It was the second jet fighter to be operated by the RAF, after the Gloster Meteor , and the first to be powered by a single jet engine. Work on the Vampire commenced during in the midst of the Second World War ; it was initially intended as an experimental aircraft, albeit one that was suitable for combat, that harnessed the groundbreaking innovation of jet propulsion.
Out of the company's design studies, it was quickly decided to settle on a single-engine, twin-boom aircraft, powered by the Halford H. Aside from its propulsion system and twin-boom configuration, it was a relatively conventional aircraft. Despite being originally ordered as an experimental aircraft only, during May , it was decided to mass-produce the aircraft as an interceptor for the Royal Air Force RAF.
During , the first production Vampire entered operational service with the RAF, only months after the conflict had come to an end.
The Vampire quickly proved to be an effective aircraft and was adopted as a replacement for many wartime piston-engined fighter aircraft. During its early service, it was recognised for accomplishing several aviation firsts and various records, such as being the first jet aircraft to traverse the Atlantic Ocean. The Vampire remained in front-line service with the RAF up until ; after this date, it was progressively reassigned to various secondary roles, such as ground attack missions and pilot training operations, for which specialist variants of the type were produced.
During , the Vampire was officially retired by the RAF, having been withdrawn from its final role as an advanced trainer after having been replaced by the Folland Gnat. The Royal Navy had also adopted the type as the Sea Vampire , a navalised variant suitable for operations from its aircraft carriers. It was the service's first jet fighter. The Vampire was exported to a wide variety of nations and was operated worldwide in numerous theatres and climates.
Several countries deployed the type in combat during conflicts, including the Suez Crisis , the Malayan Emergency , and the Rhodesian Bush War. By the end of production, almost 3, Vampires had been manufactured, a quarter of these having been manufactured under licence in several other countries. In addition, de Havilland pursued the further development of the type; major derivatives produced include the DH. In January , Sir Henry Tizard made an informal approach to the de Havilland Aircraft Company , suggesting that the company proceed to design a fighter aircraft that would harness the revolutionary new jet propulsion technology under development, along with an appropriate engine to go with it.
While no official specification had then been issued, de Havilland decided to proceed with an exploration of the concept; the company quickly conceived of a single-engined aircraft that had air-intakes set into the wing roots to feed a centrally mounted engine, which made use of centrifugal design. Halford's engine was developed, and emerged as the Halford H.
By April , design work on the engine had been completed, and a prototype H. The low power output of the early jet engines had meant that only twin-engined aircraft designs were considered to be practical during the early stages of development; however, as more powerful jet engines were quickly developed, particularly Halford's H. The use of a twin boom enabled the jet pipe to be kept relatively short, which avoided the power loss that would have occurred if a long pipe was used, as would have been necessary in a conventional fuselage.
It also put the rudder empennage clear of interference from the exhaust. The Ministry of Aircraft Production MAP expressed doubts regarding the estimations for the aircraft's performance and weight; however, the project received permission to proceed in July The DH. The aircraft was considered to be a largely experimental design due to its use of a single engine and some unorthodox features, unlike the Gloster Meteor which had been specified for production early on.
Internally designated as the DH. The layout of the DH. It was furnished with conventional mid-mounted straight wings; air brakes were installed on the wings to slow the aircraft, better enabling it to manoeuvre into a firing position behind slower aircraft, a feature that had also been incorporated in the Meteor.
Armament comprised four 20mm Hispano Mk V cannon located underneath the nose; from the onset of the design phase, even when the aircraft was officially intended to serve only as an experimental aircraft, the provision for the cannon armament had been included. On 20 September , the first DH. On 13 May , an initial production order for Vampire Mk I aircraft was received; it was quickly increased to aircraft soon thereafter. Due to the extensive wartime pressures upon de Havilland's production facilities for existing aircraft type, English Electric Aircraft undertook production of the Vampire at their Preston, Lancashire factories instead; the company would go on to produce the majority of the aircraft.
Only about half a dozen production aircraft had been built by the end of the Second World War, although it did not result in the type becoming a victim of the extensive post-war cutbacks that were soon implemented, which had terminated the production of many existing aircraft along with development work upon several more. De Havilland initiated a private venture night fighter , the DH.
An order to supply the Egyptian Air Force was received, but this was blocked by the British government as part of a general ban on supplying arms to Egypt. Instead, the RAF took over the order and put them into service as an interim measure between the retirement of the de Havilland Mosquito night fighter and the full introduction of the Meteor night fighter. This trainer variant was built in large numbers, both for the RAF and for export.
