The Sea Venom was an adaption of the RAF's Night-Fighter
NF2, and was a two seat, all-weather day or night fighter.
Like the original Venom, it was intended to serve as an
interim aircraft, this time between the Navy's piston-engined Hornet and the
De Havilland Sea Vixen. It was first supplied to 890 squadron at
Yeovilton on 20 March 1954 and was withdrawn in 1961. During that time
it saw service in Suez and Aden.
The design team and construction of the Sea Venom was based at Christchurch, Hatfield
being pre-occupied with the Comet.
The more obvious new features of the Sea Venom are
- Upward folding wings.
- stronger undercarriage
- V-frame arrester hooks.
Early problems with the FAW20 lead to withdrawal of the type from front-line service.
The insufficient strength of the arrester hook lead to several aircraft overshooting
the landing strip and falling in the drink. At this time, no ejector seats were fitted.
The FAW21 protype first flew on 21. April 1954, and was fitted with ejector seats.
The FAW22 first flew on 1. October 1956.
On 31 October and 1. November 1956, Sea Venoms took part in the Suez campaign,
flying from the carriers Albion and Eagle, one of the
squadrons flying the new FAW22. Only one casualty
was recorded - an aircraft damaged by flak had to land with undercarriage up,
becoming the first aircraft to be saved by the nylon curtain.
1958 against EOKA in Cyprus, flying from HMS Albion.
1960 Yemen (Aden), flying from Ark Royal.
Retirement from the front-line began in 1959 and was completed by 1961
(In France it was 1963 and in Australia it was 1967). It continued in a training
role until 1970.