If you haven’t caught up with the latest Forgotten Naval Prototypes article on Global Maritime History yet, the link is here. This post covers the series of Vickers aircraft derived from the Type 123 which vied for Specification 21/26 for a replacement for the long-serving Fairey Flycatcher. The Vickers entries demonstrate the interesting cross-pollination of fighter designs between competitions for RAF and Fleet Air Arm fighters that took place in the second half of the 1920s. The ongoing dispute over whether an air-cooled radial or liquid-cooled in-line engine offered the best mix of performance, reliability and practicality was also demonstrated in the decision of Vickers to switch from the latter to the former (while others, such as Hawker and Fairey went the other way).
The long-running competition to secure an aircraft that met the terms of 21/26 and was acceptable to the Admiralty is a fascinating and labyrinthine tale, the full story of which has never really been told in one place. Keep an eye out for another part of the story in the February edition of Aeroplane when Matthew Willis will take an in-depth look at that competition’s winner – the Hawker Nimrod.
The full list of ‘Forgotten Prototype’ blogs:
Part 1: Blackburn Blackburd
Part 2: Hawker Hedgehog
Part 3: Blackburn Ripon Mk I
Part 4: Fairey Flycatcher II
Part 5: Vickers 123/141/177
Part 6: Gloster Gnatsnapper