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 .
While the COW gun dominates, the Vickers Type 161 serial J9566 shows that it was far removed from the ‘stick and string’ aerodynamics that the format suggests.
A side view showing clearly the conical fairing aft of the propeller.
The Vickers Type 161 (F.29/27), J9566, in its final iteration, complete with military markings, with a revised broader-chord rudder and small fins added to the junction of tailplane and struts. As on its Westland rival, the COW gun was set to starboard, the pilot being provided with a periscopic gunsight. The biplane configuration appeared to be something of a throwback, but the widely spaced high-aspect ratio wings provided excellent climb performance. This modified design is believed to have been designated Type 162.
Built to the same specification as Westland COW Gun Fighter was the Vickers COW Gun Fighter, J9566. It was first flown on January 21, 1931. To improve longitudinal trim 60lb of ballast was carried in the nose.
47-миллиметровая пушка COW на опытном одноместном истребителе "Виккерс тип 161".
A further view of the Type 161 in its 1932 state with enlarged rudder and finlets.
The Vickers Type 161 was designed and built to Specification F.29/27, which called for a single-seat fighter capable of carrying a 37mm COW gun and able to overtake, in the shortest possible time, an enemy passing overhead at 20,000ft (6,100m) at 150 m.p.h. (240km/h). Here the Type 161 is seen under construction, with a dummy gun protruding from the distinctive egg-shapped nacelle.
The Type 161 as modified for service trials, with added fin area. The configuration appeared to be an archaic throw-back to Vickers World War 1 fighters.
Vickers Type 161 in final form.