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de Havilland Sea Vixen TT.8
|Purpose:||Two Seat Carrier-borne All Weather Interceptor|
|Crew||1 PILOT, 1 RADAR OPERATOR|
|Wingspan:||51 ft 7in (16.94 m)|
|Height:||10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)|
|Length:||55 ft 7 in (16.94 m)|
|Max Speed (sea level):||600 knots (1,110 Km/h)|
|Cruising speed:||Approx 450 knots (833Km/h)|
|Service ceiling:||48,000ft (14,630 m)|
|Powerplants:||2x Rolls Royce Avon Mk.208 Turbojets - 11,230 lbf ea|
|All-up weight:||41,575 lb (18,860 Kg)|
|27,950 lb (12,680 Kg) Empty|
|Weapons:||4 x Firestreak AA Misiles, 4 x Microcell 51mm rocket packs, 2 x 1000lb iron bombs, 2 x Bullpup Missiles, Red Top All aspect missiles|
|Range:||1,200 nautical miles (2,222 Km)|
The prototype Sea Vixen made its maiden flight on the 26th of September 1951. The production aircrafts maiden flight was on the 20th of March 1956 with the first front line squdron being equipped from the 2nd of July 1959. The FAW 2 variant first flew on the 8th of March 1963 and entered serevice with No. 899 squadron in December 1963.
The Sea Vixen was a development of an RAF requirement based upon the DH110 that required a swept wing two seat fighter aircraft. Seavixens acheived a number of "firsts" when it entered service. It was the first swept wing aircraft to serve with the Fleet Air Arm, the first British aircraft with an integrated weapons system and the first to carry guided missiles rather than guns. In 1961 the squadron establishment rose from eight to fifteen per squadron in order to make better use of the carriers accommodation.
The Sea Vixen was designed and operated in its primary role as a fighter providing airborne cover for the carrier and fleet. It could deliver a considerable strike at sea and ground targets using its considerable array of weapons. Sea Vixens saw action in Aden where they were used in support of British security forces. They were also used in southern Africa where they took part in the Beira patrols in support of the oil embargo of Rhodesia.
XS587 is one of only 67 FAW 2 Sea Vixens produced, XS587 served with 899 squadron at RNAS Yeovilton from 1963 until disbanded on the 26th of January 1972. During that time XS587 spent short time on-board HMS Victorious where she was coded 252/V. She later was deployed aboard HMS Eagle. On retirement from front line duties XS587 was converted for drone and target towing duties, and remarked as Target Towing MK8. XS587 was acquired by Mike Carlton of "Hunter One" with the intention of returning it to flying condition, she was registered as G-VIXN.
On the death of Mike Carlton the Sea Vixen was put up for auction and purchased by Peter Vallance. It was transported by road to the Gatwick Aviation Museum by Downbird UK in September 1990. The aircraft retains its colourful drone/target towing colours.
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