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Mystery of the Vickers Type 153

Stargazer2006

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Forum member Schneiderman recently brought to our attention the existence of a set of blueprints of Vickers types dating from the 1920s.

Among these, two totally different projects carried the Type 153 designation.

Not quite. Actually there was a third one! Here are three very different aircraft that seem to have all fallen under the Type 153 slot. In other cases, the design alterations resulted in modifications that still made the original type recognizable... but NOT HERE!

Here are Drawing Sheets #15347 (Vickers Scout — Jupiter), 15364 (Vickers Viastra Passenger Aircraft — Jupiter XI F Engines) and 15396 (Vickers General Purpose, Bombing & Torpedo-Carrying Monoplane — RR Kestrel III Engine)... A single-engine biplane, a high-wing airliner and a low-wing military aircraft... makes you wonder if perhaps other totally different designs also came under that type number too!

I have no clue as to why the same number would have been used for such different projects, but I thought it would be interesting to share them here.
 

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hesham

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Many thanks to you my dears Schneiderman and Skyblazer,


and for the second drawing (transport) is familiar to me.
 

Schneiderman

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Interesting indeed, not least because they have quite different numbers, the ones that follow the Type 153; 47, 64 and 96.
When Supermarine used Type 178 as a 'dump' for a large number of concepts, work-in-progress and variations that did not warrant their own individual Type numbers they numbered them sequentially; 17800, 17801, 17802 and so on. Either Vickers used a different numbering system or there are many more projects to be found with the Type 153 designation. But more than 96 does seem highly unlikely.
 

Schneiderman

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hesham said:
Many thanks to you my dears Schneiderman and Skyblazer,


and for the second drawing (transport) is familiar to me.

The name may be familiar but the design is very different from the aircraft Vickers built. This design features a slightly shorter fuselage and a tapered (Wibault) wing. Almost certainly one of the early designs for the Viastra before they finalised the 3-engine Type 160 Viastra I and 2-engine Type 198 Viastra II
 

hesham

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My dear Skyblazer,


I think the Type-153 is wrong and for the first aircraft,it was Vickers Type-143,and the
third type was Vickers G4/31 exactly.
 

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Stargazer2006

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hesham said:
I think the Type-153 is wrong

You are saying in essence that Vickers didn't know what they were doing when they numbered their own plans!!

Despite the resemblance between these and other type numbers, I think it's pretty obvious that the number #153 was associated with all three plans here. The Vickers numbering system for plans has also been confirmed by Schneiderman, who had access to many such plans in his research before.

Now of course I have no idea why such different projects would fall under the same number, and it is also possible that the types later received a new number when developed further, but the fact remains that these three plans indicate unequivocally that all three designs were developed under Type 153.
 

Stargazer2006

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hesham said:
the third type was Vickers G4/31 exactly.

I do agree with you, though, that the 153-96 type shown is a much later design and similar to the G.4/31E monoplane proposal (Type 246).

Likewise the 153-64 is exactly the same as the Type 198 Viastra II.

This adds some credence to the notion that the "153" slot may have been reserved for a variety of projects until they obtained a proper, separate number.
 

Schneiderman

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From the limited information we have it appears that the Vickers projects in Type 153 and Supermarine projects in Type 178 cover roughly the same date range - 1929-31. It looks plausible that both Types were used to hold possible new projects during the period when Vickers were reorganising their business and integrating Supermarine.
153-64 looks like an early layout for the Type 198 Viastra II, the wings are quite different
153-96 (I bought this blueprint) is curious and I am attempting to find out more. It was configured the meet spec G.4/31 but the design style is quite unlike any other known Vickers project at this time and nothing like their final tender to the Air Ministry. When you think what other projects were being run through the Vickers wind tunnel at this time there is one that may have had a significant influence on 153-96.......would you like to suggest what that could have been? ;)
 

hesham

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My dears Skyblazer and Schneiderman,


that's not Type 153,it is 15000 series for Drawings and not Types,and Vickers used both
of those systems to submit a proposals for a real aircraft or projects.


