De Havilland Viper

What If Aircraft

by David Drake



De Havilland Viper F.2 WL559 ‘A’, 8 Sqn RAF, Gutersloh 1960 

Based on the successful Vampire and venom series, and drawing on de Havilland’s experience with the DH108 transonic research aircraft, the Viper saw only limited service with the RAF; in fact it was the only user of the type, some 60 examples being used y 8 and 19 Squadrons as point defence fighters in Germany.

Destined to be only the second-ever tailless swept-wing fighter to see operational service (the first being the Me163), the type suffered instability problems throughout its short service life.  To remedy this in the field, dummy Firestreak missiles were carried at all times by the F.2 (the F.1 was only cannon-equipped).

In spite of its shortcomings, the Viper broke new ground in being the RAF’s first single-seat, radar-equipped interceptor and help ready that Service for the later English Electric Lightning.

(Donor kits: Matchbox Hunter FGA.9 and Mystere IV, Merlin Vampire T.11, Novo Javelin FAW.9, Modeldecal sheet 38)


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Photos and text © by David Drake