clear

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Page 77: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

view canopies and improvements to the controlsincluding modified fins and rudders as developedduring the trials programme. These aircraft wereknown as NF2As.

The first of these improved aircraft wasdelivered to No 253 Squadron at Waterbeach on16 April 1955. The only other units to operate theNF2As were No 219 Squadron formed at Driffieldon 5 September 1955 and No 33 Squadron. whichjoined it the following month. No 33 Squadrononly operated the aircraft for 15 months beforedisbanding in January 1957, followed by No 219Squadron on 31 July. The last NF2As were

Left:Venom NF2As were used by No 21 9 Squadron atDriffield from September 1955 until July 1957.Eric Taylor

Below left:The NF3 prototype, VW928, was built at Christchurch.It had a number of improvements, but no eiectorseats.

Below:The production standard NF3 had a clear view canopywithout eiector sgats, and the tailplane extensionsremoved.

withdrawn when No 253 Squadron disbanded atWaterbeach on 31 August 1957.

The Venom NF3 incorporated the NF2Aimprovements in a new production aircraft inaddition to having power operated ailerons, a

wholly inset tailplane and improved AI radar.There were still no ejector seats fitted. Theprototype NF3, WV928. made its first flight on22 February 1953 and was followed by 128

production aircraft commencing WX875, 19 fromChristchurch, 86 from Chester and 23 fromI{atfield. WX786 to WX788 were used byChristchurch for development flying, WX788being allocated to spinning trials and fitted with ananti-spin parachute. XW786 was delivered to theA&AEE during 1954, WX792 arrived atBoscombe on 8 January 1955, and WX789 wasdelivered to the de Havilland Engine Co atHatfield on 25 August 1954. WX790 was used forstalling trials and WX793 for cockpit de-icingdevelopment. The first RAF delivery was WX791,which was flown from Christchurch to No 48 MUon 29 March 1955.

NF3s entered service with No 141 Squadron atColtishall in June 1955, and No 23 Squadron,commanded by Wg Cdr P. L. Chilton DSO, DFC,

Page 78: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Top:The NFSs of No 141 Squadron at Goltishall werereplaced by Gloster Javelins.

Above:The Royal Swedish Air Force was the only export userof the Venom night fighter, known as the J.33 inSwedish service. The aircraft were NF Mk 51s, similarto the RAF NF2s: NF51 No 33OO3 is shown here withtwo trainers ready for delivery from Hatfield.

exchanged its NF2s for NF3s three months later.Three other Venom night fighter units wereformed; No 89 Squadron on 15 December 1955

and No 125 Squadron early the following year tomake up the Stradishall wing; and No 151

Squadron at Leuchars in June 1957, whichre-equipped when most of the other squadrons haddisposed of their Venoms.

The Venom NF3s at Coltishall were replaced byJavelins from March 1957. The Stradishall wingbegan to run down its Venom operations whenNo 125 Squadron disbanded on 10 May 1957, andthe last of No 89 Squadron's Venoms had departedby early 1958. No 151 Squadron remained atLeuchars until disbanded on 18 September 1961.



One export sale of the Venom night fighter,known as the NF51, was made. On 16 September1952 the Swedish Government announced anorder for 62 NF51s. known at J.33s in Swedishservice. The aircraft were built at Chester and byFairey at Ringway, the Swedish licence-builtGhost engines being shipped to the productionlines. The serial numbers allocated were 33001 to33062, and deliveries took place from 11 Decem-ber 1952 until 15 July 1957. The early aircraft weredelivered to NF2 standard, but by the end ofproduction they were up to NF3 standard; theearlier aircraft were also modified. The Venomsbecame the principal night fighters in theFlygvapret drring 1955 and were operated by threesquadrons based at the night fighter wing atVasteras. Four of these Venoms were retainedafter retirement from combat duty for high speedtarget towing, operated by Swedair from Visdel.They had civil registrations, one example beingSE-DCD.

Now only one relatively complete Venom nightfighter remains, NF3 WX853 at the MosquitoAircraft Museum at Salisbury Hall. It served withNo 23 Squadron and is currently being restored,having been parked in the open for many years.


Page 79: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

10Venoms With Flooks

The Sea Venom was an adaptation of the Venomnight fighter airframe intended to achieve the bestpossible performance out of the design, as aninterim naval all-weather fighter to fill the gapbetween the piston-engined Sea Hornet and theintroduction of the more sophisticated Sea Vixen.The design team, led by W. A. Tamblin, was basedat the old Airspeed factory at Christchurch to

avoid the overcrowding at Hatfield where mucheffort was going into the Comet jet airliner.

The original prototype Venom NF2, WP227,was evaluated by the Fleet Air Arm, and as a

result Specification N.107 was issued for a

ship-based all-weather fighter resulting in the SeaVenom. The most obvious changes included theprovision of upward-folding wings at about half

Above:The Sea Venom prototype WK376 was fitted with anarlo$tel hook, but retained the old canopy and fin andrudder shape.

Below:Sea Venom FAW21 WM574 was fitted with enlargedblown flaps for trials at RAE Bedford.


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Page 81: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above left:Blown flap Sea Venom WM574 was also used for trialson HMS Ark Royal in April 1956, with its approachspeeds much reduced.

Left:The prototype Sea Venom FAW21, XA539, made itsmaiden flight from the grass at Chr;stchurch on21 May 1954.

Below left:Sea Venom prototype WK376 made an initial series ofdeck trials on HMS Eagle in May 1952.

Above:The ultimate Sea Venom development was the FAW22with a more powerful Ghost engine. Earlier aircraftwere retrofitted. This is development aircfaft xG612photographed over the Needles.

chord to save stowage space on the carrier, a

V-frame arrester hook normally stowed above thejet pipe, and the pick-up hooks for the catapultstrops. Power came from a 4,8501b thrust Ghost103 engine.Three prototypes were ordered, the first two,WK376 and WK379, being built in the Exper-imental Department at Hatfield, and the third,WK385, at Christchurch. WK376 first flew fromHatfield on 19 April 1951 and was delivered onemonth later to the A&AEE at Boscombe Downl itcommenced carrier trials on 9 July from HMSIllustrious. The second aircraft was delivered toBoscombe on 19 September 1952, while the thirdprototype was the first to be fitted with foldings'ings and made its first flight from Christchurch on26 July 1952.

Production then commenced at Christchurchand Chester. The first aircraft, WM500, flew on

27 March 1953 from Christchurch and was initiallyallocated to company trials. It was followed byWM501 and WM502 which were both used forcontrol assessment at the A&AEE in mid-1954.WM503 and WM507 to WM510 were all used fordevelopment flying at Christchurch and WM504was flown on further deck trials by day and night inOctober and November 1953. In the followingMarch it was used for rocket assisted take-off(RATO) installation.

Boscombe Down assessed the FAA's firsttwo-seat all-weather jet fighter, with a strikecapability, as having excellent deck take-off andlanding characteristics, but poor arrester hookdamping.

The production aircraft featured increased finarea with dorsal fairings, the reshaped rudder asused on later RAF Venoms, folding wings withnon-jettisonable tip fuel tanks, boundary layerfences, a camera gun under the port wing root,symmetrical cast perspex cockpit canopy withunderwater jettison capability and a venom FB1elevator. Boscombe Down insisted on the fitmentof a windscreen wiper to keep spray clear, andwarned against unduly high stalling speeds inproduction aircraft. Lateral and directional controlcharacteristics were considered unsuitable for decklandings using standard techniques, but landings inconjunction with the new mirror deck landing aidappeared more promising.

A total of 50 Sea Venom FAW2Os wereproduced, finishing with WM567 which first flewon 6 June 1955. The first FAA unit to be equippedwas 890 Squadron which exchanged its Attackersfor Sea Venoms at Yeovilton on 20 March 1954.commanded by Lt-Cdr A. G. Johnson. Four


Page 82: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

aircraft had been delivered in time for their firstpublic appearance at Yeovilton Navy Day on22 May. After becoming fuliy equipped andoperational following training, a four-aircraftaerobatic team led by the Commanding Officerwas formed during the summer of 1955. TheSquadron then began deck operations while takingpart in Exercise'Beware'.

During this period afloat serious problems arosewhich led to the withdrawal of the FAW20 fromfront-line operations. The arrester hook hadinsufficient strength to cope with some of the highloads, 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 toopen up power and go around again. The CO andhis observer are reported to have experienced thistwice, and waited in their sinking aircraft until thepounding ship's propellers had passed overhead,before making their escape. At this stage noejector seats were fitted.

