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Beaufort, British Torpedo Bomber


Photograph of Beaufort torpedo bomber

Wikipedia Commons


Bristol Beaufort VIII


Specifications:


Crew 4
Dimensions 57’10” by 44’2” by 14’3”
17.63m by 13.46m by 4.34m
Weights 14,070-22,500 lbs
6380-10,200 kg
Maximum speed       268 mph (431 km/h) clean
225 mph (362 km/h) with torpedo
Service Ceiling 25,000 feet
7600 m
Power plant
Two 1200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4G Twin Wasp 14-cylinder two-row radial engines, build under license by CAC, driving three-bladed propellers
Armament Two 0.50 Browning machine guns in dorsal turret
Four 0.50 Browning machine guns in the wings
Two 0.50 Browning machine guns in the nose
Bomb load one 18” torpedo or 2000lbs (910 kg) of bombs
Range  Normal 1060 miles (1710 km)
Maximum 1450 miles (2330 km)
Sensors
ASV Mark II radar
Production A total of 2080, including 700 built in Australia for the Pacific theater between August 1941 and August 1944. Of these 520 were the Mark VIII.
Variants

Those Beauforts build in Britain used two 1130 hp (843 kW) Bristol Taurus VI 14-cylinder sleeve-valve radial engines.

Defensive armament varied widely.

The Mark VIII was the only model used extensively in the Pacific.


The Bristol Beaufort was a development of the Blenheim intended for use as a torpedo bomber in the Far East. The prototype flew on 15 October 1938 and production began shortly thereafter. Much of the early production was reallocated to Coastal Command due to the failure of the Blackburn Botha, where it was commonly employed as a horizontal bomber or minelayer.  The Beaufort got off to a rocky start due to the unreliability of the Taurus, the entire fleet being grounded for two months at one point.

The Beauforts used in the Southwest Pacific were built in Australia using the most readily available engine, the Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp, which was built under license by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation. The airframes themselves were produced by the Department of Aircraft Production. They were just coming into production when war broke out in the Pacific, and a few had already been delivered to Singapore.

Beauforts played a crucial role in several actions, sinking a sizeable tonnage of enemy ships.

References

Gunston (1986)

Wilson (1998)



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