DeHavilland DH.110 Sea Vixen FAW2 Jet Fighter
The de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW (Fighter All Weather) jet fighter was originally designed as a replacement for the de Havilland Mosquito WW2 fighter bomber still in service with the RAF. The Vixen's distinctive twin tail boom clearly shows it's Vampire/Venom design heritage. The RAF decided that the Gloster Javelin was a better choice being both cheaper to procure and easier to maintain, however de Havilland continued development and the first prototype DH.110 piloted by John Cunningham first flew on the 26th September 1951.
It was demonstrated the following year at the 1952 Farnborough Air Show where it disintegrated in a dive after just passing the sound barrier, the pilot, co-pilot and 29 spectators were unfortunately killed. As a result of the Farnborough tragedy modifications were made to the second prototype.
In 1955 de Havilland successfully obtained orders from the Royal Navy for a Naval version of the DH.110 as a Fleet defence fighter to replace it's de Havilland Sea Venoms currently in service with the Fleet Air Arm. In 1956 a partially navelised prototype made the first landing on an aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, and shortly afterwards was given the name "Sea Vixen". In July 1959 de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.1's began to enter Fleet Air Arm service, eventually over a hundred were delivered.
An unusual design feature of the Sea Vixen was the pilot's canopy was offset to the left hand side. The navigator / radar operator was on the right but totally within the fuselage with a flush-fitting hatch over his head with just a small upward looking window, crew often referred to this as the "coal hole". an improved version of the de Havilland Sea Vixen, the FAW.2 was introduced in 1964 which had increased fuel capacity and weapons system, it eventually totally replaced the FAW.1s, some of which were upgraded to FAW.2 specification. The picture below clearly shows the rather ugly additional above-wing fuel tanks added to the tail booms on the faw.2.
The last of the de Havilland Sea Vixens were struck off when the last of the large Royal Navy carriers, the Ark Royal, was decommissioned in December 1978, never having seen combat, if the Ark Royal had remained in service for just a few more years they would have certainly seen action in the Falklands.
DeHavilland Sea Vixen
Sea Vixen FAW.2 Specifications:
- Crew: pilot and navigator / radar operator
- Length: 55 ft 7 in (16.94 m)
- Wingspan: 51 ft 0 in (15.54 m)
- Height: 10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)
- Wing area: 648 ft² (60.20 m²)
- Empty weight: 27,950 lb (12,680 kg)
- Loaded weight: 41,575 lb (18,860 kg)
- Engines: Twin 11,000 lbf (50.0 kN) Rolls-Royce Avon Mk.208 turbojets
- Maximum speed: Mach 0.91, 690 mph at sea level (1,110 km/h)
- Range: 790 mi with internal fuel (1,270 km)
- Service ceiling: 48,000 ft (14,630 m)
- Rate of climb: 9,000 ft/min (45.7 m/s)
Sea Vixen FAW.2
Sea Vixen FAW.2 Armament:
- Four Red Top or Firestreak infra red air-to-air guided missiles
- Two 500 lb (227 kg) bombs
Fleet Air Arm Sea Vixen
DeHavilland DH.110 Sea Vixen
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DeHavilland Sea Vixen FAW2 Jet Fighter Picture & Information