de Havilland DH113 Vampire NF10
Although developed earlier than the Venom, the DH113 Vampire Night-Fighter (NF) had a later type number in the company sequence by the time it was produced. It was developed from the single-seat Vampire FB.5 as a private venture low-cost Night-Fighter for the export market. It featured lengthened and wider two-seat, side-by-side arrangement and a wooden fuselage nacelle with AI Mk.10 radar within a nose radome. A more powerful 3,350 lb Goblin 3 engine was fitted and first flight was from Hatfield on 28th August 1949 by Geoffrey Pike.
The first export sale was for twelve aircraft to Egypt, but before they could be delivered, the British Government imposed an arms embargo, the aircraft subsequently being adopted by the RAF as the NF.Mk.10. The aircraft became the first RAF jet Night-Fighter when the initial Vampires replaced Mosquitos of 25 Squadron at West Malling in July 1951, two other home-defence units (RAF Coltishall and RAF Leuchars) were also equipped with this aircraft. By November 1953 the short operational life began coming to an end with the arrival of the Venom NF.2s for 23 Squadron.
Export sales were to Switzerland, who had one example for evaluation, and Italy, followed by India who acquired surplus RAF aircraft. Many of the stored aircraft had their radar removed and were modified for navigation training with a clear-view canopy, but still without ejector seats. These aircraft were used by 1 ANS at Topcliffe, 2 ANS at Thorney Island and the Central Navigation & Control School (CNCS) at Shawbury, the last retiring in September 1959.
The Museum’s exhibit, registration WM729, c/n 13077 was built at Hatfield and ready for collection on 31st March 1952. It was delivered to 48 MU Hawarden on 30th April and issued to 151 Squadron at RAF Leuchars on 18th December 1952. It subsequently moved to 25 Squadron at West Malling on 16th August 1953 where it stayed until 5th March 1954 finally ending up at 22 MU for preparation for service as a navigation trainer. In this form it was delivered to 2 ANS on 25th May 1955, moving to CNCS at Shawbury on 21st June 1959, soon retiring to 60 MU at Leconfield on 19th August, as non-effective stock.
It was sold to Enfield Rolling Mills on 30th November 1959, but the fuselage pod survived to be acquired by Alan Allen, who presented it to the Museum on loan on 22nd June. The damaged pod has been restored by the Jet Age Museum at Staverton.