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 Vickers Vimy 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 and Vanguard turboprop
airliners, and the stylish though noisy VC-10 jet airliner. 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 refuelling 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
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