An alternative powerplant to the de Havilland Goblin soon became available in the form of the Rolls-Royce Nene , which was likewise a turbojet engine capable of generating similar levels of thrust. The Vampire II designation was applied to three experimental Nene-powered Vampires, which were used to assess their performance.
Fairey Firefly | Revolvy
Although the un-installed Nene had a higher thrust than the Goblin, the level flight speed was no greater. To reduce the installed-engine intake losses caused by having to feed air to the rear face of the impeller, two additional intakes were added behind the cockpit; these had the negative side-effect of causing elevator reversal  and buffeting tendencies, which in turn reduced the Vampire's Mach limitation. The Vampire III , was the first of several models that sought to address the demands for greater range from the type.
The design changes to accommodate hardpoint -mounted drop tanks had the additional benefit of enabling the carriage of various stores and had effectively readied the type for performing ground-attack duties. The Vampire was used by 31 air forces. Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the U. On 8 June , the Vampire was introduced to the British public when Fighter Command 's Squadron was given the honour of leading the flypast over London at the Victory Day Celebrations.
Vampires and Sea Vampires were used in trials from to to develop recovery and deck-handling procedures and equipment  for the operation of aircraft without an undercarriage from flexible rubber decks on aircraft carriers. Deletion of the undercarriage would reduce the aircraft weight, allow extra fuel to be carried, and ease deck handling.
Any gains in aircraft performance were more than cancelled by the complexity and cost of implementation.
On 14 July , six Vampire F. From Goose Bay airfield they went on to Montreal c.
One report said the USAF squadron delayed completion of its movement to allow the Vampires to be "the first jets across the Atlantic". The de Havilland Vampire was a jet-powered twin-boom aircraft, typically employed in the fighter and fighter bomber roles. In comparison to later aircraft, the Vampire had a relatively disorganised cockpit that in some aspects lacked ergonomic measures; such as the fuel gauges being difficult for the pilot to observe without pulling the control column back.
The pilot was provided with a fairly favourable external view, in part aided by the relatively small size of the Vampire. This engine was a centrifugal -flow type, a configuration later superseded after by the slimmer axial -flow units. In , Wing Commander Maurice Smith , assistant editor of Flight magazine, stated upon piloting his first jet-powered aircraft, a Vampire Mk III: "Piloting a jet aircraft has confirmed one opinion I had formed after flying as a passenger in the Lancastrian jet test beds, that few, if any, having flown in a jet-propelled transport, will wish to revert to the noise, vibration and attendant fatigue of an airscrew-propelled piston-engined aircraft".
Initially, the relatively high fuel consumption of the Goblin engine had provided early models of the Vampire with a limited range; this had been a common problem with all early jet aircraft. Later marks featured considerably increased internal fuel capacity as a result. The H. Certain marks of the Vampire were also operated as flying test-beds for the Rolls-Royce Nene engine, leading to the FB30 and 31 variants that were built in, and operated by, Australia.
Due to the low positioning of the engine, a Vampire could not remain on idle for long as the heat from the jet exhaust would melt the tarmac behind the aircraft. According to Mason, the controls of the Vampire were considered to be relatively light and sensitive, employing an effective elevator arrangement that enabled generous acceleration from relatively little control inputs along with highly balanced ailerons that could achieve high rates of roll.
At speeds in excess Mach 0. The Vampire was compatible with a wide range of aerobatic manoeuvers, Mason comparing its capabilities in this respect to purpose-built sporting aircraft. It has been claimed that the type was the last British jet-powered fighter capable of accurately precipitating conditions such as hammer stalls, stall turns, and wingovers. Preparing the Vampire for take-off required pilots to perform only six vital actions : setting the trim to neutral, opening the high and low-pressure fuel cocks, activating the booster pump, setting the flaps , and retracting the air brakes.
Typically, power-on landings were conducted due to the slow response of the engine to throttle changes, and wheel brakes had to be applied carefully to avoid locking the wheels because there was no anti-lock braking system on the fighters. On 3 July , the Vampire became the first jet aircraft to equip peacetime units of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force , gradually replacing the de Havilland Mosquito in this capacity.
By far, the theatre in which the largest number of Vampires were stationed was Germany; this extensive deployment by the RAF has been viewed as one measure of the emerging Cold War climate between West and East Europe, as well as being a reaction to events such as the Korean War and the Berlin Blockade. Experience of Vampire operation in tropical climates led to the development of new models featuring refrigeration equipment for pilot comfort and increasingly powerful models of the Goblin engine, to counter the degradation of performance in hot conditions.
Accordingly, in January , the first Vampire FB. In use against Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya , from , it was gradually replaced by the de Havilland Venom , a swept wing development of the Vampire.