For examples,the Drawing 8000s used in the year 1922,Drawing 9000s used in the year
1923,also Drawing 11000s used in 1925,and in ebay,we found the Drawing 12000s used
for the year 1926,here;
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,23861.0.html


For the third drawing,I am sure it was Vickers G4/31,and the source is the book;
The British Aircraft Specifications File,resemble the drawing exactly.
 

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Schneiderman

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Hesham,

What is not Type 153?

I disagree that Vickers used two drawing number systems in parallel, there is no evidence for that. The link you post is to a drawing of Type 123, subdivision 00 just means that bit is a general layout drawing. This aircraft is covered in the Vickers Aircraft since 1908 Putnam volume

Yes of course Type 15396 is to spec. G4/31, it says that on the drawing. The picture you post is clearly yet another version; the engine is a radial. Of course the illustrations in the Air-Britain book are all of unbuilt projects, not actual aircraft. The aircraft Vickers actually built for G4/31 were a biplane (Type 253) and the monoplane Wellesley prototype (Type 246), two more completely different designs.
 

hesham

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My dear Schneiderman,


I didn't say they used two drawing number systems,but used a Type numbers beside Drawing
numbers,and the source is the book as I mentioned,and for examples;


Drawing No.8052 was for Spec. 40/22
,, No.8054 ,, ,, ,, 41/22
,, No.9047 ,, ,, ,, 10/23
,, No.11082/1 was for Spec. 23/25
 

Schneiderman

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Hesham,

Those are just Type 80, Type 90 and Type 110. Vickers drawing numbers always start with the Type number.
 

lark

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Mayby this helps...

From the "Vickers Aircraft since 1908" CF Andrews-EB Morgan /Putnam 1988
Chapter : Vickers Types 1920-1963: Type 246 : G4/31 monoplane (Pegasus IIIM3)
Type 253 : G4/31 biplane (Pegasus IIM3)

page 497. no drawing numbers. both planes constructed as prototype .

but there is more..
from page 295 :
Vickers wrote up project designs data arround three separate paper aircraft. (November 1931 to spec.G.4/31)
The first was a low wing monoplane with open cockpits and trousered fixed undercarriage
and a Pegasus IM3 engine mounted in a pointed streamlined nose.
The second wa a similar monoplane but with Rolls Royce Kestrel IIIMS water-cooled engine
mounted in a pointed nose with underslung radiator.
And the third was for a wide-span Pegasus engined biplane ,reminiscent of the earlier Vespa, and again with
a trousered undercarriage.
 

Stargazer2006

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lark said:
From the "Vickers Aircraft since 1908" CF Andrews-EB Morgan /Putnam 1988

Coincidentally I was also going through the same book earlier today and came across a sentence on page 500 that pretty much says the same as Schneiderman:

Type numbers omitted from the list which follows are accounted for by those allocated to miscellaneous drawings for alternative projects, major components, etc.; those allocated to the Supermarine division (after 1928); those reserved for guided weapons (not dealt with in this book), and projects subject to military or commercial security.
 

hesham

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My dears and my friends,


now I must confess,that system was very strange,only a few companies did this,but it's
a fact.
 

Jemiba

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Was asked to redraw the third plan here http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,22995.msg233722.html#msg233722
Did my best, but still a lot of inscriptions are missing, as they aren't shown in that
photo, or simply cannot be read. It would be great, if someone could help me out.
Based on that plan, I made a "standard" drawing and something more colourful, although
with hindsight I don't know, if a torpedo really fits that RAF scheme. :-\
I've tried to dewarp the plan and checked it against the one shown here http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,14339.msg142292.html#msg142292,
but doubts remain, of course.
 

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Schneiderman

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Sorry, my bad English sense of humour. It was I who bought the drawing and will get around to scanning it in a few weeks once I've completed the illustrations for my forthcoming book.
 

Stargazer2006

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Schneiderman said:
Sorry, my bad English sense of humour. It was I who bought the drawing and will get around to scanning it in a few weeks once I've completed the illustrations for my forthcoming book.

Ha ha! I had a hunch it might be you but wasn't too sure... Glad you did, this rare material has landed into able hands that will take good care of it.
 

Jemiba

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Schneiderman said:
Now, if only we knew who had bought the original drawings ;D
...
Schneiderman said:
.. for my forthcoming book.

