Visitors will be thrilled as the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 demonstrates why it was one of the first successful swept-wing jet fighters, with high octane manoeuvres and a simulated battle with the added excitement of pyrotechnics as it displays with the de Havilland DH.100 Vampire.
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British fighter jet developed during the Second World War. The MiG-15 aircraft was developed for the Soviet Union and achieved fame in the skies over Korea, where, early in the war, it outclassed all straight-winged enemy fighters in most applications.
The MiG-15 is believed to have been one of the most widely produced jet aircraft ever made. In excess of 12,000 were manufactured and licensed foreign production may have raised the production total to over 18,000. Some among them were Polish-built variants of which the Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron’s example is one. The MiG-15 is often mentioned, along with the North American F-86 Sabre, as the best fighter aircraft of the Korean War, and among the best fighter aircraft of all time. The MiG-15 remains in service with the North Korean Air Force as an advanced trainer.
The MiG-15 is also well known for its role in the Korean War – a conflict which involved the Royal Navy operated Hawker Sea Furies. Piloted by Lieutenant Peter ‘Hoagy’ Carmichael, one such Sea Fury FB11 made history when it downed a MiG-15; one of the very few times when a piston-engined aircraft has gained superiority over a jet.
The MiG-15 on display at Wings & Wheels wears the markings of the aircraft flown by famed Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin before he became the first man to visit outer space in 1961.
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was designed to harness the newly developed jet engine and entered service with the RAF in 1945. It was the first fighter jet to be powered by a single jet engine.
The RAF used the Vampire as a front-line fighter until 1953, when it assumed the role of pilot training. The de Havilland Vampire jet achieved a series of aviation firsts, including being the first British plane to exceed 500mph as well as the first jet fighter to cross the Atlantic. It was retired in 1966 and replaced by the Hawker Hunter and Gloster Javelin.
Around 3,300 Vampires were manufactured. The Royal Navy's first jet fighter was the Sea Vampire, a variant of the plane operated from the Navy's aircraft carriers. As such, the Vampire was the first plane to be landed on a moving aircraft carrier.
The Norwegian Air Force Historical Squadron was founded in 2008 and is based at Rygge Air Base Norway.