Vickers Gunbus

While it did not remotely resemble the modern idea of a fighter aircraft, the Vickers F.B.5 Gunbus(F.B. stood lor Fighting Biplane) was nevertheless one of the first machines to be purpose-built for air-to-air combat. Initially ordered by the British Admiralty, the biplane eventually served with both the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
Viekcrs needed to find a way of mounting a forward-firing machine gun that avoided shooting off the aeroplane’s all-important propeller. Happily, they resolved this tricky conundrum by electing to use a pusher configuration. With the propeller safely tucked behind t he wings., the gunner, seated in front of the pilot in the nacelle, had a satisfactorily clear field of fire.
Armed with a single Lewis gun, the Vickers F.B.5 actually went into production before war broke out. It began arriving at the Front
in February 1915, and the lirst Gunbus squadron was formed the following July.
Although neither quick nor agile, the F.B.5 initially proved reasonably successful against German reconnaissance aircraft. By the end of 1915, however, the rapid progress of military aviation had rendered it obsolete.
The Gunbus was duly withdrawn from frontline units in mid-1916.