de Havilland DH.100 Vampire Video - Flexible deck carrier landing
Picture: WZ507, a Vampire T 11 trainer variant, operated by the Vampire Preservation Group at North Weald, Essex, UK
Role - Fighter aircraft
Manufacturer - de Havilland
First flight - 20 September 1943
Introduced - 1945
Retired - 1979 Rhodesian Air Force
Primary users - Royal Air Force
Fleet Air Arm
Number built - 3,268
Variants - de Havilland Venom
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engined fighter of the Second World War, the second jet-powered aircraft commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the War (the first being the Gloster Meteor), although it was not used in combat. The Vampire served with front line RAF squadrons until 1955 and continued in use as a trainer until 1966. It also served with many air forces worldwide, and set several aviation firsts and records. Almost 3,300 Vampires were built, a quarter of them under licence in other countries. The Vampire design was also developed into the de Havilland Venom fighter-bomber as well as naval Sea Vampire variants.
Design and development
Picture: Interior layout of the Vampire FB Mk2
The Vampire was considered to be a largely experimental design due to its unorthodox arrangement and the use of a single engine, unlike the Gloster Meteor which was always specified for production. The low-powered early British jet engine types meant that only twin-engine aircraft designs were considered practical; but as more powerful engines were developed, particularly Frank Halford's H.1 (later known as the Goblin), a single-engined jet fighter became more viable. De Havilland were approached to produce an airframe for the H.1, and their first design, the DH.99, was an all-metal, twin-boom, tricycle undercarriage aircraft armed with four cannon. The use of a twin boom (similar to that of the Lockheed P-38) kept the jet pipe short which avoided the power loss of a long pipe that would have been needed in a conventional fuselage. The DH.99 was modified to a mixed wood and metal construction in light of Ministry of Aircraft Production comments, and the design was renumbered to DH.100 by November 1941.
Under specification E.6/41 for two prototypes, design work on the DH.100 began at the de Havilland works at Hatfield in mid-1942, two years after the Meteor.
Picture: Shape comparison of the FB5 single seat (left) and T11 dual seat Vampire
Originally named the "Spider Crab," the aircraft was entirely a de Havilland project, exploiting the company's extensive experience in building with moulded plywood for aircraft construction. Many of the basic design features were first used in their Mosquito bomber. It had conventional straight mid-wings and a single jet engine placed in an egg-shaped, aluminium-skinned fuselage, exhausting in a straight line.
Geoffrey de Havilland Jr, the de Havilland chief test pilot and son of the company's founder, test flew prototype LZ548/G on its maiden flight 20 September 1943 from Hatfield. The flight took place only six months after the Meteor's maiden flight. The first Vampire flight had been delayed due to the need to send the sole remaining flight engine to Lockheed to replace one destroyed in ground engine runs in the prototype XP-80. The production Vampire Mk I did not fly until April 1945, with most being built by English Electric Aircraft due to the pressures on de Havilland's production facilities which were busy with other types. Although eagerly taken into service by the RAF, it was still being developed at war's end, and consequently the Vampire never saw combat in the Second World War.
De Havilland initiated a private venture night fighter, the DH.113 intended for export. An order to supply the Egyptian Air Force was received, but this was blocked by the 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 between the retirement of the de Havilland Mosquito night fighter and the full introduction of the Meteor NF.
A total of 3,268 Vampires were built in 15 versions, including a twin-seat night fighter, trainer and carrier-based aircraft designated Sea Vampire.
It was used by some 31 air forces. Germany, Spain and the U.S. were the only major Western powers not to use the aircraft type.
Records and achievements
Picture: The first carrier landing and take-off of a jet aircraft in 1945 - Eric "Winkle" Brown taking off from HMS Ocean
On 8 June 1946 the Vampire was officially introduced to the British public when Fighter Command's 247 Squadron was given the honour of leading the flypast over London at the Victory Day Celebrations. 
