De Havilland Venom

Venom FB1 The Venom was a development of the Vampire and it was decided to explore the potential for using the aircraft as a high-altitude reconnaissance platform.

It is understood that in the early 1950ís two de Havilland Venoms (WE265 and WE275) were modified by removing all unnecessary equipment such as tip tanks, armament, armour plate and radios. During trials one aircraft reached a maximum altitude of 52,500ft, but at that height was unstable and could hardly manoeuver. One aircraft (WE275) was painted light blue and operated by 541 Sqn was deployed to Wunstorf in West Germany.

Whether this aircraft actually took part in high-level reconnaissance sorties over East Germany is unknown, although there is some evidence that it was used on several occasions. Given the limited range and performance of this aircraft, these sorties probably consisted of little more than a climb to high level, a dash across the border, some quick photos and an even more rapid dash back. Perhaps one day when the appropriate files are released we will discover how successful these sorties really were.