overscan (PaulMM)

Staff member
27 December 2005
Reaction score
From a brochure I missed on Ebay:

DH.110 Tactical Bomber / Photographic Reconnaissance Aircraft (March 1957)

The seller had these brochures:

DH110 Tactical Bomber Aircraft (RCAF Requirements) (November 1958)
Sea Vixen Development with RB163 engines (February 1960)

Which he sold privately to the winner of the auction.

Anyone got more info, except what was in BSP? What Canadian requirement was the DH.110 brochure for?
Thats got to be the 'interim' GOR339 offering for the stretched Vixen.

The Spey offering would relate to the RN FAW2 modernisation I suspect.

Though oddly reading Friedman he seems to think there was a Medway offering too, and of interest to the RAN, but his is the only writings of such I've seen.

A Canadian offering might parallel the B109 supersonic strike fighter variant of the Buccaneer offered to Canada around the same time?
The 1958 RCAF requirement was in anticipation of Canada accepting NATO's proposed tactical nuclear strike role in Europe. That proposal caused a political storm in Canada but was finally accepted by PM John Diefenbaker in the summer of 1959.

No new aircraft were procured -- they decided that the CF-104s could do the job. One of the more interesting tactical aircraft put forward was Avro Canada CF-100 adaptation with vectoring thrust for VTOL. BTW, the Buccaneer was also put forward as a potential Sabre Mk6 replacement.
From Jim Floyd's "The Avro Canada C102 Jetliner", that VTOL CF-100 derivative.

No designation is given. Engines mentioned as "Bristol Orpheus" (actually Orpheus BE.53/2 aka Pegasus 1).


  • cf100-vtol.jpg
    45.6 KB · Views: 1,157
Some drawings of the land-based DH-110 from the RCAF brochure.


  • DH110-Canada.jpg
    32.9 KB · Views: 570
  • DH110-Brochure-ASMs.jpg
    75.3 KB · Views: 709
  • DH110-Brochure-AAMs.jpg
    105.3 KB · Views: 689
  • DH110-Brochure-Ferry.jpg
    77.3 KB · Views: 748
Thanks for the incredible find.

I do have to wonder if the brochure emphasized the increased endurance offered by the Spey, because I can't imagine that other aspects of flight performance were very much improved. I'm inclined to believe that the FAA was indeed seeking increased endurance as the most notable feature of the eventual FAW.2 was the increased fuel capacity?

I also have to inquire as to the date of the brochure. Obviously it must be subsequent to the 1957 cancellation of the Conway?
Also note the missiles drawn beneath the wings - sharp Firestreak noses, "reverse sweep" Red Top main-fins. I seem to recall either BSP:IV or another book commenting on this combination as representing the initial trials version of Red Top before the hemispherical nose was finalised, hence possibly helping with dating the drawings?
Brochure dates from February 1960, revised June 1960.

Main points are:

in service by 1964

Patrol endurance increased from 2 to over 4 hours

Radius of action increased from 114nm to 540nm.

No significant reduction in performance.

two 150 gallon fuel tanks faired into the booms.

45% increase in space for equipment

Developed Red Top by 1966

does the brochure say anything about the radar ? Or is it just airframe and engines ?


The weapons fit is assumed to be the standard Sea Vixen Red Top/AI Mk 18 for a 1964 in service date. For 1966 onwards, the brochure suggests development of improved Red Top with a 25% greater thrust. It is suggested that a semi-active radar homing head be developed too. The radar would be an AI Mk 18 development with CW illumination injection. DH Propellers had done some preliminary studies for the improved Red Tops, which would be carried 2 radar, 2 IR.
overscan said:
For 1966 onwards, the brochure suggests development of improved Red Top with a 25% greater thrust. It is suggested that a semi-active radar homing head be developed too.

Would this be the RFNA/MAFI Red Top Mk2 described on p42 of BSP4? (BTW I checked on the time-frame of the sharp-nosed variant - June 1959, in fairly close proximity to your Sea Vixen brochure's date of early 1960. Evidently the hemispherical nose still hadn't been finalised at the time the brochure was published.)

Does the brochure give performance details for the reheated-Spey version? I'd be very surprised if it wasn't supersonic.
Based on the Air Britain book the thinner wing and possibly reworked intakes may have been necessary to offer anything like a realistic supersonic variant. That of course assumes no major problems with acoustic effect on the tailplane. Which is a big assumption. Its a pity there wasn't a simpler fix as the Rn invested a lot in buying these beautiful aircraft and decoupling the F4 buy from CV01 would not have hurt financially.
G65: help me with the F-4K decouple point. Timing was that from c.1959 RN wanted Spey/F-4 for Ark/Eagle/Victorious and on to a new Strike Class, but settled for Vixen 2 as Interims common to the Light Fleets. In July,1963 CVA-01 was funded, as was P.1154 defeating any non-common (RAF+RN) kit, such as a Vixen 3 for which neither RR nor HSAL enthused, cannibal of better things. RN escaped to F-4K (HSAL as Sister Firm) in Feb.'64 for Strike carriers current and future, leaving Light Fleets' future role, so Air Groups, for a later fight. In 1973/74 that became CVS/HSAL/RR Sea Harrier FRS.1.

