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De Havilland Vampire turbojet fighter

Written by Sakhal

During the Second World War the British put into warlike operation the turbojet Gloster Meteor, which became the first turbojet fighter entering production ever. However, during those years the British aeronautic industry went further, creating parallely a very different design for another turbojet fighter, the de Havilland DH-100 Vampire. Unlike the Meteor, the Vampire should be an experimental aircraft. The project for the Vampire started to get shape in the design board in May 1942. A single engine was allocated in the fuselage with the air intakes located in the attachment of the wings. The empennage was attached to the wings by two beam tails, following a scheme that seemed inspired in the American P-38 Lightning. The fuselage was entirely metallic, except by the cockpit, which following the tradition of the de Havilland was constructed in plywood and balsa wood. The project was entirely by de Havilland; the engine was a Halford H1 - later renamed as Goblin -, projected by Major Frank Halford and built by de Havilland. The first flight of the Vampire was performed by Geoffrey de Havilland Jr at Hatfield the 20th September 1943, six months after the baptism of air of the Meteor. These six months of difference made that the Meteor could enter into action in the last year of the war, while the Vampire could not been experimented in combat conditions during the conflict. The Vampire served in the frontline squadrons of the Royal Air Force until 1955 but remained in service during successive years in foreign countries. Circa 4400 units were produced, of which about a fourth part were under licence.

De Havilland Vampire turbojet fighter

De Havilland Vampire F-1 (Vampire Mk 1). Wingspan: 12.20 meters; length: 9.38 meters; speed: 845 kilometers/hour at an altitude of 7620 meters; armament: four 20-millimeter cannons.

De Havilland Vampire turbojet fighter

The de Havilland Goblin was one of the first British turbojets serially produced. Operating by the principle of centrifugal flow, it gave a thrust of 1415 kilograms at 10200 revolutions per minute. These engines had the inconvenience of requiring more space than the engines working by the principle of axial flow, which were slenderer, allowing the installation in more streamlined fuselages.


Nomenclature: F (fighter), FB (fighter-bomber), NF (night fighter), T (trainer)

DH-100 (Spidercrab): three prototypes (LZ548/G, LZ551/G and MP838/G) equipped with Goblin engine; first flight the 20th September 1943.

Vampire Mk 1: Goblin 2 engine; a total of 244 units, series TG and VF, including 70 for Sweden and four for Switzerland; serially produced by English Electric (the TG281, TG283 and TG306 modified as DH-108; the TG283 reconverted into the VW120); some units that had belonged to Sweden were resold to Austria and Dominican Republic.

Vampire Mk 2: Nene 1 engine; one prototype (TX807) and two reconversions from the Vampire Mk 1 (TG276 and TG280).

Vampire F Mk 3: two prototypes reconverted from the Vampire Mk 1 (TG275 and VF312); 202 units serially produced, including 83 for Canada and four for Norway; in 1961, 15 units that had belonged to the RAF, were transferred to Mexico; series VF, VG, VT and VV.

Vampire Mk 4: not built as such; the project that used the Nene engine in the Vampire Mk 3 was reconverted into the Vampire Mk 30.

Vampire FB Mk 5: Goblin 2 engine, provision for weapons under the wings; 930 units built for the RAF (including 30 that were later exported to France, five for Italy and others to India, Egypt and Venezuela); 41 for Australia, 47 for New Zealand, 17 for South Africa; 67 assembled, plus 183 build in France under licence; series VV, VX, VZ, WA and WG.

Vampire FB Mk 6: Goblin 3 engine; Swiss version, 75 exported to Switzerland and 100 produced there under licence.

Vampire Mk 8: reconversion with Ghost Mk 1 engine; only one produced (TG278).

Vampire FB Mk 9: Goblin 3 engine, tropicalized version; 324 produced for the RAF, including 15 that were later exported to Rhodesia and 10 to Jordan; two for Ceylon, later retrieved; series WG, WL, WP and WX.

Vampire Mk 10: Goblin 3 engine, two-seater; two prototypes built (G-5-2, later WP256 and G-5-5).

Vampire NF Mk 10: two-seater; 95 units produced (62 in Chester and 33 in Hatfield).

Vampire NF Mk 54: produced for Italy; series WM, WP and WV.

Sea Vampire Mk 10: prototype reconverted in 1945 (LZ551) for tests in carrier flight deck.

Vampire Mk 11: two-seater training aircraft of private initiative; Goblin 3 engine; one prototype built (G-5-7).

