a British company known for making military equipment, especially weapons and aircraft. Among the best known are the Vickers-Maxim machine-gun, the Spitfire and Wellington planes, the Challenger tank and the Trident submarine. After the Second World War the company split into different parts. The branches that built ships and aircraft became nationalized industries and then formed part of the private company BAE Systems. The branch building military vehicles continued to operate as an independent company until 2002, when it was bought by Alvis and changed its name to Alvis Vickers.