В декабре 1915 г. главный конструктор компании "Виккерс" Гарольд Бэрнуэлл доработал F.B.5, уменьшив размах крыльев и убрав противокапотажную лыжу. Одновременно была подвергнута модернизации стрелковая установка - вместо шкворня использовали турель. Новый самолет получил обозначение F.B.9 и строился на двух заводах компании "Виккерс" в метрополии и по лицензии на одном из французских предприятий. Этими аппаратами были вооружены пять эскадрилий из состава британского Экспедиционного корпуса во Франции и несколько эскадрилий французских ВВС. Во второй половине войны самолеты применялись в основном в учебных подразделениях, так как были устойчивы в воздухе и просты в управлении. Некоторые учебно-тренировочные самолеты имели двойное управление. Широко использовались F.B.9 в школах воздушных стрелков, где оснащались турелью Скарфа. На фронт было поставлено около 100 машин.
В 1915-1916 гг. самолеты F.B.5 и F.B.9, наряду с другими британскими летательными аппаратами с толкающим воздушным винтом - D.H.2, F.E.2B и F.E.8 - выдержали самые трудные для авиации Антанты бои. Особенно тяжелой стала битва на Сомме, где немцы имели значительное превосходство в воздухе.
1 подвижный 7,7-мм "Льюис" на шкворневой или турельной установке в передней кабине, несколько мелких бомб.
ЛЕТНО-ТЕХНИЧЕСКИЕ ХАРАКТЕРИСТИКИ (ВИККЕРС FB.9)
Размах, м 10,3
Длина, м 8,5
Площадь крыла, кв.м 31,6
Сухой вес, кг 467
Взлетный вес, кг 858
мощность, л. с. 100
Скорость максимальная, км/ч 133
Время набора высоты, м/мин 2000/19
Потолок, м 3350
Экипаж, чел. 2
C.Andrews Vickers Aircraft since 1908 (Putnam)
Last of the line to be made was the F.B.9, which was sufficiently sophisticated to be known as the Streamline Gunbus. A lot of cleaning up had had to be done, the wing tips and tailplane were neatly rounded off, the nacelle was of much better aerodynamic form and the older skid undercarriage (which incidentally had proved very useful on the early primitive landing grounds in France) was replaced by a V type. Streamlined, adjustable Rafwires (External bracing wires invented by the Royal Aircraft Factory. They were rolled, on specially designed machines, from round swaged steel rods to an oval streamline section to reduce drag) had replaced the stranded steel cables and turnbuckles of the earlier machines. Between June 1916 and September 1917, 95 F.B.9s were built and used mostly for training duties at home, as by then the much more powerful F.E.2d with a 250 hp Rolls-Royce Eagle I was available for overseas as a pusher fighter-bomber. One F.B.9 was especially modified as a trench-strafer with an armour-plated nacelle and an oleo undercarriage.
Some F.B.9s were used in the Battle of the Somme which started on 1 July, 1916. From the personal notebook of 2nd Lt Lionel Morris of No.l1 Squadron, RFC, it is learned that he and Lt Torre of the same squadron were detailed to collect 'Streamlined Gunbuses' from Villacoublay aerodrome near Paris on 25 June, 1916, as stand-ins for the Squadron's F.E.2bs fitted with the 160 hp Beardmore engine. This engine, which was a more powerful version of the 120 hp standard Beardmore, was giving continual trouble, leading to serious break-up of internal components, just at a time when every aeroplane was needed for the first major offensive of the Allies. It is probable therefore that French-built or French-assembled F.B.9s were used at that time by other RFC squadrons primarily equipped with the higher-powered Beardmore F.E.2bs.
In France, S. A. Darracq of Suresnes in fact made 99 F.B.5s and F.B.9s under licence, but an intention for Vickers' Italian subsidiary, Vickers-Terni, to manufacture the type fell through for political reasons. A further development, the F.B.10, was projected with the Italian 100 hp Isotta-Fraschini engine, but was not proceeded with, as Vickers designers were otherwise engaged in evolving the variety of experimental aircraft as described in the next chapter. In any case, the Gunbus was being outclassed by more advanced designs of fighting aeroplanes.