On returning to Yeovilton 890 Squadron wasrenumbered 766 Holding Squadron on 18 October1955, tasked with providing jet flying practice topilots and observers who had completed. or wereabout to join, the all-weather course at No 238OCU at North Luffenham. The unit was equippedwith eight FAW2Os and eight of the newerFAW21s. A temporary move was made toMerryfield between 24 November 1956 and20 January 1957, while the runways at Yeoviltonwere being extended. By this time it had beennamed the All-Weather Flying School withresponsibility for the all-weather training of pilotsand observers for the Fleet Air Arm. On 22October 1959 the first Sea Vixen arrived; rvhenjoined by more, the unit was formed into 7668Flight in May 1960. The Sea Venom was retiredfrom766 Squadron a year after the first Sea Vixenarrived.

Despite the problems experienced with the earlySea Venoms. two more units were equipped withthe aircraft to give them jet operating experience.No 809 Squadron exchanged its all-weather SeaHornets for Sea Venom FAW2Os in May 1954,followed by 891 Squadron, which received its firsttwo aircraft. WM552 and WM549. on12 November.

While training continued a number of muchneeded improvements were being made to the SeaVenom, resulting in the FAW21, the navalequivalent of the RAF NF3. These modificationsincluded power-operated ailerons, a long-stroke

Bight:Accessibility for maintenance was very good on theSea Venom, particularly for the Ghost engine andradar equipment.


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Page 85: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above left:The Sea Venom was used for the early development ofthe Firestreak air-to-air heat seeking dog-fight missile.XG662 was one of the aircraft involved in trials.

Left:Sea Venoms first entered service with 890 Squadronat Yeovilton, but were soon withdrawn to shoretraining duties because of problems with the arresterhooks. C. E. Brown

Below left:No 891 Squadron Sea Venoms were used fotair-to-ground rocket attacks in Operation 'Damon' inAden against Yemeni rebels in 1 96O. Roger Young

Above:Sea Venoms of 892 Squadron were embarked abroadHMS Eagle, WW187 being an example. FAA Museum

undercarriage to absorb more effectively the highlanding loads, provision for RATOG and provi-sion for the fitment of the Martin-Baker Mk 4eiector seats for both crewmen. (In addition all theaircraft built initially without the seats had themhtted at RNAS Stretton in 1957.) Porver rvas froma 4,9501b thrust Ghost 104 engine. ',vhich rvas latcrreplaced by the 5,3001b thrust Ghost 105 in theultimate FAW22 version. Maxaret non-skid brakeswere also htted, and the arrester hook $'asstrengthened.

The prototype FAW21, XA539, first fleu' on 21

May 1954, although first production aircraftWM568 had flown from Christchurch one monthbefore on 22 Aprll. A total of 167 FAW21s rverebuilt for the FAA. 99 at Chester and 6E atChristchurch.

The prototype was used for carrier trialsduring August and September 1954 and theaircraft was assessed as suitable for day and nightdeck operations, if a suitable twin-pointer. openscale air speed indicator rvas fitted. Four pilots flervXA539 during the trials on HMS ,4/Dlori whichconsisted of 20 catapult take-offs and landings byday. All landings rvere made using the mirror aicl.and an interim 5' angled deck fitted to the shipmade overshooting safe.

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JDevelopment flying at Christchurch used a

number of the early production FAW21s, includ-ing WM569 ancl WM571 to WM575. WM569 laterwent to Boscombe Down. and WM570 was alsodelivered to Boscombe on 8 January 1955 forController Aircraft (CA) acceptance flying. Thefirst production aircraft operated from the RAEBedford in late 1956. but crashed near Yeoviltonon 3 February 1960 when in service with 738Squadron based at Lossiemouth. WM574 wasallocated to flap blowing development to reducethc approach speecl, later going to RAE, Bedfordto continue the research. It then operated rvith theETPS before serving with [J31 Squadron atCuldrosc and Watton.

The last production FAW21 was XG680, rvhichrvas later converted to FAW22 standard. It firstfferv on 21 September 1956 and was deliverd tcr

RNAS Stretton on 4 October. Thirty-nineFAW22s were built cornmencing XG681, whichfirst flerv on 1 October 1956 from Chester and wasdelivered to Strctton on 2 November. The last SeaVenom FAW22 for the FAA was XG737. rvhich*'as delivered from Chester to Stretton on7 January 1958.

By May 1955 both 809 and 891 Squadrorls werereceiving the first of their FAW21s and rverejoined by 892 Squadron on 4 July and 893Squadron in January 1956. No 890 Squadronre-formed with the Sea Venom FAW2ls on6 Fcbruary 1956 at Yeovilton under the commandof Lt-Cdr Brewer. but only lasted until 25 Juncwhen it rvas absorbed by 893 Squadron on HMSArk Royctl.

On the nights of 3l October and i Novernber1956 came action for the Sca Venom squadronsand other allied aircraft. Four squadrons operatingfrom off-shore carriers made a number of attackson Egyptian military installations during the rvcekof the Suez Crisis. By this time 809 Squadron rvasflying the more powerful FAW22s and sharedoperations from HMS Albiort with 892 Squadron.while No 891 and 893 Squadrons operatecl fromHMS Eagle. The only FAA casualty was WW284


Page 86: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Top:A Sea Venom of 8O9 Squadron appears to require agreat deal of manpower to push around the carrierdeck. FAAMuseum

Above:No 89O Squadron, with a witches emblem, operatedSea Venom FAW21s for only a short while in 1956.Roval Navy

Top right:No 891 Squadron aboard HMS Ark Royal used thehead of the God 'Kon Tiki' in its squadron badge.Royal Navy

Above right:The compact Sea Venom cockpit had the observer'sseat slightly set back on the right-hand 6ide with aradar visor in front.

of 893 Squadron which suffered flak damage, andmade a wheels-up landing on the carrier's deck,becoming the first aircraft to be saved by the nylonbarrier-

The last front-line unit to equip with SeaVenoms was 894 Squadron, which was commis-sioned with FAW22s at Merryfield on 14 January1957. The Squadron performed well duringExercise 'Strikeback' off Norway and in the ArcticCircle during September 1957. Flying from HMSEagle the Squadron made 199 out of an overalltotal of 860 sorties between 19 and 28 September,thus accounting for nearly 25% of the total sortieswithout accident, the remainder being flown by theother fi ve participating squadrons.

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Page 87: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


Action was also seen by 891 Squadron in 1960during Operation 'Damen' in Aden. Sea Venomsrvere used in rocket attacks against the Yemenirebels hidden in the hills. All crews who completcdthree or more sorties were awarded the campaignmedal.

Although the Sea Venom was not designed tocarry guided weapons, it proved ideal fordevelopment trials of Biue Jay, later to be knorvnas Firestreak. Three aircraft were allocated to thisprogramme

- XG607, XG612 (which was alsoused for FAW22 development) and XG662. No700 Squadron formed at Ford in 1957 and laterYeovilton to carry out service trials with the nervair-to-air weapon, and 893 Squadron received the

three specially modified FAW21s in latc 1958 fromChristchurch. flown by four of the Squadron pilots.In Decembcr the aircraft and crews ernbarked onHMS Victoriorrs and made the first firings by anoperational squadron, while working up in theMediterrancan. The targets were pilotless Fircfliesfrom Malta and the Sea Venom pilots scored 80%direct hits, with the remainder near misses. Thcexercise also was valuable in proving the ship'scapability of handling, supply ancl testing of theFirestreak missiles in preparation for their iull timeintroduction on the Sea Vixen aircraft.

During the 1950s there had been a growing necclto use aircraft in the electronic warfare rolc, earlywork being undertaken by 751 Squadron atWatton from 1950 as a Naval Development Unit.On 1 May l95ll, 831 Squadron was commissionedat Culdrose with Sea Venom FAW21s to take overthe task. Initially the Sea Venoms sharedoperations with Avengers, but these were replacedby Gannets in early i959, and the later Sea VenomFAW22s began replacing the earlier aircraft inApril 1960. The Squadron embarked on HMS En-g1e to visit Cyprus and Malta, and took part inExercise 'Barefoot' in November 1959 frornHMS Victoriorrs. No 831 Squadron then returnedto Britain and was based at Watten from themiddle of 1963. The unit was linally disbandedthere on 16 May 1966, when its work was takenover by the combined RAF/RN No 360 Squadronflying specially modified Canberras.

