Successor in Royal Navy service to the Sea Venom, the da Havilland Sea Vixen is an iconic all-British twin-boom, twin-turbojet fighter that flew from Royal Navy aircraft carriers at the height of the Cold War in the 1960s and 70s. The Sea Vixen had the distinction of being the first British two-seat combat aircraft to achieve supersonic speed, albeit not in level flight
The Sea Vixen saw action in Kuwait and the East African state of Tanganyika in the early 1960’s helping to avert a full scale war and quell a local mutiny. In 1964 Sea Vixens of HMS Centaur saw service once again in the Persian Gulf, including the launch of air strikes against rebel forces with HMS Centaur’s 892 Squadron Sea Vixens stationed off Indonesia, helped to prevent an escalation of President Sukarno’s Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation. In the later 1960’s Sea Vixens saw further service, performing duties on Beira Patrol to enforce an oil blockade of Rhodesia as well as providing air cover for the withdrawal from Aden.
The Sea Vixen also took to the skies in an aerobatic role, performing in two Royal Navy display teams: “Simon’s Sircus” and “Fred’s Five”. Of the 145 Sea Vixens constructed, 54 were lost in accidents.
Sea Vixen G-CVIX XP924 is the only flying Sea Vixen in the world. Based at RNAS Yeovilton and flying in 899 Naval Air Squadron colours from HMS Eagle, she was ‘gifted’ to the Fly Navy Heritage Trust (FNHT) by the Fleet Air Arms in September 2014. XP 924 first flew on 23 September 1963 and was delivered to 899 Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton on 18 December 1963. She retired from active service in August 1971 spending time at the Royal Naval Aircraft Yard at Belfast before passing to the Royal Aircraft Establishments (RAE) at Farnborough and Llanbedr between June 1973 and August 1977. Flight Refuelling took over in October 1977, converting her to a Drone with a Red and Yellow paint scheme.