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DH100 Vampire

Extremely successful in both RAF service and in the export market, the DH100 Vampire was the first jet aircraft to take off and land from an aircraft carrier.
De Havilland DH100 Vampire F1 (TG370) Air to air De Havilland DH100 Vampire F1 (TG370) Air to air

The success of the Gloster Meteor led to De Havilland being approached to design and build an airframe for the H1.   Designated as the DH99 (initially named the ‘Spider Crab’) it was an all-metal design which was considered to be hugely experimental in its unorthodox arrangement of twin rear booms behind a moulded, egg-shaped wood/ aluminium fuselage and a single engine.  The relative low power of the early jet engines normally called for twin installations but Halfords engine proved extremely efficient, making single engine fighters a possibility.

In order to maximise the efficiency of the new technology and respond to Ministry recommendations, the design was modified into a mixed wood and metal construction and re-designated DH100.
The prototype DH100 LZ548/G was first flown on 20th September 1943 at Hatfield by Geoffery de Havilland Junior (son of the founder), some 6 months after the Meteor and having been delayed by engine availability.

The first production Vampire (F.1) was actually produced by English Electric at Warton due to the production pressures and a lack of capacity at Hatfield.

Despite finally arriving after the end of the Second World War, the Vampire was eagerly awaited and became the second British jet fighter to see service with the RAF and was given the honour of leading the V-Day flypast over London.  It was the first RAF aircraft to be able to exceed 500 mph and its distinctive shape with twin tail-boom and pod-like fuselage made it instantly recognisable in the air and from the ground.

The main production version however was to be the FB.5 fighter bomber (a modified F.3) and this variant was also be the basis for many of the export versions.  Separate night fighter and trainer models were produced as the DH113 and DH115 respectively (See seperate pages).

A number of DH100 Vampires were also modified for shipboard use such as the Sea Vampire and on 3rd December 1945 Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown completed the first successful landing and take-off of a jet fighter from the carrier HMS Ocean.  At the time it was also the Royal Navy’s first jet fighter.

DH100 Sea Vampire F1 landing on HMS Ocean 3rd December 1945 DH100 Sea Vampire F1 landing on HMS Ocean 3rd December 1945

The type was very successful in the export market, providing many air forces with their first experience of jet fighter operations and around 30 air forces were ultimately to operate the type.  

Some fifty F1, F2 and FB variants were purchased by the Royal Australian Air Force in 1946 and although the majority were built with Goblin engines, the second aircraft was actually built with a Rolls-Royce Nene power-plant.

An experimental version featured an extended wingspan and a DH Ghost engine which set a world altitude record of 59,446 ft in March 1948 and later that year 6 Vampire F3’s became the first jet fighters to fly across the Atlantic for an RAF Goodwill Tour of Canada.

Almost 3,300 Vampires were built, a quarter of them under licence in other countries and it remained as a front-line fighter for the RAF until 1953 when it was re-classified into a pilot training and refresher role.

The DH100 Vampire finally retired from RAF service in 1966, being replaced by the Hawker Hunter and Gloster Javelin.  There are a huge number of airworthy aircraft still flying today, predominantly due to its simple design and relatively easy maintenance.  In addition, there are hundred kept in superb condition and on display at museums around the world.