During the peak of the Sea Venom service, 766

Page 88: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen
Page 89: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above left:The steam catapult on Hri/iS Ark Boya, ready to launchSea Venom FAW2l XG625 of 893 Squadron.FAA Museum

Left:Electronica countermeasures operations were carriedout with Sea Vonoms of 831 Squadron based atGuldrose. Lewis G. Pain

Below left:lnvasion-striped FAW21 UUW2a4 of 893 Squadronsustained flak damage in the Suez operations and wasforced to make a wheels-up landing on Eaglle.FAA Museum

Above:Sea Venoms of 893 Squadron operated fromHMS Eagre in the Suez crisis in November 1956.FAA Museum

Squadron at Yeovilton was training aircrews in theall-weather fighter and strike syllabus, covering 70hours flying, of which one-third was at night.Weapons training formed an integral part of thecourse and included target illumination, intercep-tion and navigation exercises at high, medium andiow altitudes, covering both ground attack andair-to-air duties. The 10 FAW21s with 766Squadron flew an average of 45 hours per month.This work was shared at the busiest time by 738Squadron at Lossiemouth which started addingSea Venoms to its Sea Hawk complement inJanuary 1958. The unit was responsible for thetraining of operational flying school studentsbefore they joined 766 Squadron. By the middle of1959 738 Squadron had a dozen Sea Venoms, andthe number of Sea Hawks was being reduced. Inearly 1960 the highest aircrew numbers hadpassed, and the students reported direct to766 Squadron for their operational flying training.By the middle of the year all the Sea Venoms had

been replaced with the re-introduction of SeaHawks with 738 Squadron.

The only other unit to use the Sea Venom was750 Squadron which first received the aircraft atHal Far in Malta in July 1960. The main duties ofthe Squadron were to teach student observers theoperation of the radar and navigation of theaircraft in preparation for the Sea Venomsquadrons, and later for the Sea Vixen. The flyingrvas almost entirely navigational exercises,roughly one-third at high altitude and the rest atlow level. The original four FAW21s werereplaced with FAW22s and in July 1965 theSquadron moved to Lossiemouth, increasing itscomplement to five Sea Venoms, sharing the flyingwith a number of specially-equipped Sea Princes.With the reduction in the fixed-wing element of theFleet Air Arm, the need to train naval observerswas no longer a requirement. No 750 Squadronwas, therefore, disbanded on 24 March 1970 andthe Sea Venoms were retired to RNAYSydenham.

The retirement of the front-line Sea Venomsbegan when 892 Squadron commissioned with theSea Vixen at Yeovilton on 2 July 1959 afterworking up as 700Y Flight. The last carrier-basedunit, 894 Squadron, returned from the Far Eastaboard HMS Albion on 17 December 1960 anddecommissioned. No 891 Squadron disbanded on28 July 1961 after flying its last aircraft, XG680 andXG701, to Abbotsinch two days before.

Sea Venoms were also operated by the civilianpilots of Airwork to provide realistic targets for thestudents of the Air Directors School. Initialoperations were with FAW2Os from St Davids, a

satellite to RNAS Brawdy, from 1955. The firstFAW21 arrived in February 1957 and a move wasmade to Brawdy in October 1958. The aircraftwere used for fleet requirements on exercises in air


Page 90: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above:FAW22l of which XG697 was an example, wereoperated by Aimork at Yeovilton for the Air DirectorSchool. Philip Birtles

Below:The Royal Australian Navy ordered 39 Sea Venom

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Mk 53s, which operated from HMAS Melboume untilearly197O. BAN

Bottom:The initial French version of th6 Sea Venom was theAquilon 2O, similar to tho FAW2O. Built by SNCASE itfirst flew from Marignane on 31 October 1952.Aerospatiale


Page 91: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

defence, but their primary role was to fly trainingmissions under the control of student air directors.who were being trained to control aircraft by radarwhile on board ship. The unit moved to Yeoviltonin January 1961 and the aircraft was replaced rvithFAW22s. It was this Airwork unit which rvas thelast to operate the Sea Venom. making the finalofficial flight in XG683 from Yeovilton to Culdroseon 6 October 1970. the aircraft then beinsallocated to fire practice.

As mentioned earlier, Sea Venom WM574 ir'asused for blown flap research. The aircraft *'asmodified at Christchurch in 1955 to investigate thehigh lift coefficients when fitted with blo*,n inncrflaps of larger chord and span than the standardproduction aircraft. The Ghost engine \\'asspecially adapted to allow high velocity'jets of airto flow out of a slot along the top of the flaps.Trials were held initially at RAE Bedford. usingthe facilities for dummy deck landing. overshootsand catapult take-offs, before joining the SeaVixen on its carrier trials on I IMS Arft Ro_r'a/.

The experimental Sea Venom. rvith its stallingspeed reduced by around 15kt from the standardaircraft, aroused considerable interest during thetrials, proving that it had definite advantases.Blown flaps were installed in the Blackburn NA39.later to become the Buccaneer. making theapproach of this large aircraft some\\'hat moredocile. Sca Venom WM574 returned to Bedfordafter the deck trials until joining the ETPS in 19,;8.

A significant export order for the Sea \/u-nomcame from the Royal Australian Nar'1 (RAN)which found the aircraft suited its requirenrentswell. London Order 6970 of 27 Februarr i956covered the purchase of 39 FAW53s for service onHMAS Melbourne. The FAW53 rvas dereloped atChristchurch from the FAW21. *'ith specialequiprnent required by the RAN. and it becamethe first all-weather jet fighter to serve iiith a

Commonwealth navy.The first FAW53. W2893. rvas delivered to

Boscombe Down on 1 March 1955 and *'as joinedby WZ941 on 2 November. WZil9-l. W289,; andW2944 were used for a short while at Christchurchfor development flying. All 39 aircraft rvere built atChristchurch, comprising W2893 to W2911 andW2927 to vlz946, the final aircraft beingdelivered on 18 January 1956 to RNAS the remainder, before embarking on IJNIASMelbourne for their journey to Australia.

The first RAN squadron to form was No 80[J atCuldrose on 23 August 1955, initially usingFAW2Os on loan from the FAA to allorv trainingto commence. HMAS Melbourne was named atBarrow-in-Furness on 28 October, having beenconverted from HMS Majestic, becoming theflagship of the Australian Fleet.

HMAS Melbourne left Portsmouth in March

1956 for Sydney as the most modern aircraftcarrier in her class in the world and carried the SeaVenoms of No 808 Squadron. rvhich had embarkedon 29 February. The ship was rather crowded, irs

also on board were the Gannets of Nos 816 and 817Squadrons.

The Sea Venoms served with No 808 Squadronuntil I December 1958, when No 805 Squadronassumed the all-weather fighter role from 1ti Au-gust 1958 until 30 June 1963. There rvas then a lullfor just over a year until No 816 Squadroncommissioned on 21 July 1.964 and continued tooperate the Sea Venoms until final retirement on25 August 1967.

Shore support for the RAN was provided byHMAS Albatros,s at Nowra. New South Wales.iind rvhen the squadrons were not at sea, they rverebased at this airfield. Also resident at Nowra wasNo 724 Squadron, which was formed on I June1955. as a miscellaneous air squadron. Although it\\/as never fully equipped with Sea Venoms, a

number were uscd for training on shore based dutyonly.

Many of the surviving Sea Venoms weredisposed of through the Australian Department ofSupply on 25 July 1966, but at least six wererctained in service with No 724 Squadron as late asJanuarv 1970 when they were linally withdrawnfrom use.

As rvith the Vampire fighter-bombers, theFrench Government adopted the Sea Venom andmodified the typc for its needs as the Aquilon.Licence production commenced with Sud Aviationat Marignane near Marseilles with four prototypesto the Sea Venom FAW20 standard, followed by a

fifth improved single prototype, known as theAquilon 201. This was used as the prototype forthe Aquilon 202, changes including the installationof ejector seats, a rearward sliding canopy and a

strengthened landing gear. A further development\\'as the Aquilon 203 adapted to become a singlcseat all-weather iighter, fitted with the AmericanAPQ 94 radar and a new rearward sliding canopy.The licence production consisted of 25 Aquilon201s, generally similar to the Sea Venom FAW20,25 Aquilon 202s and 40 Aquilon 203s. A smallnumber of the Aquilon 201 were later modified tobecome two-seat all-weather fighter trainers as theAquilon 204.

The first Aquilon made its maiden flight fromMarignane on 3l October 1952 and productionaircraft equipped three flottiles with the FrenchNavy. The flrst unit was 16F which received thenerv aircraft at Hydres Naval Air Base in early1955. While operating from this base. detachmentswere sent to Algiers for air policing and thesupport of ground forces in the Algeriancampaign. Flotille 16F then embarked on theaircraft carrier Clemenceau from 1960 until 1962'


Page 92: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

and was finally disbanded in 1963. The secondunit, Flotille 11F, formed at Hydres in mid-1955,soon moving to Bizerta in Tunisia. 11F also wasactive in the Algerian operations and embarked onClemenceau until the Aquilons were replaced byEtendards in 1962. The only other unit wasEscadrille 595, which was formed as an all-weatherfighter training school with Aquilon 203s and 204sfrom 1958 until 1963. A few Aquilons continued tofly during 1965 until the order grounding theaircraft was received. One is known to survive and

is being restored by the Mus6e de l'Air at LeBourget.