The Vampire was a versatile aircraft, setting many aviation firsts and records, being the first RAF fighter with a top speed exceeding 500 mph (800 km/h). On 4 December, 1945, a Sea Vampire piloted by Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown became the first aircraft to perform an intentional and planned jet-powered landing on an aircraft carrier and execute a jet-powered takeoff. In 1948, John Cunningham set a new world altitude record of 59,446 ft (18,119 m). On 14 July 1948, six Vampire F3s of No. 54 Squadron RAF became the first jet aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. They went via Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Keflavik in Iceland, and Goose Bay at Labrador, before going on to Montreal (c. 3,000 mi/4,828 km) to start the RAF’s annual goodwill tour of Canada and the U.S. where they gave several formation aerobatic displays.
At the same time, USAF Colonel David C. Schilling led a group of F-80 Shooting Stars flying to Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base in Germany to relieve a unit based there. There were conflicting reports later regarding competition between the RAF and USAF to be the first to fly the Atlantic. One report said the USAF squadron delayed completion of its movement to allow the Vampires to be "the first jets across the Atlantic". Another said that the Vampire pilots celebrated “winning the race against the rival F-80s.”
RAF and Royal Navy service
The Vampire was first powered by a Halford H1 (later renamed the "Goblin") producing 2,100 lbf (9.3 kN) of thrust, designed by Frank B Halford and built by de Havilland. The engine was a centrifugal-flow type, a design soon superseded post-war by the slimmer axial-flow units. Initially, the Goblin gave the aircraft a disappointingly limited range. This was a common problem with all the early jets, and later marks were distinguished by greatly increased fuel capacities. As designs improved the engine was often upgraded. Later Mk Is used the Goblin II; the F 3 onwards used the Goblin III. Certain marks were test-beds for the Rolls-Royce Nene but did not enter production. An unusual characteristic of the low positioning of the engine meant that a Vampire could not remain on idle for longer than a certain time because it would melt the tarmac on which it stood.
In postwar service, the RAF employed the Gloster Meteor as an interceptor and the Vampire as a ground-attack fighter-bomber (although their roles probably should have been reversed). The first prototype of the "Vampire Fighter-Bomber Mk 5 (FB 5)," modified from a Vampire F 3, carried out its initial flight on 23 June 1948. The FB 5 retained the Goblin III engine of the F 3, but featured armour protection around engine systems, wings clipped back by 1 ft (30 cm), and longer-stroke main landing gear to handle greater takeoff weights and provide clearance for stores/weapons load. An external tank or 500 lb (227 kg) bomb could be carried under each wing, and eight "3-inch" rocket projectiles ("RPs") could be stacked in pairs on four attachments inboard of the booms. Although an ejection seat was considered, it was not fitted.
Picture: T 11 two-seat Vampire trainer.
At its peak, 19 RAF squadrons flew the FB 5 in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. The FB 5 undertook attack missions during the successful British campaign to suppress the insurgency in Malaya in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The FB 5 fighter-bomber became the most numerous variant with 473 aircraft produced.
The NF.10 served from 1951 to 1954 with three squadrons (23, 25 and 151) but was often flown in daytime as well as night time.
The RAF eventually relegated the Vampire to advanced training roles in the mid-1950s and the type was generally out of RAF service by the end of the decade.
The Mk 5 was navalised as the Sea Vampire, the first Royal Navy jet aircraft. The navy had been very impressed with the aircraft since 3 December 1945, when a Vampire carried out the flying trials on the carrier HMS Ocean.
The final Vampire was the T 11 trainer. First flown in 1950, over 600 were produced in both air force and naval models. The trainer remained in service with the RAF until 1966.
Picture: D.H.100 Vampire Mk 52 "VA-7" Koskue
An F Mk 1 version began operating on an evaluation basis in Canada at the Winter Experimental Establishment in Edmonton in 1946. The F 3 was chosen as one of two types of operational fighters for the Royal Canadian Air Force and was first flown in Canada on 17 January 1948 where it went into service as a Central Flying School training aircraft at RCAF Station Trenton. With 86 in total, the F 3 was the first jet fighter to enter RCAF service in any significant numbers. It served to introduce fighter pilots not only to jet flying, but also to cockpit pressurisation and the tricycle landing gear. The "Vamp" was a popular aircraft, easy to fly and considered a bit of a "hot rod." It served in both operational and air reserve units until retirement in the late 1950s.
