TYPE: High altitude interceptor fighter
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only
POWER PLANT: Two Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,520 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 440 mph at 28,000 ft
COMMENT: The possibility of Luftwaffe aircraft operating over the United Kingdom at altitudes beyond the capabilities of existing RAF fighters led the Air Ministry to the decision to call for a specialized high altitude interceptor according to specification F.16/40. Vickers tendered the Type 432, which at one time dubbed unofficially the “Mayfly” that flew for the first time in December 1942 some seven weeks after the competitive Westland P.14 Welkin. Embodying a pressurization system similar to that for the Wellington V and VI bombers, the Type 432 prototype had a relatively small, self-contained pressure cabin for the pilot whose head projected through a small, double-glazed dome or bubble which hinged to one side for better entrance and exit. Initial trials proved the Type 432 to be difficult to handle on the ground, although it processed an excellent performance once in the air, with a substantially higher maximum speed than that of the Welkin. Nevertheless, the Westland fighter was selected for production and flight trials with the sole Type 432 prototype continued until December 1944 when the machine was finally scrapped (Ref.: 12).