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Vickers Type 279 Venom

The Vickers Type 279 Venom was a British low-wing monoplane single-seat, single-engine, eight-gun fighter, powered by a radial engine.

It was fast and manoeuvrable, its engine lacked the power and development potential of a Rolls-Royce Merlin, it and other designs built to the same specification which included the Bristol Type 146, Gloster F.5/34, and Martin-Baker MB 2, were all passed over, and only one Venom was built.

The Vickers Venom was designed to meet Air Ministry specification F.5/34 which called for a single-seat eight-gun aircraft with the high maximum speed and rate of climb needed to catch 200 mph (320 km/h) bombers flying at 15,000 ft (4,600 m).

Submissions were expected to use a radial engine for good performance in the tropics.

Vickers based their entrant on their earlier Type 151 Jockey fighter, using the same wing and tail air foil sections and dimensions but replacing the Wibault-Vickers ribbed construction of the Jockey with a more modern smooth stressed-skin structure.

The Venom (originally known as the Jockey Mk II) was a low-wing monoplane, with square-tipped constant chord wings and tailplane.

The fin, too, was square tipped but the rather angular appearance did not extend to the fuselage, whose circular cross section tapered rearwards from the engine’s long chord cowling back to the tail.

The pilot sat over the wing in a Perspex-enclosed cockpit, which had additional windows in the fuselage to enhance the side and downwards view.

The inverted U-shaped fairing behind the cockpit extended back to the base of the fin.

The fuselage was an alloy-skinned monocoque structure of polygonal section, and the thicker plates of the wings were also stressed, taking the drag loads.

The wings carried flaps that could extend to 90° and there was a wide track, inward-retracting main undercarriage as well as a small, fixed tailwheel.

Flaps and undercarriage were electrically operated.

The RAF 34 wing section provided sufficient depth for the installation of the required eight Browning machine guns.

The Venom was powered by a 625 hp (466 kW) Bristol Aquila AE-3S sleeve valve radial engine, hinge-mounted so it could be swung sideways for easy maintenance.

The Aquila drove a three-bladed propeller. Joseph “Mutt” Summers flew the Venom on its first flight on 17 June 1936.

Unlike the Hurricane and Spitfire, the Venom was fitted with its full armament from its first flight.





24 ft 2 in (7.37 m)


32 ft 9 in (9.98 m)


10 ft 9 in (3.28 m)

Wing area

146 sq ft (13.6 m2)

Gross weight

4,156 lb (1,885 kg)


1 × Bristol Aquila AE-3S,

9-cylinder sleeve valve radial,

625 hp (466 kW)


Maximum speed

312 mph (502 km/h, 271 kn) at 16,500 ft (5,000 m)

Service ceiling

32,000 ft (9,800 m)

Rate of climb

3,000 ft/min (15 m/s)


8 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns.



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