De Havilland Vampire

The de Havilland Vampire was a British jet fighter manufactured by the de Havilland Aircraft Company. It was the second jet fighter to be operated by the RAF, and the first to be powered by a single jet engine.

Work on the Vampire commenced during Second World War; it was initially intended as an experimental aircraft, albeit one that was suitable for combat, which harnessed the ground-breaking innovation of jet propulsion. Out of the company’s design studies, it was quickly decided to settle on a single-engine, twin-boom aircraft, powered by the Halford H.1 turbojet engine. Aside from its propulsion system and twin-boom configuration, it was a relatively conventional aircraft. Despite being originally ordered as an experimental aircraft only, during May 1944, it was decided to mass-produce the aircraft as an interceptor for the Royal Air Force. During 1946, the first production Vampire entered operational service with the RAF, only months after the Second World War had come to an end.

The Vampire quickly proved to be an effective aircraft and was adopted as a replacement for many wartime piston-engine fighter aircraft. During its early service, it was recognised for accomplishing several aviation firsts and various records, such as being the first jet aircraft to traverse the Atlantic Ocean. The Vampire remained in front-line service with the RAF up until 1953. During 1966, the Vampire was officially retired by the RAF, having been withdrawn from its final role as an advanced trainer after having been replaced by the Folland Gnat. The Royal Navy had also adopted the type as the Sea Vampire, a naval variant suitable for operations from its aircraft carriers. It was the service’s first jet fighter.

Ben Davidson

Hello, I have been studying all aspects of history for about 25 years. I have a BA History from the University of Bedfordshire. My historical areas of interest are anything really, but I specialise in 19th - 20th century Britain, America and Ireland. I am also strongly aligned with most military history, really enjoying WW2 and the US Civil War. Chuck in the king or queen and Bob's your uncle.

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