Below:Aquilon 2O1 No O5, F-WGVT was built in France as theplototypo of the French equivalent of the Sea VenomFAW21.

Bottom:The Aquilon 2O3 was a single-seat development bySNGASE, and is seen aboard the Fronch carrielCl6menceau, E, C. Armdes


Page 93: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

nThe DFI-110

With the promise indicated by the early navalisedVampires in operation with the Fleet Air Arm. itwas decided to investigate an advanced all-rveatherjet fighter with the security of two engines. Initialdiscussions commenced between de Havilland andthe Admiralty in \946 resulting in proposals for a

project allocated the type number DH.110. Thecustomary twin boom layout was retained to allorveasier carrier stowage and keeping the engines as

close together as possible to avoid asymmetriccontrols 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 developmentprogramme, and provision was made for them tofold to allow lowering in the deck lifts and toreduce stowage space. Proposed armament rvas

four of the then new 30mm cannon. A unique

feature was the pilot's cockpit offset to port, whilethe observer was buried in the fuselage tostarboard under a flush-fitting hatch. Smallwindows were provided in the cockpit side androof, but the observer was in semi-darknessbecause of the dimness of the signals on early AIradars.

In January 1947 Naval Specification No 40/46and RAF Specification F.44146 were issued tocover basically similar requirements for a night

Below:The prototype DH.1 1 O, WG236, made its first flightfrom Hatfield in the hands of John Cunningham on26 September 1 951. lt crashed at Farnborough on6 September 1 952, killing the tt vo crew and over 2Ospectators.


Page 94: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Page 95: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above left:The second prototype DH.1 1 O, WG24O. was paintedoverall gloss black and was capable of exceeding thespeedof sound. C. E. Brown

Left:Once adopted by the FAA, DH.1 1 O prototype WG24Owas painted in navy colours. C. E. Brown

Above:WG24O made a series of touch-and-go landings onHMS Albion in the autumn of 1954. No arrester hookor folding wings were fitted, precluding a landing.FAA Museum

fighter. De Havilland offered the DH. 1i0 for bothtasks in navalised and land-based vcrsionsrespectively. Greater interest was sho\\'ll b1' theRAF, which updated the specification to F.l/lS inFebruary 1948. In April 1949 the llinistrl ofSupply confirmed the interest by ordering from de

Havilland seven land-based night fighters and t\\'olong-range fighter prototypes for the RAF.together with two of each of the night fighter andstrike lighter prototypes for the Fteet Air Arm. tospecification Nl4/49. Meanwhile as a back up forthe RAF, four prototypes of the competingdelta-winged Gloster, GA.5. were also ordered.

As an example of the advanced nature of theprogramme at that time, Specification F.-l-1/46

issued on 24 January 1947 called for a prototvpenight fighter for the RAF, which rvould be

available rapidly and capable of interceptinghostile aircraft at up to 40,000ft. Maximum speedwas to be at least 525kt at 25,000f1; it had to be

capable of climbing to its service ceiling of 45.000f1

in no more than 10 minutes from pressing thestarter button at the holding point close to the endof the runway; and it was to have a minimumendurance of two hours including a climb to

25.000ft rvith 15 minutes of combat and theremainder cruising on patrol. Provision was to be

made for the carriage of drop tanks to increase therange.

Very rapid take-off was called for in at most 10

scconds, but preferably in live, without externalassistance such as catapults or RATOG. Take-offdistance was to be in 1,500yd, with landing in1.200yd over an inraginery 50ft barrier. Airbrakes\\'ere to be fitted and be able to operate in fourseconds. While flying at top speed at sea level, theairfrarne had to be strong enough to withstand upto .lg loads while manoeuvring in evasive orattacking action. The pressure cabin was to be ableto reproduce the altitude pressure of 25,000ft atthe ceiling 45,000f1.

The rvorkload was such that two crewmen rvouldbe carried, a pilot and radar observer, andnavigation equipment and aids were to incluclemulti-channel VHF. AI, Rebecca, IFF andpossibly a blind-landing capability. Armament was

to comprise four forward-firing 30mm cannon withsufficient ammunition for 15 seconds firing persun. aimed through the gyro gunsight and withradar presentation.

The aircraft was to be capable of economicproduction of at least 150 at a maximum rate of 10

per month. The cockpit interiors were to be mattblack with all emergency controls in red, and thecabin was either to be jettisonable in an

emergcncy, or the crew were to be supplied rvithejector seats. Self-sealing tanks were not manda-tory, but if hit they should retain at least 50% ofthe fuel after one strike. Full night flyingequipment was required and the crew wereprovided with oxygen for 2.5 hours at 25.(X)00ft.and two K-type dinghies together with theirparachutes. Simple and rapid servicing was

essential for a quick turn-round between sorties.


Page 96: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

In November 1949, for financial and politicalreasons, the Royal Navy selected the less complexand more readily available Sea Venom to replaceits Sea Hornets, while the RAF order was reducedto two prototypes each of the DH.110 and GA.5.This seriously delayed the development of bothtypes and demanded the introduction of interimtypes based on current aircraft to fill the resultinggap.

The two prototype DH.110s were built in theExperimental Department at Hatfield, powercoming from a pair of 7,5001b thrust Rolls-RoyceAvon RA.7 engines, with the air intakes in thewing root, and the exhaust between the booms andbelow the high mounted tailplane. The first ofthese large and impressive aircraft, WG236, madeits 46-minute maiden flight in the hands of JohnCunningham on 26 September 1951, just too latefor that year's SBAC display at Farnborough.During its extensive schedule it exceeded thespeed of sound in a shallow dive on 9 April 1952,and was joined by the black painted secondprototype WG240 when it flew on 25 July 1952.

Just over a month later the first prototype madeits public debut at the Farnborough air show, onlyto break up when flying fast and low towards thecrowd on 6 September. John Derry, the pilot, andhis observer, Tony Richards, were both killedwhen the main portion of the airframe hit theground, while one of the engines separated and fellin the crowd viewing from the hill, killing 29spectators and injuring many others. The accidentinvestigation found that the disintegration ofWG236 was caused by torsional failure of the wingduring a combination of high acceleration and rateof roll, the leading edge wing skins peeling back.The SBAC amended the display rules at Farn-borough by banning all flying towards the publicenclosures. a commonsense rule which is now inoperation al all air shows.

The grounded second prototype was modified byreinforcing the structure with skin doubler platesand the tail outline was revised. Test flyingrecommenced in the spring of 1953, when itbecame the first British aircraft with an all-movingtail-plane.

With the loss of RAF interest in the DH.1l0.and despite development problems and accidents,the Gloster GA.5 was ordered into super-priorityproduction as a land based all-weather fighter,leaving the future of the DH.110 rather bleak.

However, the FAA still had a requirement for ahigh performance all-weather fighter, and in 1952 arequirement was published for a Sea Venomreplacement to be capable of all-weather fightingand strike duties. A swept-wing Venom, known as

the DH.l16, was considered, but shelved in favourof updating the DI{.110 and continuing itsdevelopment under a Naval contract. The new


aircraft was to bear only a superficial resemblanceto the original design with power coming fromhigher thrust Avon engines, increased fuelcapacity and the full range of naval modifications.The four cannon were retained as secondaryarmament, but primary weapons were to be thenew Blue Jay - later to become Firestreak -infra-red homing air-to-air missiles. For the firsttime de Havilland was becoming involved in thecomplexities of an overali weapon system, ratherthan an aircraft with stores attached.

The surviving second prototype, WG240, wasdelivered to Boscombe Down in September 1954in preparation for initial deck trials. These werecompleted as a series of touch-and-go landings, asno arrester hook was fitted, on HMS Albion on23 September, flown by Lt-Cdr J. Elliott. For thesetrials a strengthened undercarriage was fitted andlater the aircraft was fitted with four missile launchpylons below the inboard wing.

Development continued with the order inFebruary 1954 for a semi-navalised DH.110prototype Mk 20X, XF828. It was built at the oldairspeed factory at Christchurch, to where alldesign activity, led by Mr W. A. Tarnblin, hadbeen transferred. The more powerful Rolls-RoyceAvon 208 engines developing 11,2301b of thrusteach were fitted, as well as arrester gear and a longstroke undercarriage. However, radar was notinstalled and the wings did not fold. First flight wasfrom Christchurch to Hurn on 20 June 1955,piloted by Jock Elliott, who by this time was incharge of the DH110 flight development pro-gramme. The first deck landings were carried outon board HMS Ark Royal on 5 April 1956 by CdrS. G. Orr, the programme including unassistedand steam catapult take-offs and arrested landingsunder all operating conditions.

