The Sea Vixen was a two-seat naval day and night all-weather fighter. It first flew in 1954 and initial production order for the Royal Navy was placed in 1955. It became the Royal Navy's principal carrier-borne fighter of the 1950/60s. The Sea Vixen was the largest and final development of the de Havilland twin tail boom series of aircraft.
The Sea Vixen was a development of the De Havilland DH 110 of the early 1950's. On February 20,1952, the prototype DH110 was taken beyond Mach 1, becoming the first operational-type aircraft, the first two-seater and the first twin-engined aircraft to break the 'sound barrier'. The first fully developed F(AW).1 flew on 20 March 1957 and the first Royal Navy squadron (No 892) was formed on 2 July 1959. This version subsequently equipped five other squadrons, including No 766 all-weather training and No 899 HQ Squadrons. A notable visual aspect of the Sea Vixen is that the pilot's canopy is offset to the port side. The other crew member (the navigator) was housed to the right completely within the fuselage, gaining access through a flush-fitting top hatch into his space (known in the service as the "coal hole") which had but a small window.
The Sea Vixen F(AW).2 was basically similar but had changes of equipment, including provision for Red Top missiles, and deeper tailbooms which extended forward of the wing and contained additional fuel tankage. This version entered service in 1964. One hundred and nineteen examples of the two versions were built. It was also the first British interceptor to dispense with guns, being armed only with missiles and air-to-air rockets. Sea Vixens saw combat in the Persian Gulf in 1961 and remained in service until 1971. The painting depicts a Sea Vixen Mk2 of 899 squadron Royal Navy whilst operating from the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle.
Artist Paul Howard.
Available as an A3 size or 20x16 print.