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The Vampire NF. Other aircraft were sold on to the Indian Air Force for further use. By , the Vampire FB. The final variants of the Vampire was the T trainer aircraft. Being first flown from the old Airspeed Ltd factory at Christchurch, Hampshire on 15 November , production deliveries of the Vampire trainer began in January Over examples of the T.
By , the Vampire trainer had been mostly withdrawn, its replacement in the advanced training role being the Folland Gnat ; only a small number of Vampire T. A small number of aircraft that were used in secondary roles carried on in these capacities until the withdrawal of the last operational aircraft from service with No. The Sea Vampire had several key differences from their land-based counterparts. The Sea Vampire was fitted with enlarged air brakes and landing flaps for superior low-speed control during landing approaches, along with construction to higher load factors to account for the greater stresses involved in carrier landings.
On 15 October , the first Sea Vampire performed its maiden flight. The second aircraft, the F2 A , was significant in that it was powered by the more powerful Rolls-Royce Nene jet engine, rather than the standard Goblin unit. All of the 80 F. The Nene required a greater intake cross-section than the Goblin, and the initial solution was to mount auxiliary intakes on top of the fuselage behind the canopy. All of the Nene-engined aircraft were later modified to move the auxiliary intakes beneath the fuselage, thus entirely avoiding the problem. In June , the first Vampire F.
The Vampire T. Many were manufactured or assembled at de Havilland Australia's facilities in Sydney.
(Warpaint Series No.28) Fairey Firefly F.Mk.1 to U.Mk.9
The Mk35W was a Mk35 fitted with spare Mk33 wings following overstress or achievement of fatigue life. Vampire trainer production in Australia amounted to aircraft, and the initial order was filled by 35 T. In , a single Vampire F. The Vampire F. Operating a total of 86 aircraft, the Vampire F. The Vampire had the function of introducing Canadian fighter pilots not only to jet propulsion, but also to other amenities such as cockpit pressurisation and the tricycle landing gear arrangement.
It proved to be a popular aircraft, being easy to fly and often considered a "hot rod. By , Egypt was operating a fleet of 49 Vampires, which had been acquired from both Italy and Britain, in the fighter-bomber role. The model was nicknamed " Vamppi " in Finnish service. Fireflies also provided air cover during strikes on the German battleship "Tirpitz" in Throughout its operational career, the Firefly took on increasingly more demanding roles from fighter to anti-submarine warfare stationed mainly with the British Pacific Fleet in the Far East and Pacific theatres.
Fireflies carried out attacks on oil refineries and airfields and gained renown when they became the first British-designed and -built aircraft to overfly Tokyo. It also had some Mk I Fireflies, and sold several of these to Ethiopia in the early s. British and Australian Fireflies carried out anti-shipping patrols and ground strikes off various aircraft carriers in the Korean War as well as serving in the ground-attack role in the Malaya. Mk 1A: ; Firefly NF. They had a slightly longer fuselage than the Mk I and had modifications to house their airborne interception AI radar.
Mk I: The NF. Mk 1: Two-seat pilot training aircraft. Post-war conversion of the Firefly Mk I. Mk 2: Armed operational training aircraft. Mk 3: Used for Anti-submarine warfare training. Postwar conversion of the Firefly Mk I. Mk 5: Night fighter version based on the Firefly Mk 5. Mk 5: Reconnaissance fighter version based on the Firefly Mk 5. Mk 5: The later Firefly AS.
Mk 5 was an anti-submarine aircraft, which carried American sonobuoys and equipment.
Mk 6: The Fairefly AS. Mk 6 was an anti-submarine aircraft, which carried British equipment. Mk 7: The Firefly AS. Mk 7 was an anti-submarine aircraft, powered by a Rolls-Royce Griffin 59 piston engine. Mk 7: The Firefly T. Mk 7 was an interim ASW training aircraft. Mk 8: The Firefly U. Mk 8 was a target drone aircraft; 34 Firefly T. Mk 9: The Firefly U.
Mk 9 was a target drone aircraft; 40 existing Firefly Mk AS. Firefly "WB" was destroyed in July during an aerobatic air display at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridgeshire - Europe's largest display of vintage war planes. The latter was one of the first ten Mk 6s built, but retained the earlier Mk 5 fuselage; originally delivered to the Royal Australian Navy's Squadron, it served in Squadron before being retired and ending up as a memorial on a pole in Griffith, New South Wales, Australia.
Related Warpaint Series No. 28: Fairey Firefly F. Mk. 1 to U. Mk. 9
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