Quote: Originally Posted by seekermeister
Beautiful aircraft, but what are the performance specs? I gather from the name that it was a carrier AC, but how was it deployed...fighter?
Bearing in mind that it was designed in the 1950s, its performance by today's standard was not spectacular.
Its main role was as an all-weather carrier-borne fighter whose job was to intercept enemy aircraft at high and low-level although it was sometimes configured as a tanker aircraft used for in-flight refuelling.
The flying-fist emblem is that of 899 Squadron, the last squadron that flew the Sea Vixen until it was taken out of service in 1972.
The Sea Vixen was the first British aircraft with swept wings and the first to be armed solely with missiles, rockets and bombs The FAW 1 (Fighter All-Weather) was armed with de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missiles, two Microcell 2-inch rocket packs or two 1000 lb bombs. It could also be configured with four 250 lb bombs.
The later FAW 2 variant could also carry Red Top guided missiles and was given elongated twin booms that housed extra fuel tanks and upgraded avionics.
The aircraft's massive wings enabled it to have three stores pylons fitted under each wing. The two outer pylons were used for fuel drop-tanks to increase the aircraft's range, whilst the other four were used for weaponry.
It was powered by two Rolls-Royce Avon 208 turbofan jet engines, each with a thrust of 11,230 lbs and its maximum speed was 690 mph with a range of 600 miles.
It was flown with a crew of two - pilot and observer - with the observer housed in an offset cockpit on the right. His job was to navigate the aircraft and operate its AI18 radar. The radar equipment and scanner were fitted in the aircraft's nose behind a hinged radome that could be opened when required by the avionics maintainers (of which I was one).
It was a large aircraft that really was too big for the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers - HMS Eagle was the largest at 53,000 tons, but the smaller ones such as HMS Centaur only displaced 28,000 tons and so deck space was at a premium when the aircraft was embarked and it also reduced the number of aircraft that could be carried.
It was difficult to maintain and had a high accident rate, but its pilots said it was a great aircraft to fly.