On completion of the flight test programmeXF828 was delivered to the RAE Bedford beforeallocation to ground towing training at the Schoolof Aircraft Flandling at Culdrose on 28 November1960, when its outer wings were cut off. It wasfinally relegated in a battered state to fire practicein June 1970 and was soon destroyed.

Top right:WG24O was later modified to represent as close aspossible the Sea Vixen production shape, including apointed radome and cut-back fin trailing edge.

Centre right:The third prototype DH.11O, XF828, was partiallynavalised with an arrester hook. but remained withoutfolding wings. lt carried the pitot tube for testpuiposes.

Below right:XF828 was used for deck trials on HMS Ark Foyal inApril 1956 when a series of catapult launches weremade. Note the strop dropping away.

Page 97: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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Page 98: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


The Sea Vixen

The long-awaited initial production order for theDH.110 was placed in January 1955, covering a

total of 78 aircraft including a batch of 21

pre-production aircraft to be used in the develop-ment of all aspects of this complicated weaponssystem. By this means production would be rapidlyestablished and the introduction into serv:ce wouldbe as soon as possible.

The airframe was about 80% redesigned, tospecification N.139P, and power was from a pair ofAvon 20u engines developing 10.0001b thrust each.Major changes to the aircraft inciudedhydraulically-operated folding wings, a newcockpit canopy for the pilot, catapult pick-uppoints, a steerable nosewheel and the latest AIradar housed under a pointed radome. A largeventral airbrake was fitted and improvements tothe airframe included increased tail-boomclearance and cut-backs on the fin trailing edge toreduce the length. The radome could be foldedsideways to further reduce length and allowservicing. The Avon engines were fitted from thetop of the fuselage, rather than below as in theprototypes.

The DH.110 was the first British jet fighter notto be armed with guns, as provision for cannonswas deleted and the Firestreak became the primearmament, four being carried on underrvingpylons. In addition, 28 2in rocket projectiles rverestowed in a retractable ventral pack just forwardand to either side of the nosewheel. Additionalwar loads such as bombs, rocket packs or fueltanks could be carried on underwing pylons.

On 5 March 1957 the DH.1l0 was officiallydesignated Sea Vixen FAW Mk 20, later amendedto Sea Vixen FAW Mk 1. The first productionaircraft, XJ474, was rolled out in February 1957 atChristchurch (where the production line was

established) and made its maiden flight on20 March to the flight test department at nearbyHurn, where the airiield facilities were more suitedto high performance aircraft.

The first production aircraft was allocated tohandling trials at Boscombe Down, inluding flutterchecks, and during 1957 undertook deck accept-ance trials including steam-catapult launches, onHMS .4rk Royal, with more launches following in


1962. ln 1961 it was used for spinning trials, forwhich it was fitted with an anti-spin parachute, andfinished up at the RAE Bedford with the NavalFlight on arrester hook bounce trials in March1963. XJ474 was 'put out to grass', in the early1970s and was scrapped by 1976.

The second production aircraft, XJ475, first flewon 28 June 1957 and was the engineeringdevelopment aircraft used for systems testing atHatfield. It was also used for performancemeasurements frotn mid-1958 to late 1959. FromAugust 1962 until 1964 this aircraft was used onRed Top missile development as a non-destructivetarget for XN685. The new clear-view canopyinstallation was carried out in 1964 followed bygenerator trials the next year. The aircraft waspassed to Hawker Siddeley Dynamics in August1965 and remained in the company's charge untildeparture to Boscombe Down on 19 October 1968.It was scrapped at Boscombe by March 1971.

XJ476 was originally allocated to radar andsighting trials at the A&AEE. It was then paintedwhite overall for guided weapons trials on theWoomera ranges in Australia and shipped out withXJ4il1 on 13 March 1960. Both aircraft returned toHatfield in March 1963, XJ476 continuing onguided weapons trials mainly as a radar target forRed Top development. It replaced XJ47-5 at theA&AEE from 1970 until at least 1973.

XJ477 was used for armament trials at theA&AEE in early 1960, in particular rocket

Bight, top to bottom:The Sea Vixen was fittsd with a large under-fuselageair-brake. FAW1 XJ474 was the first productionaircraft.

Sea Vixen FAW1 XJ476 was painted white forweapons trials at Woomera in Australia. Philip Birtles

Sea Vixen FAW1 XJ481 also was used for Firestreaktrials at Woomera and later missile develoPment atHatfield. lt is now preserved by the FAA Museum atYeovilton. PhilipBirtles

After trials with the RN XJ474 was used byC Squadron. A&AEE for further deck trials onH|MS Ark Royal.

Page 99: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen



:,f{ NAVi

Page 100: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

sighting, having undertaken carrier trials on HMSCentaur the previous year. Following its trialsprogramme the aircraft joined 766 Squadron atYeovilton on 8 August 1962 until retired toArbroath in 1967 as instructional airframe A2601.XJ478 was used for Firestreak development beforebeing delivered to 766 Squadron at Yeovilton in1962, where it crashed during mirror deck landingtraining on 8 March 1965, killing both crew whencontrol was lost on a down-wind turn. XJ479 wassent to Libya on tropical trials, but crashed thereon 28 October 1958 after bird ingestion into theengines. It was replaced by XJ485 in August 1959.

XJ480 was used to check radio and navigationequipment at RAE Bedford in 1959 and was alsoused for engine development. It served with 899and finally 766 Squadron, becoming an aerobaticmount in the 'Fred's Five' team from 1962 until1966. Before going to Woomera XJ481 undertookcarrier trials on HMS Centaur in 1959, as well asFAA handling trials. On return from Australia itwas flown on missile development trials during1963, progressing to TV trials during the followingtwo years, all the time being based at Hatfield. Forthese latter trials the usual radome was replaced bya nose cone fitted with an optically flat glass panelat the forward end, protecting the TV camera. The

aircraft left for Boscombe Down in November1968 and remained there until retired to the FleetAir Arm Museum at Yeovilton in 1974. It iscurrently stored in the open near the Museumbuildings.

Cold weather trials were undertaken by XJ482in the climatic chamber at Weybridge in July 1959.It became the first aircraft with 700Y Flight for'service trials when it was delivered to Yeovilton on3 November 1958. It became a 766 Squadronaircraft from 1962, being used as one of the mountsfor 'Fred's Five', and was retired to Lee-on-Solentin 1969. Following a move to Flight Refuelling atTarrant Rushton in1972, the aircraft was acquired

Below:FAW1 XJ474 was operated by the RN Test Squadronfor carrier trials.

Below right:Sea Vixens were capable of 'buddy' flight refuellingusing an underwing pod. These are two FAW2s of899 Squadron. Boyal Navy

Bottom right:The FAW1 could carry a Martin Bullpup as anunderwing store.



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Page 101: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

for preservation by the Norfolk Aircraft Museumin 1980. XJ483 took part in the final deck trials onHMS Victorioas, flew on cabin air conditioningtrials and joined 700Y Flight at Yeovilton. Itfinally entered FAA service with 890 Squadron on3 August 1962. Additional aircraft used by 700YFlight for service trials were XJ484, XJ486, XJ4U7and XJ489.

As already mentioned, XJ485 flew on tropicaltrials, replacing XJ479, and on return wasallocated to RAE Bedford. It later served rvith766 Squadron, to whom it was delivered on30 June 1960, but was allocated to Red Topweapons trials at Hatfield in 1962. It was back atBedford in the early 1970s. Following trials u'ith700Y Flight, both XJ486 and XJ487 joined892 Squadron at Yeovilton and aboard HMS ArftRoyal, ending up as instructional airframes atLee-on-Solent and Arbroath respectively.

Flight refuelling trials were flown by XJ4tl8 usinethe 'buddy' technique of carrying its orvn flightrefuelling pod under the wing instead of thenormal fuel tank, so that the hose could be reeledout to top up another Sea Vixen or anv othercombat aircraft fitted with the probe. Mock-upboom fairings were fitted for Mk 2 aerodynamictests. This aircraft was used for systems and

weapons development for many years, includingengine performance in mid-1961, LOX (liquidoxygen) trials in March 1962, and RRE Pershoretrials with the radar until August 1962, when it wasdelivered to Hatfield for Red Top computer trialsstarting in November t963. A new RT system wastested in 1.964 and then a busy programme of PR,Bullpup and LABS (low altitude bombing system)development started in January 1965, first atBedford and then Boscombe. It joined C Squa-dron at the A&AEE, on 18 October 1967 and waspainted black overall in 1958. It was finailyrelegated to fire practice in 1973 at Boscombe.XJ492 served briefly at Boscombe Down beforedelivery to 892 Squadron. XJ494, the last pre-production aircraft, was used by the A&AEE forLABS bombing technique development fromApril 1959 until \962. It later served with899 Squadron after conversion to Mk 2 beforeflying from Hatfield in early 1,97I on Martel trials,continuing these at Boscombe.