3 built
Prototypes to specification E.6/41.
Vampire Mk I
244 built
Single-seat fighter version for the RAF.
1 Built / 2 Conversions 
Prototype with Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine.
Vampire F3
202 built
Single-seat fighter for the RAF - Prototypes were converted from the Mk1
Vampire FB.5 built
Single-seat fighter-bomber version - Powered by the Goblin 2 turbojet
Vampire FB.6
178 built
Single-seat fighter-bomber - Powered by a Goblin 3 turbojet.
Vampire Mk 8
1 conversion built
Ghost-engined variant
Vampire FB.9
326 built
Tropicalised fighter-bomber with of air conditioning and powered by Goblin 3 turbojet
Vampire Mk 10 (DH.113)
2 Built
Goblin-powered two-seater prototype - two built.
Vampire NF.10
95 built
Two-seat night fighter version for the RAF
Sea Vampire Mk 10
1 conversion
Prototype for deck trials
Vampire Mk.11 / DH.115
Vampire Trainer
Private venture, two-seat jet trainer prototype.
Vampire T.11
732 built
Two-seat training version, powered by a Goblin 35 turbojet - Built by De Havilland and Fairey Aviation - Some fitted with ejection seats.
Sea Vampire F.20
18 built
Naval version of the FB.5 built by English Electric.
Sea Vampire F.21
6 conversions
Converted from F.3s with strengthened belly and arrester hook for trials of undercarriage-less landings on flexible decks.
Sea Vampire T.22
73 built
Two-seat training version for the Royal Navy.
Vampire FB.25 FB.5 variants with 25 exported to New Zealand
Vampire F.30
80 built
Single-seat fighter-bomber version for the RAAF and powered by Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet
Vampire FB.31
29 built
Nene-engined - built in Australia.
Vampire F.32
1 conversion
Australian conversion with air conditioning.
Vampire T.33
36 built
Two-seat training version and powered by the Goblin turbojet. Built in Australia.
Vampire T.34
5 built
Two-seat training version for the Royal Australian Navy - 5 were built in Australia.
Vampire T34.A Vampire T.34s fitted with ejection seats.
Vampire T.35
68 built
Modified two-seat training version.  Built in Australia.
Vampire T.35A  T.33 conversions to T.35 configuration.
Vampire FB.50
310 built
Exported to Sweden as the J 28B. 12 of were eventually rebuilt to T.55 standard.
Vampire FB.51
1 conversion
Export prototype for France.
Vampire FB.52
101 built
Export version of Mk 6 - 36 exported to Norway and in use from 1949 to 1957.
Vampire FB.52A
80 built
Single-seat fighter-bomber for the Italian Air Force - Built in Italy. 
Vampire NF.54
29 built
Export version of Vampire NF.10 for the Italian Air Force
Vampire T.55
216 built
Export version of the DH.115 Ttrainer - 6 converted from the T.11.
S.N.C.A.S.E. Vampire FB.53
250 built
Four pre-series single-seat fighter-bombers for the Armee de l'Air.  Built in France as the Sud-Est SE 535 Mistral.
S.N.C.A.S.E. SE-532 Mistral 
97 built
Initial production version of the Mk.53 for the Armée de l'Air.
S.N.C.A.S.E. SE-535 Mistral
150 built
Development of the SE-532 built for the Armée de l'Air.

Specifications (Vampire FB.5)

Powerplant       3,100 lbst De Havilland Goblin 2
Span  38 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight   12,360 lb
Capacity Single Pilot
Armament 4 20mm Hispano cannon, underwing provision for drop tanks, two 1,000lb bombs or eight 3 inch rocket projectiles
Maximum Speed  535 mph
Maximum Range  1,170 miles


There are around 80 Vampire aircraft still flying around the world, some in private hands and the list below is just a small sample.

Vampire F. MkIII
Aerospace Museum, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Vampire Mk.III Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Sea Vampire T2 National Aeronautical and Space Museum, Santiago, Chile
Vampire FB.6 Volandia Aviation Museum, Malpensa, Italy
Vampire FB.52 Norwegian Historical Squadron, Rygge Flystasjon, Norway.
Vampire T.55 Norwegian Historical Squadron, Rygge Flystasjon, Norway.
Vampire FB.52
Norsk Luftfartsmuseum, Bodø, Norway
Vampire FB Mk 6 Rahmi M Koç Museum, Istanbul, Turkey
Vampire F.1 Midland Air Museum, Coventry Airport, United Kingdom
Vampire T22
Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton, United Kingdom
Vampire T.55
Classic Air Force, Coventry Airport United Kingdom
Vampire T.11
(WZ507 (G-VTII)
Vampire Preservation Group, North Weald, Essex, UK.
Vampire FB.6 De Havilland Museum, London Colney, United Kingdom
Vampire T.11 Imperial War Museum, Duxford, Cambs, United Kingdom
Vampire Trainer T.Mk 11   (XE998) Solent Sky Museum, Southampton, United Kingdom
Vampire Mk.III Planes of Fame, Grand Canyon Valle Airport, Valle Arizona, USA
Vampire FB.5 / FB.55 (4) / T.55 (3) South African Air Force Museum, Swartkop AFB, South Africa
Vampire T.II New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum, New Zealand

More information

Please note that the information shown is based on that available at the time of the creation of this web page - If you have any additions or corrections please contact: