Vickers Vireo

Single engine naval fighter prototype built using the Wibault design methods.
Vickers Vireo N211 Brooklands The Vickers Type 125 Vireo N211 at Brooklands showing the metal skinned wing and fuselage.
 
The Vickers Type 125 Vireo was designed against Specification 17/25, which sought a low power, single-seat shipboard fighter aircraft. The Vickers Aviation design featured all-metal construction with an underlying primary structure covered by thin, externally stiffened, skins to wing and fuselage.
 
Power was provided by a single 235 hp Armstrong Siddeley Lynx IV engine. The Vireo was a low wing monoplane which carried two machine guns in the wings, firing outside the propeller disc. The sole prototype (N211) was first flown in early March 1928, a delay being incurred due to extensive structural investigations carried out at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) during the construction of the prototype.
 
Early flying indicated a lower than expected performance, attributed to a much reduced engine output than that expected.
 
In the interim, the Vireo was delivered to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment (A&AEE) at Martlesham Heath for official trials. It was sent in a landplane configuration as the planned manufacturers tests in the seaplane configuration had been deferred whilst it was awaiting the delivery of a replacement suitable engine.
 
Vickers Vireo N211 in flight The Vireo's thick wing allowed its machine guns to be carried within the wing.
 
During the tests at Martlesham, the aircraft suffered a number of niggling failures and had a tendency to drop suddenly, just before landing. Despite this deficiency, the aircraft was overhauled and later flown to Gosport on 12th July, for the purpose of deck landing trials on HMS Furious.
 
The planned seaplane trials did not take place and the concept of a low-powered fighter was deemed unsuccessful, due to its flight performance offering no advantage over the contemporary Fairey IIIF.   
 

Variants & Numbers


One only, serial number N211.
 

Specification


Powerplant
One 235 hp Armstrong Siddeley Lynx IV engine
Span
35 ft 0 in
Maximum Weight
2,550 lb
Capacity & Armament
Pilot; two Vickers machine guns in the wings, firing outside the propeller arc.
Maximum Speed
120 mph
 

Survivors


None
 

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