Their were 30 Sea Vampire F20 fighters ordered but only 18 were actually built and delivered, the first flight taking place in October 1948 and final delivery in June 1949, the order was reduced when it became obvious that the poor acceleration of the early turbojet engines were not best suited to the short decks on aircraft carriers (steam catapults were eventually invented by the Royal Navy and proved to be the best solution until VTOL aircraft like the Sea Harrier). As the Royal Navy still believed the future lay with jet powered aircraft they replaced their De Havilland Sea Vampires with the de Havilland Sea Venom, although very similar looking to the Vampire was in fact a totally new aircraft with a more powerful engine based on the de Havilland Venom, however the Royal Navy still purchased 73 De Havilland Vampire Sea Vampire T-22 two seat trainers based on the RAF's Vampire trainer to introduce their pilots into the jet age.
It is of note that the aircraft pictured above is the first of the three prototype Sea Vampires built and is on display at the Fleet Air-arm museum at the Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton (a.k.a HMS Heron).
De Havilland Sea Vampire F20 Specifications:
- Dimensions: Span 11.58 m (38ft)
- Length: 9.37 m (30ft 9in)
- Height: 1.91 m (6ft 3in)
- Empty weight: 3458 kg (7,623 lb)
- Maximum take-off weight: 5743 kg (12,660 lb)
- Engine: Single 1406 kg (3,000 lb) thrust De Havilland Goblin Mk 2 turbojet
- Maximum speed: 526 mph (847 kph, 457 kt) at sea level
- Service ceiling: 40,000 ft (12192 m)
De Havilland Sea Vampire F20 Armament: