The French modified Vampire - Sud-Est SE.535 Mistral

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I suggest a nice line-up filler for Rank V of the French aviation tech tree : the French unique modification of the Vampire, the Sud-Est SE 535 “Mistral”.

It is an evolution of the De Havilland DH.100 Vampire Mk 5, the very first jet of the French Air Force. The SE.535 Mistral was built in Marignane between 1951 and 1953. Its reactor, manufactured under license, developed more thrust than the De Havilland Goblin. From number 98, the plane is equipped with an ejection seat. The 247 Mistrals built equipped the Air Force between 1952 and 1961. They were used in particular in Algeria for ground attack.

Like late De Havilland Vampires, this plane also used the Rolls Royce Nene engine, although built by Hispano-Suiza. The key difference between classic Vampires and the SE.535 are intakes. It was discovered that the air intakes were inadequate, and therefore these were extensively re-designed after research conducted by Rolls-Royce, Boulton & Paul, de Havilland and SNCASE. A considerably improved performance resulted from the new intakes, notably a 65% improvement in the initial rate of climb, and a top speed of 574 m.p.h. with the Hispano-Suiza built Nene 102B, making it the fastest of all Vampires.

Other vampires have belly intakes and original sized wing-root intakes, the SE.535 has no belly intakes but larger wing-root intakes. The only identical units between the two aircraft were the forward part of the fuselage, the tailplane and the booms. The enlargement of the air intakes for the Nene allowed the fitment of flexible fuel tank. In fact the whole fuel system had to be redesigned so that there were 15 tanks around the aircraft against nine in the Vampire FB Mk.5.

Stats :

-Engine: 22.24kN Nene 104 (Hispano- Suiza-built) (5,000lb)
Span: 11.58m (38ft)
-Length: 9.37m (30ft 9in)
-Height: 2.69m (8ft 10in)
-Wing Area: 24.34m^2 (262 sq/ft)
-Weight: 3,472.70kg (7,656lb)
-AUW (All-up Weight): 5,727.96kg (12,628lb)
-Max Speed: 930.20km/h (578 mph) at sea level (According to “Postwar Military Aircraft: 5; De Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen” by Philip Birtles)
-Ceiling: 13,411.2m (44,000ft)
-Range: 1,963km (1,220 miles)

Possible suspended armement :

-4x HVARS

-4xT10 rockets

-2x 450kg (1000lbs) bombs.

Internal armement consists of four 20mm Hispano-Suiza canons.

Some pictures of a remaining Mistral at Musée de l’air et de l’espace :

Sources :

-“Postwar Military Aircraft: 5; De Havilland Vampire, Venom and Sea Vixen” by Philip Birtles

-“Warpaint Series No.27; de Havilland Vampire” by W.A. Harrison

-“Osprey Aircram Aviation Series No.33 - de Havilland Vampire F1-T55 in RAF - FAA - RAAF - RNZAF - SAAF - RCAF & Foreign service”

-“Aeroplane Icons: Vampire, de Havilland’s twin boomed ground-attack jet fighter”

-“101 Great Fighters” edited by Robert Jackson