Accommodation: Pilot and gunner
Engine: 100 hp Gnome monosoupape
Span: 33 ft 9 in
Length: 28 ft 5 1/2 in
Height: 11 ft 6 in
Wing Area: 340 sq ft
Empty Weight: 1,029 lb
Gross Weight: 1,820 lb
Max Speed: 82.6 mph at sea level
Service Ceiling:11,000 ft
Climb to: 10,000 ft in min
Range: 250 miles
Armament: One Lewis
H.King Armament of British Aircraft (Putnam)
The aircraft described by C. F. Andrews as the F.B.5A had an armour-plated nose, generally of the form shown in the Vickers diagrams reproduced. This same aeroplane is illustrated in an official publication as an F.B.9, and a drawing in this same publication shows a Vickers-Challenger ring-mounting with the arms of the gun frame slightly bowed.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1919
F.B.9. PUSHER BIPLANE.
Developed from the successful F.B.6 "Gun bus" that used a 100 hp Monosoupape Gnome engine and was employed as a fighter-scout from 1914-16. Pilot and gunner observer placed in tandem. Fitted with various rotary and fixed radial engines. Armament: Lewis gun on ring mounting-One of the best fighting machines of its time.
Model and date. 1914. Fighting type biplane.
Length feet (m.) 27 1/2 (8.23)
Span feet (m.) 37 (11.28)
Area sq. feet (m2) 385 (36)
Weight total, lbs (kgs.) 1760 (799)
useful, lbs (kgs.) 900 (408)
Motor h.p. 100 Monosoupape
Speed max. m.p.h. (km.) 70 (110)
min. m.p.h. (km.) 45 (70)
Endurance hrs 1 1/2 hours
Remarks, Notes and Details
Climbing capacity of 450 feet per minute fully loaded. Radius of action 300 miles, and carries (including pilot, passenger and gun,) 300 rounds of ammunition. Fuselage of high tensile steel.
This machine has been designed entirely for offensive action in the air against other aeroplanes. For this purpose the gun is mounted in the front of the machine where it has a clear field of fire. The firer has also a perfectly clear view, and is sheltered from all wind by the design of the cowl.
W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
VICKERS F.B.9 UK
Dubbed unofficially the Streamline Gunbus, the F.B.9, which emerged towards the end of 1915, introduced numerous refinements over its predecessor, the F.B.5. The fuselage nacelle was of improved aerodynamic form; the wings and tailplane sported rounded tips; streamlined Rafwires replaced stranded steel cables and turnbuckles for interplane bracing, and a plain, Vee-type undercarriage supplanted the twin skids previously used. The standard power plant remained the 100 hp Gnome Monosoupape rotary. Vickers built a total of 95 F.B.9s, and a further 20-30 were built by Darracq in France, some of which were issued to the RFC (No 11 Sqn) and were used during the Battle of the Somme which began on 1 July 1916. The manufacture of the F.B.9 in Italy by Vickers-Terni fell through owing to political reasons. A version designated F.B.10 powered by an Isotta-Fraschini engine was proposed but not built. Outclassed by more advanced fighting aeroplanes, the F.B.9s saw only brief first-line service, the great majority being assigned tuitional tasks on delivery to the RFC, for which some were retrofitted with dual controls. For gunnery training, some F.B.9s were fitted with a Scarff ring on the front cockpit, but none remained on charge at the time of the Armistice.
Max speed, 83 mph (134 km/h) at sea level, 75 mph (121 km/h) at 6,500 ft (1980 m).
Time to 6,500 ft (1 980 m), 19 min.
Service ceiling, 11,000 ft (3 355 m).
Endurance, 4.5 hrs.
Empty weight. 1,029 lb (467 kg).
Loaded weight. 1,892 lb (858 kg).
Span, 33 ft 9 in (10,29 m).
Length, 28 ft 5 1/2 in (8,67m).
Height, 11 ft 6 in (3.50 m).
Wing area, 340 sq ft (31.59 m2).
Flight, June 12, 1919.
THE VICKERS MACHINES
The F.B. 9. (Dec, 1915)
In December, 1915, a modified "Gun-'bus" was produced. It was effectually the same machine as the F.B. 5, but fitted with minor improvements such as streamline wires, Vee undercarriage, and an improved gun mounting; the speed was also substantially increased. This machine was known as the F.B. 9.