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Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus)

Scout Biplane Aircraft

United Kingdom | 1915

"The Vickers type FB.5 armed biplane scount originally was unveiled through the Type 18 Destroyer at the London Aero Show in 1913."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) Scout Biplane Aircraft.
1 x Gnome Monosoupape 9-cylinder rotary engine developing 100 horsepower.
70 mph
113 kph | 61 kts
Max Speed
8,999 ft
2,743 m | 2 miles
Service Ceiling
249 miles
400 km | 216 nm
Operational Range
310 ft/min
94 m/min
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) Scout Biplane Aircraft.
27.2 ft
8.28 m
O/A Length
36.5 ft
(11.13 m)
O/A Width
11.5 ft
(3.51 m)
O/A Height
1,224 lb
(555 kg)
Empty Weight
2,050 lb
(930 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) Scout Biplane Aircraft .
1 OR 2 x 7.7mm machine gun(s) in front observer's cockpit
Notable series variants as part of the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus) family line.
Type 18 "Destroyer" - Design as debuted in the 1913 Aero Show in London.
EFB.1 "Experimental Fighting Biplane No. 1) - Redesignation of the Type 18 model.
FB.5 "Gunbus" - Production Model Designation
FB.9 - "Improved FB.5" model variant; tailplane and wingtips rounded; redesigned nose section.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/15/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

The FB.5 (also known as the "Gunbus") was of a biplane type design for the scouting role. What set the system apart from earlier examples was that this aircraft was the first scout type to be armed. In that way alone, one could argue that the FB.5 was aviations first "real" fighter aircraft. The design proved solid by 1913 standards and evolved from the showcase Type 18 "Destroyer" (later redesignated to EFB.1 "Experimental Fighting Biplane No. 1") to the FB.5 and FB.9 models.

The FB.5 was powered by a rotary pusher Monosoupape engine of 100 horsepower mounted to the rear of the nacelle. The system was crewed by two personnel seated in tandem though interestingly enough arranged with the pilot in the middle of the design and the observer to the front (later aircraft would be of traditional front engine design with the observer/rear gunner seat behind the pilot who, in turn, sat behind the front-mounted engine). Naturally this forward positioning of the observer was necessitated by the placement of the engine but it also afforded the individual a grand view of happenings to the front of the aircraft, not to mention a great field of fire for his single or twin machine guns. Armament generally consisted of a single 7.7mm drum-fed Lewis machine gun though a dual 7.7mm machine gun array was also reportedly used.

The FB.5 was fielded with the No.11 Squadron stationed in France in mid 1915, effectively making them the world's first true "fighter" squadron. The system displayed a fair amount of success and lasted long enough to be unseated by the ever-advancing hordes of German fighter aircraft. The FB.9 was an attempt to improve the FB.5 model series to a new standard and featured rounded wingtips and tailplane along with a more aerodynamic nose design. Production consisted of 309 examples of both FB.5 and FB.9 types being produced in the United Kingdom while 99 further types were produced in France under license.

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Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Vickers FB.5 (Gunbus). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 224 Units

Contractor(s): Vickers Limited - UK
National flag of Denmark National flag of France National flag of the United Kingdom

[ Denmark; France; United Kingdom ]
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Going Further...
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