de Havilland Sea Vixen

TypeCarrier-based fighter
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Manufacturerde Havilland
First flight26 September 1951
IntroducedJuly 1959
Numbers built145
Unit costsData is not available
Max speedMaximum speed: Mach 0.91 (690 mph, 1,110 km/h) at sea level
Rate of climb: 9,000 ft/min (46 m/s)
Max rangeRange: 790 mi (1,270 km) with internal fuel
Service ceiling: 48,000 ft (15,000 m)
DimensionsLength: 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 (60.2 m²)
WeightEmpty weight: 27,950 lb (12,680 kg)
Loaded weight: 41,575 lb (18,860 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 46,750 lb (21,205 kg)
Powerplant2 x Rolls-Royce Avon Mk.208 turbojets, 50 kN (11,000 lbf) each
ArmamentHardpoints: 6 and provisions to carry combinations of:
Rockets: 4 x Matra rocket pods with 18 × SNEB 68 mm rockets each
Missiles: 4 x Red Top or Firestreak air-to-air missiles
Bombs: 2 x 500 lb (227 kg) bombs
OperatorsUnited Kingdom (Retired)

The de Havilland Sea Vixen DH.110 was a fighter aircraft operated by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm in the era of 1950-1970. The Sea Vixen features twin boom structural design and could be operated on an aircraft carrier. The aircraft was also known as the Hawker Siddeley Sea Vixen when de Havilland joined the Hawker Siddeley group.

During its active period, the Sea Vixen had been operating in some conflict in the world including as a deterrence factor when President Abdul Karim Kassem of Iraq menaced to annex the neighbouring oil-rich state of Kuwait in 1961. The presence of the British fleet with Sea Vixen fighter who acted as a standby jet fighter aboard the British carrier had made the President of Iraq at that time thought twice to annex Kuwait.

Another operation followed by the Sea Vixen was when the rebels of Tanganyika in East Africa mutinied against the British officers and NCOs in January 1964. Sea Vixens flew from the HMS Centaur and set up air-strikes against the rebel forces.

Still in 1964, Sea Vixens of HMS Centaur was placed around Indonesia when Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, launched Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation campaign. The Sea Vixens presence there also helped out preventing the escalating confrontation.

In its history, it was also recorded a tragic accident that killed 31 people when a Sea Vixen performed a flight demonstration at the Farnborough Airshow on 6 September 1952. The Sea Vixen was disintegrated and one of the engines hit a crowded area of ??spectators. The crews were killed as well. From the investigation, it was found that design errors occurred in the end sections of the main spar, which resulted in the outer ends of the wings shearing off during a high-rate turn.

Sea Vixen also became part of HMS Eagle, HMS Bulwark and HMS Ark Royal. But in 1972, Sea Vixen had to end its military career after the F-4 Phantom II taking its place. A total of 145 units of Sea Vixen had been built and proved satisfying to the Royal Navy but the demand of emerging warfare technology pushed it to be replaced by the American carrier-capable supersonic fighter.

The Design of Sea Vixen

The de Havilland Sea Vixen DH.110 features twin boom tail design similar to the tail design of the de Havilland Sea Vampire and Sea Venom, swept-wing, two-seat and twin-engined. With two Rolls-Royce Avon 208 turbojet, the Sea Vixen could reach a maximum speed of 690 mph (1.110 km/h) and a range of 600 mi (1,000 km). This fighter has a loaded weight of 41.575 lb (18.860 kg) and able to fly as far as 790 mi (1.270 km) with internal fuel and can reach an altitude of 48.000 ft (15,000 m).

Sea Vixen is manned by two crews: pilots and observers. As the first British aircraft to be armed with bombs, missiles and rockets, the plane was carrying four de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missiles, two Microcell unguided 2 inch (51 mm) rocket packs and had a capacity for four 500 lb (227 kg) or two 1.000 lb (454 kg) bombs. Sea Vixen could also carry the Red Top AAM, four SNEB rocket pods and the air-to-ground Bullpup missile.

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