06/30/2014. Evolved from the experimental Types 510 and 535, the Type 541 fighter closely resembled the latter, and two pre-production examples (built to Specification F105) were ordered on November 9, 1950, with an initial production contract for 100 aircraft (built to Specification F105P) following a few weeks later.
To be named Swift, the new fighter substituted a 7,000 lb (3,175 kg) s.t Rolls-Royce Avon RA7 axial-flow turbojet for the centrifugal-flow Nene 2, armament consisting of two 1.18 in (30 mm) cannon in the lower front fuselage. The pre-production aircraft flew on August 1, 1951 and July 18, 1952, and the first production Swift F.Mk.1 followed on August 25, 1952. This entered RAF service on February 13, 1954 with a 7,500 lb (3,402 kg) s.t Avon 105.
After eighteen F.Mk.1s production switched to the F.Mk.2 with increased wing chord and four 1.18 in (30 mm) cannon, seventeen Swifts being built to this standard. Numerous handling problems were encountered with these early Swifts, resulting in a series of modifications and curtailed production. This included 25 F.Mk.3s with 9,500 lb (4,310 kg) afterburning RA7R Avon 108s, six F.Mk.4s (as Type 546) with dog-tooth wing leading edges and variable incidence tailplane, 94 FR.Mk.5s (as Type 549) with cameras in a lengthened nose and other improvements, and 12 F.Mk.7s with A1 radar and four Blue Sky (Fireflash) AAMs.
Production of the Swift ended in July 1957, after two pre-production and 172 production aircraft had been built, service use (of the FR.Mk.5) continuing until1960.
The pictured aircraft was the second of the two pre-production aircraft and first flew on July 18, 1952, the aircraft was lost sixteen months later, November 10, 1953. Assigned to 'A' Squadron at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at RAF Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, the aircraft was on a low-speed handling trials test flight. After the test pilot Squadron Leader Noel Eric David "Ned" Lewis initiated a second stall with flaps and undercarriage down, the aircraft was seen to enter a right-hand spin from which it did not recover. An anti-spin parachute was not fitted and the aircraft crashed, killing Ned Lewis.