The Finnish Air Force received six FB 52 Vampires in 1953. The model was nicknamed "Vamppi" in Finnish service. An additional nine twin-seat T 55s were purchased in 1955. The aircraft were initially assigned to 2nd Wing at Pori, but were transferred to 1st Wing at Tikkakoski at the end of the 1950s. The last Finnish Vampire was decommissioned in 1965.
No. 7 Squadron, Indian Air Force (IAF) received Vampires in January 1949. Although the unit was put on high alert during the Sino-Indian War of 1962, it did not see any action, as the air force's role was limited to supply and evacuation.
Picture: de Havilland Vampire A79-612 in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia
On September 1, 1965, during the Indo-Pakistani War, IAF Vampires saw action for the first time. No. 45 Squadron responded to a request for strikes against a counter-attack by the Pakistani Army (Operation Grand Slam) and four Vampire Mk 52 fighter-bombers were successful in slowing the Pakistani advance. However, the Vampires encountered two Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-86 Sabres, armed with air to air missiles; in the ensuing dogfight, the outdated Vampires were outclassed. One was shot down by ground fire and another three were shot down by Sabres. The Vampires were withdrawn from frontline service after these losses.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force purchased 20 Vampires F III and another 36 of type FB 52. The Vampire was in use in Norway from 1948 to 1957.
Picture: de Havilland Vampire built under license for the Swiss Air Force in 1969 as an FB-6 painted as an F 3 in RCAF service (Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum).
The Swedish Air Force purchased its first batch of 70 FB 1 Vampires in 1946, looking for a jet to replace the P-51D Mustangs and the outdated J 22s of its fighter force. The aircraft was designated J 28A and was assigned to the F 13 air wing at Norrköping. It provided such good service that it was selected as the backbone of the fighter force. A total of 310 of the more modern FB 50, designated J 28B, were purchased in 1949. The last one was delivered in 1952, after which all piston-engined fighters were decommissioned. In addition, a total of 57 two-seater DH 115 Vampire called J 28C were used for training.
The Swedish Vampire fighters were retired in 1956 and replaced with J 29 (SAAB Tunnan) and J 34 (Hawker Hunter). The trainers remained in service well into the 1960s. The last Vampire was retired in 1968. (All Vampire warbirds being flown in Sweden today originate from the Swiss Air Force.)
The Rhodesian Air Force acquired Vampire FB9 fighters and Vampire FB11 trainers in the early 1950s, its first jet aircraft. More were supplied by South Africa in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Rhodesia operated Vampires until the end of the bush war in 1979. They were eventually replaced by the BAe Hawk 60 in the early 1980s. After 30 years service they were the last Vampires used on operations anywhere in the world.
- DH 100 : Three prototypes.
- Vampire Mk I : Single-seat fighter version for the RAF, 244 production aircraft being built.
- Mk II : Three prototypes, with Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine. One built and two conversions.
- F 3 : Single-seat fighter for the RAF. Two prototypes were converted from the Mk 1 and 202 production aircraft were built. 20 were exported to Norway
- Mk IV : Nene-engined project, not built.
- FB 5 : Single-seat fighter-bomber version. Powered by the Goblin 2 turbojet. 930 built for the RAF and 88 for export.
- FB 6 : Single-seat fighter-bomber. Powered by a Goblin 3 turbojet. 178 built; 100 built in Switzerland for the Swiss Air Force.
- Mk 8: Ghost-engined, one conversion from Mk 1.
- FB 9 : Tropicalised fighter-bomber through addition of air conditioning to Mark 5. Powered by Goblin 3 turbojet. 326 built, mostly by de Havilland.
- Mk 10 or DH 113 Vampire: Goblin-powered two-seater prototype, two built.
- NF 10 : Two-seat night fighter version for the RAF, 95 built including 29 as the NF54.
- Sea Vampire Mk10 : Prototype for deck trials. One conversion.
- Mk 11 or DH 115 Vampire Trainer : Private venture, two-seat jet trainer prototype.
