The British Vickers
corporation is primarily a manufacturer of military equipment. It produced one of the first aircraft
designed from the beginning to carry a machine gun
, the Vickers Gunbus. It also built the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean
non-stop, a converted World War I RAF
bomber. It was a pioneer in producing airliners
, early examples being converted from Vimy bombers, and went on to manufacture the piston-engined Viking and Varsity, the Viscount
turboprop airliners, and the stylish though noisy VC-10
. The Valiant V bomber
was another Vickers design. The corporation is currently focused on military vehicles and weapons. The VC-10 remains in RAF service as a troop transporter and aerial refueling tanker
. The plane-building parts of Vickers were absorbed into the British Aircraft Corporation
during the production of that type.
In recent years the main product of Vickers has been the Challenger II tank.
Vickers was acquired by Rolls-Royce plc in 1999 for £576m.
In 2002 Vickers was bought by Alvis plc, and is now a subsidiary - Alvis Vickers Ltd.