STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Vickers Limited - UK
OPERATORS: Bolivia; Ireland; United Kingdom (evaluated)
LENGTH: 32.97 feet (10.05 meters)
WIDTH: 50.03 feet (15.25 meters)
HEIGHT: 10.50 feet (3.2 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 2,888 pounds (1,310 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 4,409 pounds (2,000 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar VIC 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 490 horsepower.
SPEED (MAX): 140 miles-per-hour (225 kilometers-per-hour; 121 knots)
RANGE: 581 miles (935 kilometers; 505 nautical miles)
CEILING: 25,919 feet (7,900 meters; 4.91 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 935 feet-per-minute (285 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Vickers Vespa Army Co-Operation Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 3/19/2019.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Vickers "Vespa" biplane aircraft served from 1928 until 1940 and was intended for the "Army Cooperation" role. It was of British origin but primarily operated by the Irish Air Corps and the Bolivian Air Force (the Royal Air Force passed on this Vickers product). Several notable variants emerged though total production numbered just 15 units. In Bolivian service, they fought during the "Chaco War" (1932-1935).
Army Cooperation aircraft are lightweight designs intended for lightweight roles such as observation, artillery-spotting and liaison. They are reasonably powerful for their given role and intended for short-field / rough-field operation. Such aircraft are typically low-cost commitments and inherently rugged in their construction. The Vickers Vespa fit many of these qualities when it was first flown in 1925.
The Vespa emerged from Vickers Ltd by way of a private venture initiative targeting Specification 30/24 for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Specification 30/24 sought a two-seat reconnaissance-minded Army Cooperation platform and several other contenders were also in play for the contract- de Havilland arrived with their "Hyena" and Short Brothers pushed their "Chamois" (none of these saw adoption). "Vespa I" (company Type 113) marked the first available Vickers prototype and sported many characteristics of the period - biplane wing arrangement, open-air cockpit and fixed tail-dragger undercarriage. It was powered by a Bristol Jupiter IV series radial piston engine. Later, the Jupiter VI radial was installed.
Flying for the first time during September 1925, engine issues marred its evaluation with the RAF in June of 1926. After reconstruction of the damaged prototype (incorporating more modern attributes such as metal wings), the "Vespa II" (company Type 119) was born. While RAF authorities passed on the Vespa II, the aircraft was ordered by the Bolivian government as the "Vespa III" (company Type 149). This time, the product was an all-metal aircraft (fuselage included) and a Jupiter Vi engine of 455 horsepower output was fitted. Six of the mark were ordered and used in the Chaco Air War as long range bombers and reconnaissance platforms.
The Irish Air Corps took on a stock of four "Vespa IV" (company Type 193) aircraft in 1929 and these arrived with Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar VIC engines of 490 horsepower. Another four were ordered in 1930 as the "Vespa V" (company Type 208) and these differed by having a "Townend" ring set around the engine compartment (the ring was a tight cowling fitted over the exposed cylinders and used as an aerodynamic measure).
Beyond these military-minded marks, there existed the "Vespa VI" (company Type 210) for demonstration to the Chinese government (it was not adopted) and the "Vespa VII" (company Type 250) intended for high-altitude work (carrying a Bristol Pegasus S series engine). The Vespa VII was rebuilt from the Vespa VI Chinese demonstrator which, itself, was the a rebuilt version of the first Vespa prototype.
All Vespa aircraft were out of service - or reaching their useful existences - by the time of World War 2 (1939-1945).
Where applicable, the appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Russian Ministry of Defense, Chinese Ministry of Defense or British Ministry of Defence visual information does not imply or constitute endorsement of this website (www.MilitaryFactory.com). Images marked with "www.MilitaryFactory.com" or featuring the Military Factory logo are copyrighted works exclusive to this site and not for reuse in any form.
Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
This entry's maximum listed speed (140mph).
Graph average of 112.5 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Vickers Vespa's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units