Air Enthusiast 1997-05
D.Nicolle, G.Cattaneo - "A Delight to Fly"
A flight of de Havilland-built Vampire FB.52s over the Citadel of Cairo before the Suez War. The aircraft retain their original western European serial numbers but have these repeated in Arabic numerals between the black bands around their tail-booms; that of the nearest aircraft being 1514.
The main assembly workshop of the Aermacchi factory as Varese with a number of Vampire front fuselages ready for final assembly. In the background are a number of MB.308 touring aircraft and a DH.113 Vampire night-fighter.
The Macchi airfield at Venegono near Varese in October 1954, with a line-up of Italian-built Vampire FB.52s in their temporary Syrian Air Force markings. These were removed immediately the aircraft arrived in Egypt - their true destination. Even so, various political difficulties, largely resulting from British unwillingness to sanction the sale of Italian Vampires to Egypt, meant that these aircraft were not flown to Cairo until March and April 1955.
An Italian-built Vampire FB.52 after its delivery to Egypt. This aircraft still only has its serial number in European numerals, suggesting that Arabic numerals were added just before the Suez War. Italian-built Vampires in Egyptian service were distinguished from those made by de Havilland itself by having black anti-dazzle panels in front of their cockpits. This particular machine, number 1563, was probably delivered with the Syrian MDN number 36 (ex-Italian Air Force 6039) and may have been a survivor of Suez; the presence of a T-6 in the background perhaps indicating that remaining Vampires were used as advanced trainers at the Bilbeis Air Academy for a time.
Another view of Varese in October 1954, with a line-up of Italian-built Vampire FB.52s in their temporary Syrian Air Force markings.
Along with the Meteor, the de Havilland Vampire formed the backbone of the EAF’s early jet fighter force, 21 British-built examples being supplemented by nearly 60 Italian-built FB.52s. Here a pair of EAF Vampires is seen in Turkey during their ferry flights in 1951.
Two de Havilland-built FB.52s of the REAF at a snow-covered airfield in Turkey (Turkish-registered DH Heron 2B TC-HER in the background) during their delivery flight. These aircraft still only have their serial numbers written in European numerals.
Probably the wreckage of the other Italian-built EAF Vampire FB.52 shot down near the Gaza Strip on September 1, 1955, which carried the serial number 1569, though the number is not visible in this picture.
The wreckage of a third EAF Vampire shot down over southern Israel, perhaps the aircraft with serial number 1584 in which F/L Lufti made a crash landing on April 12, 1956 and was then taken prisoner.
On December 27, 1955 one of the Italian-built Vampires (Syrian MDN serial number 29), destined for the Egyptian Air Force via the good offices of Syria, suffered engine failure while on an acceptance trial flight by F/L Baghat Hassan Hilmi of the EAF. Hilmi skilfully made an emergency landing, though the Vampire suffered extensive damage. Nevertheless it was rebuilt and delivered along with the final batch. F/L Hilmi himself was killed when his Vampire was shot down during the Suez War.
The wreckage on one of the Italian-built EAF Vampire FB.52s shot down near the Gaza Strip on September 1, 1955. Its Arabic serial number 1567 can still be seen between the dark stripes on its tail boom.
One of the remarkably realistic wooden mock-up Vampires destroyed on the ground at al-Arish by Israeli aircraft during the Suez War. Its serial number, 1582, was one of those allocated to the final batch of Italian-built Vampires which arrived in Egypt immediately before the Suez War broke out.
British-built DH Vampire FB.52 of 2 Squadron, Egyptian Air Force circa 1956
An Italian-built Vampire FB.52 after its delivery to Egypt. This aircraft still only has its serial number in European numerals, suggesting that Arabic numerals were added just before the Suez War. Italian-built Vampires in Egyptian service were distinguished from those made by de Havilland itself by having black anti-dazzle panels in front of their cockpits. This particular machine, number 1563, was probably delivered with the Syrian MDN number 36 (ex-Italian Air Force 6039) and may have been a survivor of Suez; the presence of a T-6 in the background perhaps indicating that remaining Vampires were used as advanced trainers at the Bilbeis Air Academy for a time.
Along with the Meteor, the de Havilland Vampire formed the backbone of the EAF’s early jet fighter force, 21 British-built examples being supplemented by nearly 60 Italian-built FB.52s. Here a pair of EAF Vampires is seen in Turkey during their ferry flights in 1951.
Two de Havilland-built FB.52s of the REAF at a snow-covered airfield in Turkey (Turkish-registered DH Heron 2B TC-HER in the background) during their delivery flight. These aircraft still only have their serial numbers written in European numerals.
The main assembly workshop of the Aermacchi factory as Varese with a number of Vampire front fuselages ready for final assembly. In the background are a number of MB.308 touring aircraft and a DH.113 Vampire night-fighter.
The view of one of the 12 Vampire T.55 dual-control trainers supplied to the Egyptian Air Force. This particular machine was photographed in the UK prior to delivery.
The view of one of the 12 Vampire T.55 dual-control trainers supplied to the Egyptian Air Force. This particular machine was photographed in the UK prior to delivery.
The main assembly workshop of the Aermacchi factory as Varese with a number of Vampire front fuselages ready for final assembly. In the background are a number of MB.308 touring aircraft and a DH.113 Vampire night-fighter.