Vickers FB12

A single-seat pusher biplane fighter with fixed forward-firing armament.
Vickers FB12 port front view round wing tips The Vickers FB12 A7391 with Gnome monosoupape engine.
 
The Vickers FB12, was a single-seat fighter in a ‘Gunbus’ style configuration. It was designed as a potential replacement for the Airco DH2 or Royal Aircraft Factory FE8. It was originally intended that it would be powered by the 150 hp Hart radial engine, which was supported by the Vickers concern. In the event however, the engine was not ready by the time the prototype aircraft (A7351) was completed in June 1916.
 
As a result, the aircraft was initially powered with an 80 hp Le Rhône rotary engine of barely half the intended power. Because of this, performance was predictably disappointing with a maximum speed of only 95 mph.
 
In its initial form, the FB12 had a circular section fuselage and wings of 26 ft span.
 
In an effort to improve performance, a 100 hp Gnome monosoupape engine was fitted, allowing the maximum speed to be increased to a modest 100 mph. The aircraft was armed with a single fixed forward-firing Lewis gun set in the front of the nacelle with the aircraft configuration resulting that no propeller synchronisation was required.
 
A production order was placed for 50 aircraft, with the assumption that these would be powered by the planned Hart radial engine although in the event that was not possible. The first production aircraft (A7352) was therefore initially powered by a 100 hp Le Rhône rotary engine which was subsequently replaced by a 100 hp Anzani radial unit.
 
Vickers FB12C A7352 Anzani engine 1917 The first production Vickers FB12C A7352 with Anzani engine and modified nacelle.
 
The production aircraft, designated FB12C, differed significantly from the prototype.
 
The fuselage nacelle was changed to a rectangular cross-section whilst the wing was increased in span by some 45 inches and fitted with squared-off wing tips. These changes increased both drag and weight, with the result that there was no increase in speed although there was some noted improvement in climb rate.
 
Due to the disappointing performance, production ceased after only 17 were built.
 
None of those built saw squadron service although the original FB12 prototype underwent Service Trials in France. One production aircraft is believed to have been issued to a Home Defence Unit in 1917.
 
Although unsuccessful, Vickers revisited the concept of the FB12 with the equally unsuccessful FB26 Vampire of mid-1917, which is described separately.
 

Variants & Numbers

 
Vickers FB12
Single prototype, A7351
Vickers FB12C
17 production aircraft A7352 – A7368
 

Specifications

 
 
FB12
FB12C
Powerplant
One 100 hp Gnome monosoupape
One 100 hp Anzani radial
Span
26 ft 0 in
29 ft 9 in
Maximum Weight
1,275 lb
1,400 lb
Capacity
Single pilot; one fixed forward-firing Lewis gun
Maximum Speed
95 mph (80hp Le Rhône), 100 mph (100hp Gnome)
100 mph at sea level
 

Survivors

No examples of the Vickers FB12 survive.

Other information