The de Havilland Vampire first flew in Britain in September 1943 and three years later it was ordered for the RAAF. The Vampire’s pod is constructed mainly of wood and the wings, tail and booms are made of metal. The aircraft was developed initially as a single seat fighter but was subsequently developed into a night fighter, fighter/bomber and trainer versions. A total of 3,987 were built between 1943 and 1961 in six countries, including Australia.
In Australia, de Havilland built 80 single seat aircraft at their Bankstown factory, with the first Australian built aircraft flying for the first time in June 1949. The single seat aircraft were powered by Rolls Royce Nene engines, built under license by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in Melbourne. These were the first jet engines built in Australia.