BRITISH BEHEMOTH

THE VICKERS PV

Recently unearthed files reveal Vickers’ ambitious plan for one of the largest aircraft ever designed in Britain. Ed Webster examines the rationale behind this super-heavyweight from the mind of Barnes Wallis

Giants in the sky: an artist's impression of three Vickers PVs carrying the equivalents of three Wellington Squadron's bombloads
ALL IMAGES VIA AUTHOR UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED

“ The PV was to be three times the width of any British bomber in service, twice as long and with a payload greater than an entire squadron”

The Vickers PV would be a marvellous aspiration today, let alone at a time when the RAF was yet to fly its first four-engined ‘heavy’. A true gargantuan, the PV was envisaged as being three times the width of any British bomber in service, twice as long and with a payload greater than an entire squadron. Furthermore, the super-heavyweight bomber was designed to not only reach any target in Europe, but to deal with emergent threats from the Soviet Union. It may sound like a jet-propelled Cold War titan, but, incredibly, silver pen was put to blue paper in 1936.

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