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A79 DHA Vampire

In 1946 approval was given for the purchase of an initial quantity of 50 Vampire aircraft for the RAAF. The first three machines were British-built aircraft, an F 1, F 2 and FB 5, and were given serial numbers A78-1 to 3. The second aircraft, the F 2 (A78-2), was significant in that it was powered by a Rolls Royce Nene jet engine, rather than the usual Goblin. All 80 F 30 fighters and FB 31 fighter-bomber aircraft built in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation were to be powered by CAC license-built versions of the Nene engine.

The first CAC-built Vampire F 30 fighter (A79-1) flew for the first time in June 1949, and it was followed by 56 more F 30 variants before the final 23 aircraft were completed as FB 31s with strengthened and clipped wings with underwing hardpoints. The last FB 31 was delivered in August 1953, and 24 late-production F 30s were subsequently upgraded to FB 31 standard. Of all the F 30 and FB 31 aircraft produced, only the first two had sequential serials, A79-1 and 2. For security reasons, all later serials were scrambled, the third aircraft being identified as A70-560 and the fourth was A79- 484 (for example).

Vampire trainer production amounted to 110 aircraft, and the initial order was filled by 35 T 33s for the RAAF, deliveries being made in 1952, and 5 T 35s for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), delivered in 1954. One extra aircraft was later built to replace an RAN machine lost in an accident, this being produced to the later T 34A standard with ejection seats and improved canopy, and conforming to the same standard as the RAAF's later T 35A trainers (69 aircraft). Serial numbers for the Vampire trainers were sequential. The T 33s and T 34s being serialed in the A79-800 range, while the T 35s were marked from A79-600.

Australia's Vampire operations were conducted under the auspices of No 78 Wing, comprising Nos 75 and 76 Squadrons. This Wing was sent to Malta in 1952 as part of the island's defences, and flew FB 9s hired from Britain and carrying RAF serials. The Wing took part in the 1953 Coronation Review and exercises in Germany before the deployment finished in 1954, marking the end of Vampire single-seat operations. Vampire fighters served with Nos 21, 22, 23, and 25 Squadrons of the Citizen's Air Force (CAF) until CAF flying ceased in 1954.

The trainer variants were operated by No 1 Advanced Flying Training School at RAAF Bases Point Cook and Pearce, the Central Flying School, and Nos 2 and 5 Operational Training Units. Trainers were also attached to the CAF squadrons. The Vampire trainers served until replaced by Macchi MB-326H aircraft from 1968, with the last sortie being flown in September 1970. RAN Vampire operations ceased the following year.

TECHNICAL DATA: de Havilland Vampire FB.31

DESCRIPTION:

Single-seat fighter/ fighter-bomber

POWER PLANT:

One 2268 kg (5000 lb) thrust Rolls-Royce/CAC Nene 2-VH turbojet engine

WEIGHT:

Empty 3447 kg (7600 lb); Loaded 5942kg (13 100 lb).

DIMENSIONS:

Wingspan 11.58 m (38 ft 0 in); Length 9.37 m (30 ft 9 in); Height 2.69 m (8 ft 10 in).

PERFORMANCE:

Max Speed 882 km/h (476 kt); Ceiling 43,000 ft (13 100 m); Range 1266 km (684 nm).

ARMAMENT:

Four 20mm cannon, eight 27 kg (60 lb) rockets, or two 454 kg (1000 lb) bombs.

TECHNICAL DATA: de Havilland Vampire T.35

DESCRIPTION:

Two-seat advanced and weapons training aircraft.

POWER PLANT:

One 1858 kg (3500 lb) thrust de Havilland Goblin 35 turbojet.

WEIGHT:

Loaded 3348 kg (7380 lb); loaded 5058 kg (11 150 lb).

DIMENSIONS:

Wingspan 11.58 m (38 ft 0 in); Length 10.53 m (34 ft 6.5 in); Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in).

PERFORMANCE:

Maximum speed 866 km/h (538 mph); Initial rate of climb 1372 m (4500 ft)/min; Service ceiling 40,000 ft (12192 m); Range 1352 km (840 miles).

ARMAMENT:

Two 20 mm Hispano cannons; eight 11 kg(25 lb) rockets or practice bombs. Back to top


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