Sea Venom/Aquilon
Operational Royal Navy Sea Venom FAW.22 at RAF Chivenor in 1969
Role Fighter-bomber
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer de Havilland Aircraft Company
First flight 19 April 1951
Retired 1970
Primary users Royal Navy
French Navy
Royal Australian Navy
Developed from de Havilland Venom

The de Havilland DH.112 Sea Venom is a British postwar carrier-capable jet aircraft developed from the de Havilland Venom. It served with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and with the Royal Australian Navy. The French Navy operated the Aquilon, developed from the Sea Venom FAW.20, built under licence by SNCASE (Sud-Est).

Design and development

The Sea Venom was the navalised version of the Venom NF.2 two-seat night fighter, and was used as an all-weather interceptor by the Fleet Air Arm (FAA). The necessary modifications for use on the Royal Navy's aircraft carriers included folding wings, a tailhook (which retracted into a characteristic "lip" over the jetpipe) and strengthened, long-stroke undercarriage. The canopy was modified to allow ejection from underwater. The first prototype made its first flight in 1951, and began carrier trials that same year. A further two prototypes were built.[1] The first production Sea Venom took the designation FAW.20 (Fighter, All-Weather). It was powered by a single de Havilland Ghost 103 turbojet engine and its armament was the same as the RAF version. The next variant was the FAW.21, which included the modifications introduced in the Venom NF.2A and NF.3. Some of these modifications included the Ghost 104 engine, a clear-view canopy and American radar. The final Royal Navy variant was the FAW.22 powered by the Ghost 105 engine. A total of 39 of this type were built in 1957–58. Some were later fitted out with the de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missile.

Seven FAW.21s were modified in 1958 for Electronic countermeasures (ECM) purposes, with the cannon replaced by the ECM equipment. These became the ECM.21. 831 Naval Air Squadron, the sole squadron to be equipped with it, was shore-based at RAF Watton from 1963 and disbanded in 1966. Converted FAW.22s were similarly known as the ECM.22.

A modernised Sea Venom project, the DH.116 with swept wings and upgraded radar was considered, but cancelled as the Royal Navy believed that any replacement needed two engines. The de Havilland Sea Vixen ultimately replaced the Sea Venom.

Operational history

Royal Navy service

In 1956 Sea Venoms, alongside RAF Venoms, took part in the Suez War. They were from Nos. 809, 891, 892, 893, 894, 895[2] Naval Air Squadrons based on the light fleet carrier HMS Albion and fleet carrier HMS Eagle. The Anglo-French invasion, codenamed Operation Musketeer, began on 31 October 1956 signalling the beginning of the Suez War. The Sea Venoms launched many sorties, bombing a variety of targets in Egypt in the process.

Sea Venoms also saw service during conflicts in the Middle East.

By 1959, the Sea Venom began to be replaced in Royal Navy service by the de Havilland Sea Vixen, an aircraft that also had the distinctive twin-boom tail. The Sea Venom would be withdrawn from frontline service soon afterwards. The type continued to fly with second line FAA units until the last were withdrawn in 1970.

Service with other nations

Royal Navy Sea Venom aircraft being handed over to the Royal Australian Navy, ca. 1955

Thirty-nine Sea Venom FAW.53s saw service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), replacing the Hawker Sea Fury. The Sea Venom entered service in 1956 and, during its service with the RAN, operated off the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne. It was taken out of first-line service in 1967, replaced by the American McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk.

From 1957 to 1961, French Navy Aquilons took part in counter-insurgency operations in Algeria.[3] They were withdrawn from service in 1965.