What would be the value of supersonics at sea? Combat Air Patrol requires endurance, Strike requires payload. Brief sprint is not the prime attribute: as a free bonus, thanks - as on F-4K, but if at the expense of lurk and load, then, no thanks. Super-scheme Scimitar, Buccaneer and P.1154-not-P.1127 were all declined.
Supersonic has its uses, lower drag, higher acceleration as design characteristics, but I am sure part of it is keeping up with other peoples toys. When the P1154 was the machine it was said that its Mach 1.something speed was a bit of a problem when their grannies could fly across the Atlantic at Mach 2 on Concorde. There was no tactical issue with grannies in Concorde but to jet pilots its seems to have mattered.

The F4 and the existing British carriers were simply not very compatible and modifications to the F4 to get them on Ark and Eagle hit cost and time overruns and compromised the programme at a time of very grave budget pressure. New carriers in the 50s/early 60s or deferring the aircraft buy would have been better options with hindsight.

An updated Sea Vixen with the F4 radar and missiles and Spey would probably have been viable into the 70s with its collision course capability. Also being more realistic about what could be afforded/sustained regarding CVA01 rather than what they felt was needed from their threat reduction exercises. They felt 36 fast jets were needed and ended up with 5 Sea Harriers. Accepting Ark/ Eagle air groups on a better modern design would have been better as an alternate history.
After '58 the plan insofar as I can ascertain it was OR346 by 1960 as the longterm fighter and bomber aircraft.

In terms of planning and discussion it seems early CVA-01 studies during 62 and 63 where using the Buccaneer as the baseline for all aircraft to measure the effects of size of CV on airwing etc....
That coincides with at least one or two offerings from Brough of Buccaneer variants as CAP fighters and its CAP fighters that are again part of the CVA-01 debate.
NMBR.3 winner is forced on the RN instead of OR346, and much opposed.
AW406 is around that latter date, and the F4 is chosen after the P1154 is dropped.

By I think 1964.
And thats about the time the USSR was displaying new anti-ship missiles that would push up the minimum requirements for fleet defense.

Quite how they felt the F4 was going to safetly and usefuly operate from HMS Hermes is beyond me, it might be do-able as a fighter only but I would'nt want to be the pilot landing them on her.
...Kids, let me ask a really *dumb* question here: what *are* the benefits - if any- of the cockpit on an airplane offset on either side of the centerline? One of the Fish concepts required it because the cockpit would have otherwise rammed up underneath the modified Hustler, but on any other stand-alone aircraft?
Sea Vixen has a two seat cockpit, one side is a navigator with an old-fashioned radar scope that works better in low light. So rather than cover half the canopy in metal and kill the pilots field of view, you stick the navigator lower down inside the fuselage and don't have a canopy over his side.
Wasn't there a DH project that had a slanting tailplane on unequal length tailbooms? Was it connected with Sea Vixen early studies?
According to Bill Gunston's Fighters of the Fifties, de Havilland looked at V-tails that pointed forward and backwards, along with the skewed planform asked about. It was connected by booms of different lengths.
This slim book, BTW, is like a lot of the author's, excellent but for a few irritating typos ("Bell X-3 reached Mach 3..."). I only wish the book had line drawings.
The Sea Vixen was always one of my favorites. It deserved more credit and larger production runs. It was probably a better design than the competing plane that got the RAF nod, the Gloster Javelin.


  • DH.110 early design model.jpg
    DH.110 early design model.jpg
    474.9 KB · Views: 592
  • 01251359_58883099a5ac6.jpg
    58.6 KB · Views: 599
  • Prototype and FAW 1 side view.jpg
    Prototype and FAW 1 side view.jpg
    93.9 KB · Views: 686
Hi! DH.110 accident video, early design model and prototype side view.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uqnkn57Pf7M
Her early design has a strange twin boom tail design remain me of Republic AP-55, so Sea Vixen was supposed to be a supersonic fighter jet in her original design concept?
DH.110 with 'eyelid type' reheat, manufacturers display model, Royal Scottish Museum, Museum of Flight, East Fortune (currently in storage)


  • 20230102_175742.jpg
    2.2 MB · Views: 121
  • 20230102_175751.jpg
    1.7 MB · Views: 105
  • 20230102_175721.jpg
    1.4 MB · Views: 130
Can't help but think the people who created the twin boom on the p.1216 were inspired by the sea vixens twin boom with the middle vertical stabilizer cut out.

Similar threads

Top Bottom