Vampire T Mk 11: serially produced version of the Vampire Mk 11; Goblin 35 engine; 731 units built (427 in Chester and 304 in Hatfield, some assembled by Hindustan Aircraft in India); series WZ, XD, XE, XH and XK.

Hooked Vampire: three Vampire Mk 1 and Mk 3 (TG328, TG426 and VF315) reconverted as navalized prototypes.

Sea Vampire F Mk 20: 18 aircraft for the naval aviation; series VG, VT and VV.

Sea Vampire Mk 21: three aircraft reconverted for belly landing tests in carrier flight deck.

Sea Vampire T Mk 22: two-seater; 73 units produced for the naval aviation; series XA and XG.

Vampire FB Mk 25: 47 Vampire Mk 5 exported to New Zealand with this denomination.

Vampire F Mk 30: Nene engine; serially produced in Australia, 80 units built.

Vampire FB Mk 31: Nene engine; modification of the Vampire Mk 5; serially produced in Australia, 29 units built.

Vampire F Mk 32: Australian Vampire F Mk 30 reconverted to be fitted with air conditioning.

Vampire T Mk 33: Goblin engine, two-seater; serially produced in Australia, 36 units built.

Vampire T Mk 34: serially produced in Australia, with five navalized units built.

Vampire T Mk 34A: 34 Australian Vampire T Mk 34 reconverted to be fitted with ejection seats.

Vampire T Mk 35: increased fuel capacity and modified cockpit; serially produced in Australia, 68 units built.

Vampire T Mk 35A: Australian Vampire T Mk 33 partially or totally reconverted to the level of the version T Mk 35.

Vampire FB Mk 50: 143 aircraft of new production exported to Sweden with the denomination J28.

Vampire FB Mk 51: exportation prototype reconverted from the Vampire Mk 5 (VV658); delivered to France as model aircraft.

Vampire FB Mk 52: exportation version based on the Vampire Mk 6; 101 units built, including 25 for Norway, 50 for Egypt, six for Finland, 12 for Irak and eight for Lebanon; seven Egyptian aircraft were later transferred to Jordan.

Vampire FB Mk 52A: 80 units produced in Italy under licence by Macchi and Fiat.

Vampire FB Mk 53: Nene engine; 250 units produced in France under licence by SNCASE with the denomination Mistral.

Vampire NF Mk 54: 29 Vampire Mk 10 sold to Italy with this denomination, later resold to India.

Vampire T Mk 55: 216 aircraft of new production for exportation (five to Austria, five to Ceylon - later retrieved -, five to Chile, 12 to Egypt, six to Ireland, five to Finland, 55 to India, eight to Indonesia, six to Irak, three to Lebanon, six to New Zealand, four to Norway, three to Portugal, 21 to South Africa, 571 to Sweden with the denomination J28C, two to Syria and six to Venezuela; another six Vampire T Mk 11 that had belonged to the RAF were modified to the level of the T Mk 55 for New Zealand, plus two for Jordan and four for South Rhodesia.

De Havilland Vampire turbojet fighter

The Vampire Mk 11 produced by own initiative by the Airspeed Ltd - a subsidiary of the de Havilland - gave as result a training aircraft cheaper than the Meteor T-7. It was equipped with a pressurized cockpit with two seats placed side by side, disposition that was then preferred. This version was then one of the most numerous in the RAF, with more than 530 units delivered.

De Havilland Vampire turbojet fighter

A historic photography: a Vampire T-11, last version of this aircraft in the RAF, flies together with a Meteor T-7 in May 1973.

Specifications for de Havilland Vampire FB Mk 5

Type: Single-seater direct support fighter-bomber

Engine: One turbojet de Havilland Goblin 2 at centrifugal flow of 1400 kilograms of thrust

Maximum speed: 861 kilometers/hour at an altitude of 10365 meters

Climbing rate: 1235 meters/minute

Operative altitude: 12190 meters

Operational range: 1883 kilometers

Weight (empty): 3290 kilograms

Weight (full load): 5606 kilograms

Wingspan: 11.58 meters

Length: 9.37 meters

Height: 2.69 meters

Wing area: 24.34 square meters

Armament: Four Hispano 20-millimeter cannons in the nose, plus a load of weapons under the wings of either 227 kilograms of bombs or eight rockets

Categories: Aircraft - World War Two - 20th Century - [General] - [General]


Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2014-11-05

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