Vickers FB25

A two-seat pusher biplane of Gunbus configuration designed as an anti-Zeppelin fighter.
Vickers FB25 stbd front view The sole Vickers FB25 showing the 40 mm Vickers Crayford 'rocket gun' armament.
 
The Vickers FB25 clung onto the Vickers 'Gunbus' configuration, with a pilot and a gunner in a nacelle forward of the wings, a pusher propeller to the rear and tail surfaces supported by pairs of tail booms. This configuration originated with the Vickers EFB1 (Experimental Fighting Biplane) of 1913.
 
The single example of the FB25 is believed to have flown for the first time in the Spring of 1917, powered by a 150 hp Hispano Suiza engine.
 
Designed as an anti-Zeppelin night fighter, the crew nacelle was relatively wide with the occupants seated in a staggered side-by-side configuration with the gunner forward and to starboard of the pilot. The gunner was armed with a pintle-mounted Vickers Crayford 'experimental rocket gun' specifically designed for attacking airship targets.
 
This gun was the 40mm Breech-Loading Vickers Q.F. Gun Mk II which despite its popular name, was actually a lightweight single-shot gun that fired cannon shells.
 
The original design of the FB25 was planned to accommodate an airborne searchlight in the extreme nose, but this appears to have never been fitted.
 
Limited official trials were conducted at Martlesham Heath in late June or early July 1917 although these were curtailed when the aircraft crashed whilst flying in strong winds. It was already clear however, that the aircraft controls were unsatisfactory, both with the engine off or when flying in strong winds with turbulent conditions. Consequently, it had little prospect of being taken into production.
 
The few photographs of the aircraft available do not show it carrying an official serial number.
 
Vickers FB25 rear port view A rear view of the short-lived Vickers FB25 anti-Zeppelin fighter.
 

Variants & Numbers

One prototype only.
 

Specification

Powerplant
One 150 hp Hispano-Suiza engine
Span
41 ft 6 in
Maximum Weight
2,454 lb
Capacity and Armament
Pilot and gunner; one nose-mounted Vickers Crayford 40mm “rocket gun”
Maximum Speed
91 mph at sea level, 84.5 mph at 10,000 ft
Endurance
4.5 hours
 

Survivors

The sole example of the Vickers FB26 was destroyed in an accident during trials at Martlesham Heath

Other information