- T 11 : Two-seat training version for the RAF. Powered by a Goblin 35 turbojet engine, 731 were built.
- Sea Vampire F 20 : Naval version of the FB 5, 18 built by English Electric.
- Sea Vampire Mk 21 : Three aircraft converted for trials.
- Sea Vampire T 22 : Two-seat training version for the Royal Navy, 73 built by De Havilland.
- FB 25 : FB 5 variants, 25 exported to New Zealand
- F 30 : Single-seat fighter-bomber version for the RAAF. Powered by Roll-Royce Nene turbojet, 80 built in Australia.
- FB 31 : Nene-engined, 29 built in Australia.
- F 32 : One Australian conversion with air conditioning.
- T 33 : Two-seat training version. Powered by the Goblin turbojet, 36 were built in Australia.
- T 34 : Two-seat training version for the Royal Australian Navy, five were built in Australia.
- T 34A : Vampire T 34s fitted with ejector seats.
- T 35 : Modified two-seat training version, 68 built in Australia.
- T 35A : T33 conversions to T35 configuration.
- FB 50 : Exported to Sweden as the J 28B, 310 built, 12 of which were eventually rebuilt to T 55 standard.
- FB 51 : Export prototype (one conversion) to France.
- FB 52 : Export version of Mk 6, 101 built. 36 exported to Norway and in use from 1949 to 1957
- FB 52A : Single-seat fighter-bomber for the Italian Air Force, 80 built in Italy. .
- FB 53 : Single-seat fighter-bomber for the Armee de l'Air, 250 built in France, as the Sud-Est SE 535 Mistral.
- NF 54 : Export version of Vampire NF 10 for the Italian Air Force, 29 being built.
- T 55 : Export version of the DH 115 trainer, 216 built and six converted from the T 11.
Picture: No. 14 Squadron RNZAF Vampire FB 9 on permanent gate duty at Ohakea, New Zealand
Although 80+ Vampires are still airworthy, only a small number are flying including two, ex-Swiss aircraft (T11 and FB 6) in Sweden. One of the last airworthy Vampire T 11s is operated by the Vampire Preservation Group from North Weald in Essex, UK. Several ex-Swiss and ex-Australian Vampires operate as collectors' aircraft in the U.S. One ex-Australian two-seat Mk 35W Vampire, S/N A79-617 was restored by Red Star Aviation of Hackettstown, New Jersey and then repatriated to Australia, where it is displayed in air shows regularly, thus undoubtedly setting the record for most miles travelled by a civil Vampire. Several other U.S.-based Vampires are abandoned and in disrepair, as is an ex-airworthy example stored at Sullivan County Airport, in New York. An ex-RNZAF T 11 is being restored at the New Zealand Fighter Pilot Museum in Wanaka. 
Picture: Vampire T35 (A79-617) at the Temora Aviation Museum
Numerous examples have been preserved and on display, including:
- Alberta Aviation Museum (de Havilland Australia Vampire T 35 (1964))
- Aviation Museum of Central Finland (three examples of Vampire Mk 52 and two examples of Mk 55 in storage)
- Canada Aviation Museum (de Havilland DH 100 Vampire 3)
- Austrian Airforce Museum Zeltweg/Styria (De Havilland Vampire Two Seat Trainer)
- Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
- Canadian Museum of Flight
- Indian Air Force Museum, Palam, New Delhi
- Air Force Technical College Indian Air Force Bangalore
- Indonesian Air Force Dirgantara Mandala Museum, Adisutjipto Air Force Base, Yogyakarta
- de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre in Hertfordshire
- Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland
- Reynolds-Alberta Museum
- Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum
- South African Air Force Museum, Port Elizabeth, SAAF 205, FB5, static display
- Forbes, New South Wales. Monument next to Lake Forbes
- Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Monument at Bolton Park next to the Sturt Highway
- Temora Aviation Museum (Flying condition)
- Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon
- FB5 WA346 under restoration at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, England.
- T11 WZ590 on display at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, England.
- T11 XD593 on display at the Newark Air Museum, England.
- T11 XD626 on display at the Midland Air Museum, Coventry, England.