The 'buddy' refuelling trials with XJ488 wereshared with XJ516. which also flew on deck trialsaboard HMS Victorioas in October 1.959. XJ526rvas used on bombing and sighting trials atBoscombe and Bedford before entering squadronservice, and XJ560 was used for Del Mar target tug



Page 102: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


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Page 103: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen



I,t:.+..-*-*>":.${.,* -

Above left:The Sea Vixen FAW2 prototype was XN684 convertedfrom a Mk 1 with pinion fuel tanks and armed withRed Top air-to-air missiles.

Left:No 892 Squadron was the first to be commissionedwith Sea Vixens, at Yeovilton on 2 July 1959.

Below left:No 892 Squadron embarked on HMS Hermes under thecommand of Cdr J. Petrie. FAA Museum

Above:This Sea Vixen FAW1 of 893 Squadron was forced touse the nylon crash barrier onHMS Ark Royalwhen itsstarboard undercarriage failed to lock down.FAA Museum

Below:No 89O Squadron was the headquarters squadronbased at Yeovilton and responsibl6 for thoinvestigation of operational techniques- Philip Birtles

Bottom:FAWl XN654 of 893 Squadron aboardHMS Yictorious. FAA Museum

Page 104: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

development at Hatfield and Boscombe from 1962

until 1964. XJ564 also went on tropical trials and

served with C Squadron at Boscombe from 1962

on sighting trials and engine development untilconversion to Mk 2 standard in 1964. XJ582 was

allocated to Bullpup missile development at

Hatfield, together with photo reconnaisance poddevelopment, followed by bombing trials atBoscombe in 1963. Further photo reconnaissancepod trials were carried out with XN700 atBoscombe in 1963.

Two aircraft. XN684 and XN685, were takenfrom the Christchurch production lines andconverted to the Mk 2 prototypes at Hatfield, butmore of that version shortly. Production of the Sea

Vixen at Christchurch ceased with the 11Sth

aircraft, XN710, which first flew on 10 August1962, although the last aircraft to leave the airfieldwas XN705, which was delivered on 31 Octoberthe same year. The production was then trans-ferred to Chester where a single Mk 1 (XP918) was

produced before changing to the Mk 2s, of which29 were built; the last one, XS590, made its firstflight on 3 February 1966.

Following the intensive service trials in which700Y Flight led by Cdr M. H. J. Petrie RN used a

total of eight Sea Vixen Mk ls, the unit was

re-formed and commissioned on 2 July 1959 as

892 Squadron. This initial unit embarked on HMSArk Royal on 3 March 1960 for sea trials andtransferred to HMS Victorious later in the year. Amove was then made to HMS Hernres, before theSquadron joined HMS Centaur in December 1963

for operations in Indonesia, Radfan and Dar-es-Salaam.

In November 1959 operational and conversiontraining became the responsibility of 766 Squadronat Yeovilton, which received its full quota of Sea

Vixen Mk 1s by September 1980. It was instructorsfrom this squadron who formed the aerobatic team'Fred's Five', which performed for a number ofairshow seasons.

The formation of operational squadrons con-tinued when 890 Squadron, commanded by Lt-CdrW. H. Hart. commissioned at Yeovilton on1 February 1960. After serving briefly on the newly

commissioned HMS Hermes in July 1960, 890

Squadron joined HMS Ark Royal, aboard whichali sea-going operations were conducted by thisunit.

No 893 Squadron was commissioned on 9 Sep-

tember 1960 and embarked on HMS Ark Royal forparticipation in NATO exercises in the NorwegianSea and 10 days of cold weather operational trialsin the Davis Strait. When moved to HMS Centaur,the Squadron was active in the Kuwait crisis.

Formed as the Sea Vixen Mk 1 HeadquartersSquadron, 899 was commissioned at Yeovilton on

1 February 1961 to evaluate new operational ideas

and maintain the standards of the service units.With the Sea Vixen Mk 1s in production and

entering service, de Havillands was investigating a

range o1 improvements and developments of thebasic aircraft to increase the range and perfor-mance in general. To achieve the increase in

endurance the Avon engines were to be replacedby 11,3801b thrust Rolls-Royce Spey en-gines.

Additional fuel could be carried in a pair of fixed250gal wing tip fuel tanks, plus a 850gal fuel ta;rkbehind the cockpit in a lengthened fuselage. Toimprove performance, both at the top end of thescale and on the approach to carrier decks, reheats

were considered for the engines and flap blowing'An even more advanced proposeal was for a

thin-wing supersonic aircraft with a maximumspeed of Mach 1.4 to Specification F'153D, also

being competed for by the thin-wing GlosterJavelin. Although the Javelin was successful

initially, the complete programme was cancelled.In the early 1960s a more conservative

improvement programme was initiated involving

Below:Firestreak-atmed FAWIs served with 899 Squadron atYeovilton, XN696 being an example. Royal Navy

Top right:Sea Vixen FAWI s of 892 Squadron flew f romHMS Centaur until returning to Yeovilton to operatealongsideT66Squadron. Royal Navy

Below right:Sea Vixln FAW2s of 892 Squadron operated fromHMS Hermes, and Yeovilton wh6re the aerobatic team'Simon's Circus'was formed. FAA Museum

Page 105: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


the installation of additional pinion fuel tanksahead of the tail booms, and the missile arrnamenlchanged to the improved Red Top air-to'airmissile. Any additional equipment sas instailed inthe enlarged boom fairings behind the tuel :anks-'The new development u'as desisnated the Sea

Vixen FAW Mk 2 and. as alreadr. noted- \\6>'1and XN685 were the initial conveniors a!

Hatfield. The first aircraft rvas florrn a: a \l\ I brChris Capper on 1 June 1962. follo*ed br \\655on 17 August. Both aircraft sere allocaled ltrdevelopment, in particular Red Top irials alHatfield and Boscombe Do*'n *'irh \o ll JoiniService Triais Unit (13 JSTU). uhere :her seredelivered in July and April 1961 respectireil- TheJSTU trials were completed in Februan i-\rtrt' andboth aircraft were delivered to Chester for iuilconversion to Mk 2 service standard beiore;oiniag893 Squadron on HMS Hennes in 19c'S- \\6.sJeventually made the last Sea Viren deck landine

*hile serving with 899 Squadron onHMS Eagle,before returning to Yeovilton on 23 Jantary 1972to decommission. The aircraft joined a number ofoihers on the Sydenham scrap heap in February1973.

The first production Sea Vixen Mk 2, XP919,made its maiden flight from Chester on 8 March1963. and in addition to the new build aircraft, themajority of surviving Mk 1s were converted to\lk 2 standard at Chester and Sydenham. XP919\\'ent to Bedford for deck landing trials, flew withthe full load of four Red Tops and was used for CArelease at Boscombe in late 1963. It flew.onperformance trials at Hatfield tn 1964 andBoscombe from March 1965, including autothrottle development, and it made the first firing ofthe tull load of 144 unguided rockets on 6 August19fl. It went to Bedford again in July 1965 for useon LABS/Bullpup assessment and returned toBoscombe on 23 March 1966. With its trials flying

Page 106: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen
Page 107: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


Top:A Bullpup-.armed FAW2 of 899 Squadron on tha steamcrtapuh aboard HMS Eagle. FAA Museum

For training purposes small practice bombs werecarried by 766 Squadron Sea Vixen FAW2s on theundeming pylons. Here XN687 is being prepared for apractice bombing sortie. Philip Birlles

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

Page 108: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

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.1.,.1i r:'. :,]:$*Nr'''

completed XP919 served with 766 Squadron from1968 until transfer to 890 Squadron in 1971, both atYeovilton. It was retired to Abingdon on 2 August1971 for service at Halton as ground instructionairframe 8163M, but was acquired for preservationon 23 June 1.975 by Leisure Sport at Chertsey.which disposed of the aircraft to the Norwich AirMuseum on 25 August 19t31.

Sea Vixen Mk 2 XP920 was used for armamentservice trials, including Lepus flares, in 1963. Itwas delivered to Boscombe on 24 January 1964 forbombing trials, operating from HMS l1err7les fromFebruary to April. Catapult trials were undertakenat Bedford in September 1964, the aircraftreturning to Hatfield before going to Boscombeagain on 15 October 1965 where it was used forfrangible hatch development in f969, beingrecognisable by a bulged observet's entry hatchallowing ejection straight through' The aircraftserved with 892 Squadron, but was eventually one


of the few conversions to a U3 drone at Llanbedrin 197-5.

