The Vickers Aviation Type 432 was designed against Specification F.7/41, which sought a heavily armed interceptor to counter the expected threat of high-altitude German bombing during the second world war.
Its origins however, lay back in 1939 with an initial requirement for a twin-engine fighter, although over the next 2 years the specification changed on a number of occasions. It is noticeable in its likeness to a certain De Havilland iconic design, although the Vickers Type 432's metal construction led it to be referred to by some as the 'Tin Mosquito'.
The intended armament was six 20mm Hispano cannon mounted in an under-fuselage belly-pack and two prototypes were ordered, of which only the first (DZ217) actually flew. The aircraft was built at the Vickers experimental facility at Foxwarren, just a few miles from Brooklands from where it was transported by road before being secretly flown for the first time at Farnborough on 24th December 1942.
The Vickers Type 432 was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 engines, this engine model also being used by the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire PR Mk XI photo reconnaissance aircraft. It featured tightly cowled engines mounted on a wing of elliptical planform with markedly pointed wingtips.
The cockpit enclosure was intended to be pressurised whilst the tail fin and tailplane were remarkably similar in appearance to those fitted to the aforementioned De Havilland Mosquito.
Initial test flying revealed several issues, including poor handling qualities. This resulted in changes to the tailplane rigging angle and further modifications to the ailerons. More significantly however, it was found that the engines would not run reliably at altitudes above 23,000 ft. This came as a major surprise given their satisfactory performance in the Spitfire application.
These problems, together with the failure to install the proposed cabin pressurisation system, meant that the highest speed achieved was just 380 mph at 20,000 ft. In consequence, the performance figures quoted below are design data rather that obtained performance measurement in flight.
By late 1943, it was apparent that a general threat of high-level bombing by German aircraft was unlikely to arise and consequently the decision was taken not to proceed with the Vickers Type 432.
At this point, the sole prototype had only completed twenty-eight flights and the whole project was abandoned.
Two aircraft ordered, but only a single prototype, DZ217, was built.
Specification (estimated performance)
|Powerplant||Two 1,565 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 engines|
|Span||56 ft 10.5 in|
|Maximum Weight||20,168 lb|
|Capacity & Armament||Pilot; Six 20mm belly-mounted Hispano cannon|
|Maximum Speed||Estimated 435 mph at 28,000 ft|