An ex-Swiss example is displayed at the Quonset Air Museum, North Kningstown RI, USA, and is owned and flown by the Red Star Aviation Museum, who contract with QAM for storage while the aircraft is not being flown.
Specifications (Vampire FB6)
Data from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft
- Crew: 1
- Length: 30 ft 9 in (9.37 m)
- Wingspan: 38 ft (11.58 m)
- Height: 8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)
- Wing area: 262 ft² (24.34 m²)
- Empty weight: 7,283 lb (3,304 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 12,390 lb  (5,620 kg)
- Powerplant: 1× de Havilland Goblin 3 centrifugal turbojet, 3,350 lbf (14.90 kN)
- Maximum speed: 548 mph (882 km/h)
- Range: 1,220 mi (1,960 km)
- Service ceiling: 42,800 ft (13,045 m)
- Rate of climb: 4,050 ft/min at sea level (20.6 m/s)
- Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) Hispano Mk.V cannon
- Rockets: 8 × 3-inch "60 lb" rockets
- Bombs: or 2 × 500 lb (225 kg) bombs or two drop-tanks
The Vampire was central to the plot of the novella, The Shepherd by British novelist Frederick Forsyth, the story of an RAF pilot attempting to fly home for Christmas from RAF Celle, Germany to RAF Lakenheath on Christmas Eve 1957. The fact that the DH.100 was not fitted with ejection seats until about 10 years later, and hence was a major challenge to bail out of, is an important element of the story.
Vampire jets also feature in the 1966 novel Shooting Script by former RAF pilot and thriller writer Gavin Lyall.
- de Havilland Swallow
- de Havilland Venom
- de Havilland Sea Vixen
- Gloster E.1/44 "Gloster Ace"
1. Gunston 1981, p. 52.
2. Buttler 2000, p. 201.
3. Gunston, 1981. p. 49.
4. Gunston, 1981, p. 50.
5. Gunston et al. 1992, p. 454.
6. "First Jet Landing." Naval Aviation News, United States Navy, March 1946, p. 6. Note: The first jet aircraft to operate from an aircraft carrier was the unconventional composite propeller-jet Ryan FR Fireball, designed to utilize its piston engine during takeoff and landing. On 6 November 1945, the piston engine of an FR-1 failed on final approach; the pilot started the jet engine and landed, thereby performing the first jet-powered carrier landing, albeit unintentionally.
7. Dorr 1998, p. 119.
8. Wood - second paragraph after Figure 6
9. Watkins 1996, p. 58. Quote: "The Vampire had been conceived during the war as a high-altitude fighter..."
10. Air Combat Information Group, 2003, "Pakistani Air-to-Air Victories". Retrieved 2009-06-10.
11. deHavilland DH-100/113/115 Vampire. Retrieved: 5 March 2009.
12. Team Vampire Sweden. Retrieved: 5 March 2009.
13. New Zealand
14. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft 1985, p. 1380.
15. Gobel. Greg. "Vampire F.3 / FB.5 / FB.6 / FB.9." Vectorsite. Retrieved: 25 July 2009.
16. British Aircraft Directory
- Bain, Gordon. De Havilland: A Pictorial Tribute. London: AirLife Publishing Ltd., 1992. ISBN 1-85648-243-X.
- Buttler, Tony. British Secret Projects: Jet Fighters Since 1950. Leicester, UK: Midland Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-85780-095-8.
- Dorr, Robert F. "Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, Variant Briefing." Wings of Fame: The Journal of Class Combat Aircraft, Vol. 11. London: AIRTime Publishing Ltd., 1998. ISBN 1-86184-017-9.
- Gunston, Bill et al. ""Vampire Fighters Lead Victory Day fly-by". The Chronicle of Aviation. Liberty, Missouri: JL International Publishing, 1992. ISBN 1-87203-130-7.
- Gunston, Bill. Fighters of the Fifties. Cambridge, England. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1981. ISBN 0-85059-463-4.
- Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1985.
- Watkins, David. de Havilland Vampire: The Complete History. Thrupp, Stroud, Great Britain: Budding Books, 1996. ISBN 1-84015-023-8.
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