Service deliveries commenced with XP921 to theAircraft Handling Unit at Brawdy on 13 August1963, 899 Squadron being the first to equip withthe FAW2s, replacing its Mk 1s. XJ580 returned toChester to become the first production Mk 2conversion of a total of 67 by June 1968.

No 899 Squadron continued to be the Yeovilton-based headquarters squadron. introducing the newversion of the Sea Vixen into service. In Decemberof 1964 the Squadron embarked on HMS Eagleand participated in the Rhodesian blockade untilreturning to Yeovilton in August 1966. Tocontinue the training task, 766 Squadron receivedits first Mk 2, XS582, on 7 July 1965, while 893Squadron began re-equipment on 4 November1965. No 890 Squadron disbanded in 1966, butrecommissioned in September 1967 as the newheadquarters squadron, initially using four Sea


. i!.\'ui$,,swl:i.


Page 109: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Above left:ln later service the FAW2S were frtted with a frangiblehatch over the observer's cockPit for eiestion straightthrough. This is XJ526 of 893 Squadron at Yeovihonin 1969. Philip Birtles

Left:No 899 Squadron was the last FAA unit to oP€rate theSea Vixen on board a carrier, retuming to Yeovilton on23 January 1 972 for disbandment- XN684 ' a FAW2,carried unofficial'artwo rk' wh en p repa ri n g f or take'off from HMS Eagle during final disembarkation-FAA Museum

Above:FAVll2 XN653 was retained by RAE Bedf ord until 1976and carried the RAF fin flash. t" 5 ; 1 rs

Vixen Mk ls, but later converlins :t' \li ls :> :n-\became available. No E92': :.-:.;-::.dwith the Mk 2s during 1963. ioining H\lS Hr-":i-iin time to participate in the Ade n cn>i>. -\ :::..i::.twas made to Yeovilton in Februarr '\:h\. \'\:-: :na

Squadron formed the FAA iisita'f j:i. i3:llconsisting of five aircraft kno\\r 3: 'S::i.':'>Circus'.

The departure of the Sea \iiren fr.'n.i .:ric-'commenced with the disbandment oi ::i Sq'.:'rd-

ron in October 1968 in preparation fLrr :r- -:r::\into service of the Phantom FGI ih. irr-;.\ir:lsApril. No 893 Squadron disbanded trn ih- r3:i:;loIHMS Hermes to Portsmouth in Jull tg-r i. -r i .riits aircraft going to RNAY Sydenham fot ::c:,gepending any decision on the future siz3 lrf lh3FAA. They were scrapped *'ith man\ of ii:esurviving Sea Vixens between 1971 and i9--: .

With the disbandment of 766 Squairt':: -.i

Yeovilton on 10 December 1970. the training ir.ltand some of its aircraft passed to 890 Squadrt'n' Inturn the 890 Squadron aircraft were passed ltr lheAirwork-operated Fleet Requirement: Unii(FRU) at Yeovilton. No 890 Squadron itself frnajirdisbanded on 6 August 1971 as the last iand-ba:edFAA Sea Vixen unit. three of its aircraft harinsbeen delivered to Cranwell for ground instructiLrn

three days previously. No 899 Squadron remainedon HMS Eagle until returning to Yeovilton on13 January \972 for disbandment. Five of itsaircraft were delivered to Llanbedr for droneconversion, while others went to Farnborough for:torr9€ and drone PreParation.

Thi Farnborough-based programme consistedmainly of removing unwanted equipment and

preparing the aircraft for flying to Flight RefuellingLtcL at Tarrant Rushton where conversion to U3drones took place. Funding for this programme*as ahvays short, the work on the programmepetering out with a mere handful of conversionsiompleied. some still being around at Hurn in198-1. mainly up for disposal' The Sea Vixenscontinued in service with the FRU at Yeoviltonuntil they too were withdrawn in January 1974,

one or trvo aircraft remaining as flyable hacks at

Beclford and Sydenham for the remainder of the\ ear.

Amongst the aircraft preserved is Mk 2

conversion XJ565 al the Mosquito Aircraft\luseum. As a Mk 1 it served with 766, 892 and

S9,1 Squadrcns, before conversion to Mk 2

standard between July 1965 and February 196'7. Itjoined 899 Squadron on 13 Febuary 1967 and was

rerired to the AHU at Brawdy on 2 Decemberi968. One year later it was delivered to the RAEBedford for non-flying catapult and arrester trials,completing 117 arrests between 20 February 1970

and i0 August 1973. It languished at Bedford untilstruck off charge on 29 July L976 before beingacquired by the Mosquito Aircraft N{useum whichcoliected it on 31 October. This aircraft is beingre\tored to the markings of 899 Squadron.

The Sea Vixen therefore closes the era of de

Havilland jet fighters. Although it failed to achieve

an RAF order, in favour of the Gloster Javelin, thesmaller number built remained in service longer'The Sea Vixen was an effective ground-attackaircraft. while also being capable of a rapid climbto "10.000ft where it could out-turn manyinterceptors.


Page 110: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen


1 Vampire SpecificationsMark Powerplant SPan

Prototypes One 2,7001b thrust Goblin 1 40ftF Mk 1 One 3.1001b thrust Goblin 1 40ftF Mk 1* One 4,4001b thrust Ghost 2/2 48ftF Mk II & IV One 4,5001b thrust Nene 1 40ftF Mk 3 One 3,1001b thrust Goblin 2 40ftF Mk 5 One 3.1001b thrust Goblin 2 38ftFB Mk 6 One 3.3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ftFB Mk 9 One 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ftNF Mk 10 One 3,3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ftT Mk 11 One 3.5001b thrust Goblin 35 38ftF Mk 20 One 3.1001b thrust Goblin 2 38ftFB Mk 30 One 5,0001b thrust Nene 2-VH 38ftFB Mk 50 & 52 One 3.3501b thrust Goblin 3 38ftFB Mk 51 & 53 One 5.0001b thrust Nene 1028 3itft

* Mk 1TG278 for high altitude Ghost engine development.

MarkFMK 1


TMK 11


Length30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in34ft7in34ft 6.5in30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in30ft 9in

Initial climb4,300ft/min4,350ft/min4,050ft/min4.800ft/min4,800ft/min4,500ft/min4,500ft/min4.300ft/min4.500ft/min4.500ft/min

Height9ft8ft 10in8ft 10inSft 10inSft 1OinSft 1Oin

Sft 10in8ft 1Oin6ft7rn6ft2inSft 1Oin

8ft 10inSft 1Oin

8ft 10in




Wing area

266sqft266sq ft

266sq ft266sqft262sqft262sqfr262sqft261sq ft262sqft262sqft262sqft262sqft262sqft


730 miles1,145 miles1.170 miles1,220 miles1,220 miles1.220 miles840 miles1.140 miles

Empty wt All-up wt Max speed

6,3721b 10,4801b 540mph7 ,1341b 11,9701b 531mph7,2531b 12,3601b 535mph7,2831b r2390lb 548mph7,283tb \2,3901b 548mph6,9841b 13,1001b 538mph7,3801b 11,1501b 538mph7,6231b 12,6601b 526mph7,6001b 11,0001b 570mph7,6561b 12,6281b 568mph

2 Venom SpecificationsMarkFBMKl&4NFMK2&FAWMK20NFMK3&FAW MK 21

FAW MK 22FAW MK 53Aquilon



41ft Sin


42ft llin42ft 1.lin42ft ll.tn42ft 1.lin

Length31ft 10in

33ft 1in

36ft 7in36ft 7in36fr7tn


6ft 6inSft 6.25inSft 8.25in

Wing area


279.7 5sq ft


PowerplantOne 4.8501b thrust Ghost 103

One 4.8501b thrust Ghost 103

One 4.9501b thrust Ghost 104One 5.3001b thrust Ghost 105

One 5,3001b thrust Ghost 104One 4.8401b thrust Ghost 48


Page 111: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

Mark All-up wt Max speed Initial clitnb Ceiling Range

FB Mk 1 & 4 15.4001b 610mph 9.000ft/minNFMK 2 &FAW MK 20NFMK 3 &FAW Mk 21 630mph E.762ftlmin 49,200tt 1,000 milesFAW Mk 22 1-5.E001b 575mph -i.90Oft/min 40,000ft 705 milesFAW Mk 53 1-i.8001b 587mph E.762ftlmin 49,200ft 1,000 miles

3 Sea Vixen SpecificationsMark Pox erplani Span Length Height Wing area

DH.110 Tsol.StxtibrhrusrRR.{r'onRA7 50ft 52ftlVzin 10ft9in 648sqftSeaVixenFAWNIk I T*o iu.t'tr:riL,ihrustRRAron208s 50ft 53ft7in 1lft6in 648sqftSea 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 EnduranceDH.110 -:-<.r r-t-rlb

Sea Vixen FAW Mk 1 6J5mph 48,000f1Sea Vixen FAW Mk I -1i.-irlb, ::.-u rlb 6l0mph 48,000f1 3 hours

4 ProductionVampire FightersPrototypes: FB NIk 9:

LZ54B,LZ551an<ltvtpE3s. WGU48-851, WG865-892, WG922-931, EnglishElectric-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: ExportsTX807. 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 1 0 1 - 150. \\ A 1,i9-10S. \\'-{t 1 -{-16-1.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.


