De Havilland Vampire (D.H 100, D.H 113, D.H 115)

The Vampire was designed towards the end of World War 2 but entered service too late to see active duty. The first prototype was flown on 20th September 1943. This early aircraft had limited thrust being provided by a single DGH goblin jet engine. The design was distinctive with a twin boom tail with a tail plane above the exhaust. The body was mainly wood with unswept metal wings carrying fuel, being one of the first fighters without a propeller it used a tricycle landing gear system which was unusual in the 1940s

Sea Vampire lands on HMS Ocean, 4 December 1945
Sea Vampire lands on
HMS Ocean,
4 December 1945

In 1946 the mk1 Vampire entered RAF service as an interceptor, it was a simple design but the Mk 1 lacked range having a combat radius of aboutr320miles (515km), the Mk 3 introduced a bigger fuel tank and the option for under wing drop tanks increasing the range to 550miles (885km). The main version was the Mk 5 a fighter bomber which had shorter wings and came into service in 1949. A Mk 9 was designed for use in tropical conditions and had cabin air conditioning and a refrigeration unit.

The vampire quickly became outdated by post war jet fighters but its low cost and simple design proved popular in the developing world with the D.H 115 Dual seat trainer serving with 21 air forces around the world. A wide variety were produced many under license, including a 2 seat night fighter, a hook nosed naval version, some with Rolls Royce Nene engines. Some Vampires were still in service in the 1980s with Zimbabwe and South African Air Forces and represented 40 year old jet fighter technology.

Data (Mk5)
Weapons; four 20mm cannon and normally x2 500lb bombs, and x8 60lb (76mm) unguided rockets.
Max Speed;  861km/h (535mph)
Range; 1883km (1,170 miles)
Ceiling; 40,000ft

Link to review of De Havilland Vampire De Havilland Twin-Boom Fighters: Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen, Barry Jones. Aviation historian Barry Jones traces the history of the Vampire and its twin boom fighter stable mates in UK and overseas service. This is a modern, up-to-date 192 page book with a great level of detail about these much loved aircraft and plenty of illustrations and archive photographs. [see more]
cover cover cover

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How to cite this article: Dugdale-Pointon, T. (13 March 2007), De Havilland Vampire (D.H 100, D.H 113, D.H 115), http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_de_havilland_vampire.html

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