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  • Vickers Type 432 High-Altitude Heavy Fighter Prototype


    The single-seat, twin-engined Type 432 heavy fighter of World War 2 marked the last notable foray for the Vickers company into military fighter development.

     Updated: 6/15/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    Since 1911, the Vickers concern of Britain delivered aircraft for military and civilian market use. The company became more focused on larger bomber projects in the years following World War 1 (1914-1918) and this commitment was ever more apparent during World War 2 (1939-1945) with the arrivals of the Vickers Wellington (11,461 produced) and the Vickers Warwick (842 produced). In the Cold War-era, the company went on to deliver the iconic Vickers "Valliant" as one-third of the "V-bomber" triumvirate (a nuclear-capable bomber trio that included the classic Avro "Vulcan" and Handley Page "Victor"). Company work into smaller fighter-class developments during World War 2 were few and far between though there was one development of note - the "Type 432" - that emerged as a contender for the high-altitude fighter role.

    Even before the start of the war in September of 1939, Vickers attempted to answer British Air Ministry Specification F.6/39 which called for a two-seat fighter platform capable of 400 mile per hour speeds. The timing was such that the company had already been working on a similar form with armment centered on a large caliber 40mm automatic cannon fitted to the nose. The cannon's mounting was designed to be slightly trainable for tactical flexibility and increased first-hit capability than simply pointing the aircraft to a target and shooting. The 40mm cannon offered single-hit destructive power against most any aerial threat of the period. To help sell the idea further, Vickers engineers drew up varying designs of the concept including a version with fixed cannon armament.

    The Air Ministry showed enough interest in the fixed armament version that Specification F.22/39 of 1939 was created and two prototypes ordered as "Type 414". Their layout would be conventional in that a centralized fuselage would be used to house the multi-person crew and many of the major onboard systems. The tail used a twin-finned unit and the wing mainplanes were elliptical in their general shape - reminiscent of the classic Supermarine Spitfire fighter. The cockpit held its piloting crew in a side-by side arrangement similar to that as seen in the competing twin-engined de Havilland Mosquito heavy fighter. The 40mm cannon's barrel protruded a considerable distance from the point of the nose. The twin-engine arrangement fitted each powerplant into streamlined nacelles running well-ahead of the wing leading edges and cancelling at the respective trailing edges. A tail-dragger wheeled undercarriage would have been used.


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    Vickers Type 432 Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1942
    Type: High-Altitude Heavy Fighter Prototype
    National Origin: United Kingdom
    Manufacturer(s): Vickers-Armstrong - UK
    Production Total: 1



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 39.37 feet (12 meters)
    Width: 56.92 feet (17.35 meters)
    Height: 13.78 feet (4.20 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 16,380 lb (7,430 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 20,172 lb (9,150 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 2 x Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 inline piston engines developing 1,520 horsepower each.

    Maximum Speed: 382 mph (615 kph; 332 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,501 miles (2,415 km)
    Service Ceiling: 37,008 feet (11,280 meters; 7.01 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 2,750 feet-per-minute (838 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    PROPOSED STANDARD:
    6 x 20mm Hispano cannons in ventral gun mounting.

    Global Operators / Customers


    United Kingdom (cancelled)

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    Type 432 - Base Project Model Designation; single example completed.