Page 112: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

FB Mk 5 France:76 ex-RAF stock.

FB Mk 51 France:183 licence-built VamPires.

Mistral France:250 built by SNCASE

FB Mk 5 South Africa:10 aircraft+40 aircraft including FB Mk 9s'

FB Mk 5 ltaly:5 evaluation*de Havilland-built aircraft.80 aircraft licence-built in Italy.

FB Mk 52 Egypt:30 aircraft aiquired from Italy and 20* fromUK.

FB Mk 5 Venezuela:30 aircraft.

FB Mk 52 New Zealand:18 aircraft+S+20 ex-RAF FB Mk 5s

FB Mk 5 Finland:6 aircraft.

FB Mk 5 lraq:12 aircraft.

FB Mk 52 Lebanon:5 aircraft.

FB Mk 9 Southern Rhodesia24 aircraft.

Vampire Night Fighters

ProtoQpes:G-5-2. G-5-5/WP 256.

NFMK 10:

WM232-256,WM659, WM730-733 de HavillandHatfield-built.wM660-677, W M7 03 -7 29, WV689-691de Havilland Chester-built'

ExportsNF Mk 10 Switzerland:

1 aircraft J-1301.

NF Mk l0 Egypr:15 aircraft (ex-RAF- cancelled) 1550-1564'

NF Mk 54 ltaty:14 aircraft (ex-RAF) 3. 167'3.I7 0, 3.211-3.220'


NF Mk 54 India:30 aircraft (ex-RAF) 1D592-609, ID 1601-1612'

Vampire Trainer

Prototype:G-5-ilWW456 + Pre-production WW458 and


TMK 11:w z4l4-430, W 2446-47 8, W 2493 -521" W 2544-593, W 2607 - 620, XD37 5 - 405, XD 424' 463'xD506-554, XD588-627, XES16-897, XE919-96l, xE97 5 -998, XH264-27 8, XH292'330,xH357-368, XJ77 r-77 6, XK582-590, XK623-637for RAF.

TMK22:XA100- 1 3 1, XA152-11 2, XG7 42-7 7 7 for RN'

ExportsT Mk 33 Austalia:

36 aircraft for RAAF.

T Mk 34 Australia:5 aircraft for RAN+ 1 licence-built T.344.

T Mk 35 Australia:68 aircraft for RAAF built under licence.

T Mk 55 New Zealand:6 aircraft NZ570I-5706.

T Mk 55 South Africa:6 + 19 aircraft S A22l-226, S A257 -262,5,4.265-


T Mk 55 Norway:6 aircraft PX-E, PX-G, PX-M, ZK'X,ZK-Y,ZK-z.

T Mk 55 Venezuela::6 aircraft 23-A-36,28-35 to 6E-35'

T Mk 55 Portugal:2 aircraft P5801 and P5802.

T Mk 55 Sweden:45 aircraft 28411,'28455.

T Mk 55 Switzerland:39 aircraft U-1201 toU-1239.

T Mk 55 India:53 aircraft lY 467 -47 0. Iy 514-552, BY 37 7 -386'

T Mk 55 Lebanon:4 aircraft L-151, L-154, L-159, L-160.

Page 113: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

T Mk 55 lraq:7 aircraft 333-335. 367. 386-388.

T Mk 55 Clile:6 aircraft J.01-J06+6 ex-RN T22s.

T Mk 55 Finland:9 aircraft VT-1 to \-T-9.

T Mk 55 Bunna:8 aircraft UB501-UB50S.

T Mk I I Soutltent Rhories;u:12 aircraft ex-RAF.

T Mk 55 Egypt:12 aircraft 1570-158 1 .

T Mk 55 Indonesia:8 aircraft J-701 to J-70"c.

T Mk 55 Japan:1 aircraft 63-5571.

T Mk 11 Jordan:3 aircraft ex-RAF.

T Mk 55 lreland:6 aircraft 185-187. 191-19-1.

T Mk 55 Ceyl6,rt5 aircraft cancelled-

T Mk 55 Syria:2 aircraft 493-491 cancelled.

T Mk 55 Austria:8 aircraft including -iC-\'-\. :C-\ B- jC-\'C a:rd3 ex-RAF.

Venom Fighter BombersPrototypes:

VY672 and W613.

FB MK 1:WE255-294. \\;E30-1-3-rI. \\ E-1Jr L-1!y. \\-E-:!fe-43 8, WE444--183. \\' K-3S9 J-i-. \\-K+6:--.',-: ;r. n

15 de Havilland Hatfield-built- maiurri:r oiremainder de Har illand Che:rcr-t'uii:. bur ..,.n"also assembled bv Fairer.and \farshails.WL892-935. WL9-5-1-999 cancelled aircratiallocated to Bristol.W F.27 2-321, \\/ R33-1-3 73 d e H ar i ll a n d C h e :r e r.Fairey and Marshalls-built.WW669-710 cancelled aircraft allocated toBristol.

FB MK 4:wR374-383, WR397-446, WR460-509, WR525-564 de Havilland Hatfield and Chester, Faireyand lvlarshalls-built.

ExportsFB Mk 50 ltaly:

2 aircraft MM6153 and MM6154.

FB Mk 50 lraq:15 aircraft 352-366.

FB Mk 54 Venezuela:22 aircraft 1A-34 to 8C-34.

FB Mk 1, Switzerland:126 aircraft J-1501 to J-1625, J-1650.

FB Mk 1R Switzerland:24 aircraft J -1626 to J -\649.

FB Mk 4 Switzerland:100 aircraft J-1701 to J-1800.

lenom Night FightersPrototypes:

G-5-3|WP227 NF2, WV928 NF3.

\F MK 2:\\rL804-833, WL845-874, WR779-808, first 7de Havilland Hatfield-built, remainderde Havilland Chester-built.

\F }IK 3:\\'x785-810, WX837-886, WX903-949, W2315-320 de Havilland Hatfield, Chester andChristchurch-built.

Erports\F \,Ik 51 Sweden:

62 aircraft 33001-33062.

Sea YenomsProrcry'pes:

\\/K376, WK379 and WK385 all FAW20,xA539 FAW21.

F.A.\\'Mk 20:\\'M500-523, W}.{5 42- 567 .

FAW MK 21:wM568-577, WW137-154, WW186-225,\\4v261-298, XG606-638. XG653-680 built atde Havilland Christchurch and Chester.

FAW MK 22:XG68l-702, XG72I-737, all built atde Havilland Chester.


Page 114: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

ExportsFAW Mk 53 Australia:

39 aircraft W2893-91'1,W2927-946 for RAN, a1l

built at Christchurch.

Aquilon 20 France:4 aircraft for French Navy, converted to Aquilon204s.

Aquilon 201 France:25 aircraft for French NavY.

Below:Eight FAW2S were allocated to ground training at RAFHalton having flown into Abingdon and then beenmoved by road. PhiliP Birtles

Bottom:Sea Vixen FAWs XS577 was painted in the distinctivored and yellow U3 pilotless drone colours' but thisprogramme of conversions ceased before anynumbers were available due to budget restrictions.Flight Refuelling

Aquilon 202 France:25 aircraft for French NavY.

Aquilon 203 France:40 aircraft for French NavY.


wG236, WG240, XF828.

Sea VixenFAWMK 1:

XJ 41 4-494 (pre-production batch) XJ5 13-528'xJ556-586, XJ602-611, WN647-658, XN683-710all de Havilland Christchurch-built+XP918from de Haviiland Chester.

FAWMK2:XP9t9-925, XP953-959, XS576-590 allde Havilland Chester-built.


Page 115: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen

ln series with

Avro ShackletonJOHN CHARTRES


Gloster JavelinM. ALLWARD

Gloster MeteorCHAZ BOWYER

Also of interest

English Electric GanberraROLAND BEAMONT & ARTHUR REED

English Electric P1 LightningROLAND BEAMONT

'Modern Combat Aircraft' series

BAe Hawk


C-l30 Hercules


Hawker Hunter



Westland Sea King







Printed by lan Allan Printing Ltd

Page 116: Postwar 5 de Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen









. ISBN 0-?110-15tt-x

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