The Bristol Beaufort 

Great Britain
Great Britain

Sorry, No ID pictures yet

The British Air Ministry wanted to update their fleet to more modern aircraft urgently during the mid 1930's. As a result of one of those issued requirements Bristol came up with the Beaufort (type 152) after several revisions to their original proposal. Because of the request from the Ministry to be able to disperse production among a number of factories the production of the initial aircraft was delayed. When production did finally start it quickly reached peak production level because of this.
So much in a hurry was the Air Ministry that they ordered the aircraft right from the designs, without even a prototype being built. The first Beaufort flew in August 1938, it's design based on the Blenheim. Because there had never been any testflight before production started the first 5 aircraft to roll out of the factory were extensively tested, resulting in a number of changes right away. It entered operational service in January 1940.
The aircraft was mostly used by Coastal Command for recconaissance and torpedo bombing, but it performed a number of other tasks as well. Australia was the other country that used the Beaufort on a large scale, in their fight against the Japanese shipping.

Versions:

Further pictures:

Bristol Beaufort in full flight
Bristol Beaufort in full flight

 

Technical data on the Bristol Beaufort Mk I
Powerplant 2 × Bristol Mercury VIII radials, rated at 840 hp (626.21 kW) each Role during war
  • Torpedo Bomber
  • Anti-shipping Aircraft
  • Mine-layer
  • Reconnaissance Aircraft
Length 44 ft 2 inch Height 15 ft 10 inch
Empty weight 13100 lb Operational weight 21228 lb max
Wing Span 57 ft 10 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.42
Wing Area 451 sq ft Service ceiling 19700 ft
Maximum speed 270 mph at 10000 ft Cruising speed 257 mph at 10000 ft
Initial climb rate 1,450 ft per min at sea level,
Climb to 15,000 ft in 13 min 30 sec
Range 1035 miles typical,
1600 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 570 Imp gal (684 US gal), plus optional weapons bay tank of 138 Imp gal (166 US gal) Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
    2 × 0.303 inch trainable forward firing in the nose, 300 rounds each, or 2 × 0.303 inch fixed forward-firing in the wing, 300 rounds and 500 rounds port and starboard each in later aircraft
  • 2 × 0.303 inch trainable rearward-firing in the dorsal turret, 900 rounds each, or 950 rounds each in later aircraft
  • 2 × 0.303 inch trainable lateral-firing in the beam positions, 250 rounds each
  • 1 × 0.303 inch trainable rearward-firing in the undernose blister position, 600 rounds (some later aircraft)
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 2,000 lb in a lower fuselage weapons-bay, generally carrying 1 × 2,000 lb bomb, or 2 × 1,000 lb bombs, or 4 × 500 lb bombs, or 8 × 250 lb bombs Torpedoes/rockets In stead of bombload, optionally 1 × 1,605 lb (18 inch) torpedo
Crew 4: pilot, navigator/bombardier, radar/radio operator, gunner Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 15 October 1938 Operational Service January 1940 - 1947
Manufacturer Bristol Aeroplane Co. Ltd. Number produced 2129 total, 1014 this version
Metric system
Length 13.46 m Height 4.83 m
Empty weight 5942 kg Operational weight 9629 kg max
Wing Span 17.63 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.42
Wing Area 41.9 m² Service ceiling 6005 m
Maximum speed 435 km/h at 3048 m Cruising speed 414 km/h at 3048 m
Initial climb rate 442 m per min at sea level,
Climb to 4570 m in 13 min 30 sec
Range 1666 km typical,
2575 km max
Fuel capacity internal 2591 liters, plus optional weapons bay tank of 627 liters Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
    2 × 7.7 mm trainable forward-firing in the nose, 300 rounds each, or 2 × 7.7 mm fixed forward-firing in the wing, 300 rounds and 500 rounds port and starboard each in later aircraft
  • 2 × 7.7 mm trainable rearward-firing in the dorsal turret, 900 rounds each, or 950 rounds each in later aircraft
  • 2 × 7.7 mm trainable lateral-firing in the beam positions, 250 rounds each
  • 1 × 7.7 mm trainable rearward-firing in the undernose blister position, 600 rounds (some later aircraft)
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 907 kg in a lower fuselage weapons-bay, generally carrying 1 × 907 kg bomb, or 2 × 454 kg bombs, or 4 × 227 kg bombs, or 8 × 113 kg bombs Torpedoes/rockets In stead of bombload, optionally 1 × 728 kg (457 mm) torpedo

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Bristol Beaufort 
Bristol Beaufort Mk I Initial production model. This model saw a lot of changes due to the fact that test flights were performed after production had started. For further details see above.
Number built: 1014
Bristol Beaufort Mk II All the changes that the Mk I's saw were incorporated standard wise in this version. Similar in dimension it had the following differences with the Mk I: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4 G Twin Wasp rated at 1,200 hp (895 kW), flat bomb-aiming window in stead of curved, 2 (in stead of 1) fixed forward firing 0.303 inch (7.7 mm) machineguns, blister under the nose with a rearward firing Browning machinegun, improved dorsal turret with 2 Browning machineguns, the installation of the ASV Mk. II Air-to-surface radar, ommission of the Youngman trailing edges, retractable tailwheel, and improved airflow on some points of the aircraft.
Number built: 415
Bristol Beaufort Mk II(T) Trainers, fitted with dual flight controls, and stripped of other operational equipment. 12 Of these were delivered to the Turkish air force at the end of the war. An unknown number of Mk II's were never completed to be Mk. II, or were converted.
Number converted: unknown
DAP Beaufort Mk V In the light of the Japanese threat to South-east Asia, Great Britain and Australia made a deal to join their efforts in the defense of the Asian region. The Beaufort was idealy suited to be built in Australia due to its design specifically suited for (a lot of) subcontractors.
The Australians, fearing that the delivery of powerplants from Great Britain would be hampered by war, sought and found an alternative: the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4 G Twin Wasp (see Mk II). These were fully built by Australia, whereas former versions were partly British.
Number built: 50
DAP Beaufort Mk VI Same as Mk V, except for the powerplant (Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3 G) and propeller (Curtiss Electric)
Number built: 40
DAP Beaufort Mk VII Same as Mk V, except for the powerplant (Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3 G) and propeller (Hamilton Standard).
Number built: 60
DAP Beaufort Mk VA Same as Mk V, except for the propeller (Hamilton Standard).
Number built: 30
DAP Beaufort Mk VIII Basically a Mk V, but with a different propeller (Curtiss Electric), replacement of the 2 wingmounted machineguns to gimbal-mounted nose-guns, ASV Mk II radar, provisions for both British and American disposables (bombs and torpedoes), and the fitting of either the Bristol B.I Mk V dorsal turret with 2 x 0.303 inch (7.7 mm) guns or the Australian variant Bristol Mk. VE dorsal turret with 2 x 0.50 inch (12 mm) Browning guns.
Number built: 520
DAP Beaufort Mk IX Revised Mk VIII to passenger and/or freight transport without the turret, and changed fuselage.
Number converted: 46

Remarks:

After the beaufort saw action it became clear it couldn't fend off any German attacks. This limited the operational area of the Beaufort. It was totally phased out during 1944 by the RAF, being replaced by the more capable Beaufighter

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

 

© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/20/00