April 15, 2024
Click to Enlarge The lone Vampire T55 IN149 at the NAM features the emblem of the ‘Phantoms’ – INAS 550

The era of Jets came to the Indian Navy with the procurement of three Vampire FB52s and one T55 two seater in September 1957. They were procured to enable the Naval airment to gain experience on Jets in view of the impending induction of the Sea Hawks. The Naval Jet Flight (NJF), later designated as INAS 550 “A” Flight, was formed at Sulur, near Coimbatore, as the runway at Cochin was limited.

Throughout 1960, the Vampires fulfilled their function of converting pilots to jet fighter flying, these then proceeding to the UK and France for operational conversion training on the Hawker Sea Hawk and Breguet Alize respectively.

The Vampire is said to have some restoration done on the forward fuselage by Cdr HP Singh’s team. Click to Enlarge

It is not known exactly when the Vampires were retired, but this was probably done in the early 70s as their place was taken over by Kiran Mk 1s.

While the Vampire FB52s have not survived, the T.55 has survived and was restored by Cdr HP Singh’s team from INS Hansa. The aircraft had some restoration done on the forward fuselage and sports the INAS550’s Phantom emblem on the nose.

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