Sea Venom

DH.112 Sea Venom NF.20
Prototype Sea Venom, based on Venom NF.2.,[4][5] three-built.
Initial production aircraft, based on Venom NF.2A. 4,850 lbf (21.6 kN) Ghost 103 turbojet engine, AI Mk 10 (US SCR 720) radar.[6] 50 built.[4]
Improved version, equivalent to Venom NF.3. 4,950 lbf (22.1 kN) Ghost 104 engine, AI Mk 21 (US APS-57) radar, strengthened long-stroke undercarriage.[7][8] 167 built.
Six FAW.21s modified from 1957 for ECM purposes. No armament.[9]
More powerful (5,300 lbf (23.6 kN)) Ghost 105 engine, giving improved high-altitude performance.[10] 39 new built.[8]
Equivalent of ECM.21, based on FAW.22
Australian designation for the Sea Venom FAW.21. 39 built.[6]

SNCASE Aquilon

French-built Aquilon 203 displayed at Lorient South Brittany Airport in 1973

SNCASE (Sud-Est) license-built 101 Sea Venom FAW.20 as the Aquilon for the French Navy.


Sea Venom WZ931 at the South Australian Aviation Museum Port Adelaide

Sea Venom operators

 United Kingdom

Aquilon operators


Surviving aircraft

A Sea Venom at Imperial War Museum Duxford in 2011
United Kingdom

Specifications (Sea Venom FAW.22)

Sea Venom FAW.20 3-view drawings

Data from De Havilland's Sea Venom [30][31]

General characteristics


555 mph (482 kn; 893 km/h) at 30,000 ft (9,100 m)


See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ Gunston 1981, p. 56.
  2. ^ British Naval Aircraft Since 1912, Owen Thetford1962, Putnam & Co. Ltd., p.96
  3. ^ Oliver, D. British Combat Aircraft in action since 1945 1987 p86 ISBN 071101678X
  4. ^ a b Jackson 1987, p. 479.
  5. ^ Sturtivant 1990, pp. 81–82.
  6. ^ a b Sturtivant 1990, p.83
  7. ^ Sturtivant 1990, p. 86.
  8. ^ a b c Mason 1992, p. 363.
  9. ^ Sturtivant 1990, pp. 89–90.
  10. ^ Sturtivant 1990, p. 88.
  11. ^ "723 Squadron History".
  12. ^ Thetford 1991, p. 112.
  13. ^ Cuskelly, Ron (3 November 2019). "de Havilland Sea Venom F.A.W. Mk 53 WZ898 C/N 12755". Queensland Air Museum. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  14. ^ "De Havilland Sea Venom". Australian National Aviation Museum. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  15. ^ a b c Geale, Bob; Masterson, Dave; Cowan, Brendan; Edwards, Martin (23 February 2018). "RAN N4 de Havilland DH.112 Sea Venom FAW.20 & FAW.53". ADF-Serials. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  16. ^ Cuskelly, Ron (16 November 2017). "de Havilland Sea Venom F.A.W. Mk 53 WZ910 C/N 12767". Queensland Air Museum. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Sea Venom". South Australian Aviation Museum. Archived from the original on 18 October 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Our hangars". National Association of the Museum of Naval Aeronautics (in French). Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  19. ^ "de Havilland Sea Venom FAW Mk22 - XG691". Malta Aviation Museum. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  20. ^ "Aeroplane: De Havilland DH.112 Sea Venom". Polish Aviation Museum. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  21. ^ "Airframe Dossier - de Havilland Sea Venom FAW.21, s/n XG613 RN, c/n 12904". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  22. ^ "de Havilland Sea Venom FAW21 (WW138)". Fleet Air Arm Museum. Archived from the original on 24 November 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  23. ^ "de Havilland Sea Venom". National Museums Scotland. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  24. ^ "Airframe Dossier - de Havilland Sea Venom FAW.22, s/n WW145 RN". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  25. ^ Heeley, Howard (2009). Newark Air Museum Guide Book. Newark (Notts & Lincs) Air Museum Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9500341-2-6.
  26. ^ "Navy Romney". North East Land, Sea and Air Museums. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  27. ^ "de Havilland DH112 Sea Venom FAW.22". de Havilland Aircraft Museum. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  28. ^ "Airframe Dossier - de Havilland Venom FAW.22, s/n XG730 RAF, c/n 121131". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  29. ^ "de Havilland Sea Venom FAW22". East Midlands Aeropark. Retrieved 19 October 2020.
  30. ^ Sturtivant 1990, p. 85.
  31. ^ Jackson 1978, pp. 481–482.


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