Vickers EFB2

A two-seat pusher biplane fighter with forward-firing Vickers machine gun.
Vickers EFB2 at Brooklands The Vickers EFB2 with clear-view side panels at Brooklands in 1913.
 
The Vickers EFB2 was designed in 1913 against an Admiralty requirement for a gun-carrying fighter.
 
The design followed on from the Vickers EFB1 (described separately) which was destroyed during its flight trials. The new design, also known as the Admiralty Type 18, was powered by the Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine, which was designed to produce 100 hp.
 
The Vickers EFB2 was an unstaggered wing biplane, with an upper wing having slightly greater span than the lower. The structure was predominantly of steel tube construction, with fabric covered wings and tail surfaces. The fixed tailplane was of semi-circular planform and the undercarriage had a single wheel on each side, joined by a cross-axle and fitted with a pair of skids inboard of the wheels. 
 
The two crew sat in a nacelle in front of the wing and were provided with large transparent panels in the sides of the nacelle, presumably to improve their downward and sideways field of view.
 
A Vickers 0.303 inch machine gun was mounted on trunnions in the extreme nose. This was articulated, to allow both elevation and traverse over a limited arc as it lacked obvious aids allowing the gunner to aim his fire.
 
The intention was to provide a long-range escort aircraft to fly along with a bomber formation and provide all-round defensive armament. Its main distinguishing feature was a streamlined gunnery ‘pulpit’ mounted over the engine, ahead of the upper wing centre section. This firing position provided a superlative field of fire over the upper hemisphere and obviated the need for gun synchronisation with the propeller. It was also consistent with the proposed secondary role, that of an anti-Zeppelin interceptor.
 
The Vickers EFB2 flew well and was said to be easy to handle, although surprisingly lacking in performance when compared with the nominally lower-powered Vickers EFB1. This possibly suggests that at this stage of its development, the Gnome engine was not developing its advertised 100 hp. Despite the disappointing performance, the general behaviour of the aircraft suggested that it warranted further development. This led to the Vickers EFB3 and the successful Vickers FB5 Gunbus, which achieved full production and squadron service.
 

Variants & Numbers


One prototype only.
 

Specification


Powerplant
One 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary engine
Span
38 ft 7 in
Maximum Weight
1,760 lb
Capacity
Pilot and gunner; One Vickers gun fired from the front cockpit
Maximum Speed
60 mph at sea level
Endurance
2 hr 15 min
 

Survivors


No examples of the Vickers EFB2 survive.

Other information