VICKERS TYPE 161 / 162. In 1927 the Air Ministry issued a specification (F .29/27) for single-seat fighter to be equipped with a 37-mm. quick-firing gun developed by the Coventry Ordnance Works. Two manufacturers received orders for prototypes to this specification. Westland built one machine (J.9565) which was a modified version of the wirebraced low-wing monoplane they had produced earlier to meet a more conventional single-seater fighter requirement (F.20/27). Vickers produced the unconventional Type 161.
The design of the Vickers 161 was unusual. The radial engine was mounted at the rear of the nacelle containing the pilot and armament, which was itself slung against the under-surface of the upper of the two-bay biplane wings. The tail unit was mounted on a long, tapering,. cylindrical rear fuselage fixed to a bearing on the rear face of the hub of the four-bladed propeller and was braced to the wing cell by tubular metal booms.
Like the Westland C.O.W. gun fighter, the Vickers 161 is believed to have been designed originally to take the British Mercury III radial of 485 h.p., but the prototype (J .9566) was actually built with the earlier Bristol Jupiter engine. It made its first flight from Brooklands in 1931, flown by Capt. J. ("Mutt") Summers, and immediately revealed a lack of directional stability. As a result, the prototype was modified and fitted with a much enlarged fin and rudder and fan-shaped fins extending rearwards from the ends of the tail booms. This modified design is believed to have been designated Type 162. However, the C.O.W. fighter requirement was not proceeded with and the Vickers F.29/27 was not developed further .
Vickers F.29/27 (serial J9566) complete with military markings, serial and C.O.W. quick-firing gun in position. This version differs from the one published in having small fins fitted to the top and undersides of the outrigger booms. This modified design is believed to have been designated Type 162.