Something to look forward to, without doubt ! ;)
 

Hood

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Very nice work Jemiba.

I agree regarding the colour scheme. I think in this period overall olive-drab (NIVO) was reserved for night-bombers and used for the prototype Boulton Paul P.31 Bittern night-fighter.
I think Vildebeests were all-silver until the late 1930s.
 

Schneiderman

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Here is the blueprint for the Vickers Type 153 (96 sheet 9) to G.4/31. I've corrected for lens distortion and merged several shots and it seems to be OK. A sketch of the radial engine version of this design was posted by Hesham earlier.

This was a large aircraft, about the same dimensions as the Wellesley, and with just a single Kestrel III it would seem to be a little under-powered. The wing design is not like that of any other Vickers monoplane, neither the Wibault parallel chord type nor Wallis' geodetic style, and seems to have a single spar. The curved shape shown in the front view under the nose may indicate either the location of the radiator or a bomb-aimers window.There is no sign of a radiator in the side view so it was either retractable or they were considering evaporative cooling, very much in favour at the time. Work on this project was underway at the same time as Supermarine were designing the Type 224 to F.7/30 for which a number of alternative layouts were tested in Vickers' wind-tunne.l The bomber may well have been influenced by this work as it shows some stylistic similarity to early work on the 224.

If it had entered service I would have expected it to be painted in the standard camouflage of the late 1930s, dark earth/dark green/sky or night.
 

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Schneiderman

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TSR, Type 217 to spec. S.9/30, is not described in the Putnam, Vickers Aircraft since 1908 and I can find no details. It would have sat right between the proto-geodetic Type 207 to M.1/30 and the geodetic biplane Type 253 to G.4/31 so is likely to have had a similar structure.
 

Jemiba

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Many thanks for sharing it !
I was puzzling about the radiator, too, and came to the same conclusion. For a bomb
aimers window, I think it's too far forward (derived from the vertical distance to the
prop), but as I noticed, such general arrangement drawing often are leaving precision
to be desired.
The paint scheme of the Wellesley actually was the one, that I've adopted as pattern,
as both may have been used in a similar way, apart rom the carriage of torpedoes.
But the latter probably would have been hard for the Wellesley with its underwing
bomb containers either.
 

Schneiderman

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Yes, you are quite right, it cannot be a window as it would be immediately below the rear of the engine and oil cooler
 

Stargazer2006

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Beautiful! Quite possibly the most handsome submission to the G.4/31 tender. Thanks a lot for the reconstruction, Schneiderman, and for sharing it.
 

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Mhmmm i can only "speculate" about technical data of Vickers TSR , for armament i can see two guns + one on defensive position + torpedo ! ::)
 

Jemiba

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About the gun in the nose, we can be certain, I think. With the rear gun, of course,
we somehow enter the field of speculation, as it isn't shown. But was there a similar
aircraft without ?
The torpedo is mentioned in the drawings title and its position is quite clear. Wasn't that
sure about a bombload. Under the fuselage or under the wings ?
 

Schneiderman

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OK, I assume that we are discussing the G.4/31 aircraft and not the TSR.
The armament and load was as detailed in the specification. This was truly a General Purpose aircraft to undertake three roles: An army cooperation/reconnaissance/aerial photography/casualty evacuation aircraft for the Middle East and India. A day and night bomber to operate from unprepared airfields, provision for dive bombing. A land-based torpedo bomber for Aden, Persian Gulf and Singapore.
For the first the total load was 1653lb including "Desert Equipment". Provision to be made to fit floats
For the second the bomb load was 4 x 112lb, or 4 x 250lb, or 2 x 450lb, or 2 x 500lb, or 1 x 1000lb or 1 x 1500lb
For the third, 1 x 1870lb "K" type, or 1 x 1420lb MkVIII, or 1 x 1460lb Mk X.
One fixed Vickers in the nose and one on a mobile mount for the rear gunner.
So, all things to all men, and a recipe for a mediocre aircraft.
Looking at the single spar wing of the monoplane and the odd rectangle drawn on the wing outboard of the undercarriage I guess it is possible that the bomb load could have been carried internally.
 

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