Bristol Beaufighter TF.X
Fighter - Torpedo - Bomber
© Richard Vernon
Bristol Beauifighter VIF # L WM (MM850) from 68 Sqn, RAF
Bristol Beaufighter VI: As Mk I with 1,670 hp Hercules VI engines and progressively-introduced improvements including dihedral on tailplane, underwing bomb-racks, AI Mk VIII radar in 'thimble' nose (in Mk VIF) and bellows-operated dive brakes (in Mk VIC). First Bristol Beaufighter with Hercules VI engines flown early 1941; deliveries of Mk VIF early 1942 and thereafter operational in fighter role in UK, Europe, North Africa and Burma. Also equipped four USAAF night fighter squadrons in North Africa, and 63 supplied to RAAF for operation in Pacific area. Production totals, 669 Mk VIF at Filton, 175 Mk VIC by Fairey at Stockport, 260 Mk VIF and 518 Mk VIC at Weston-super-Mare and 150 Mk VIF by Rootes at Stoke-on-Trent.
Max speed, 333 mph (536 km/h) at 15,600 ft (4,755 m). Max cruise, 276 mph (444 kmlh) at 15,000 ft (4,575 m). Range, 1,480 mis (2,381 km) at 243 mph (391 kmlh) at 15,000 ft (4,575 m). Empty weight, 14,600 Ib (6,628 kg). Gross weight, 21,600 Ib (9,806 kg).
Bristol Beaufighter VI (ITF): Mk VIC adapted as torpedo-carrier for Coastal Command service, following prototype trials April/May 1942. One British 18-in (,-16-cm) or US 22.5-in (57-cm) torpedo externally under fuselage; otherwise as standard Mk VIC with Hercules Vis. Sixty built at Weston, entered service with No 254 Sqn early 1943.
Bristol Beaufighter VII: Proposed production of Bristol Beaufighter VIC in Australia by DAP at Fishermen's Bend, with Hercules 26 engines.
Bristol Beaufighter VIII: Proposed Australian production version with GR-2600-A5B Cyclone engines.
Bristol Beaufighter IX: Similar to Bristol Beaufighter VIII proposal.
Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk X: Similar to Bristol Beaufighter VI (ITF), with Hercules XVII engines for improved low altitude performance. One 0.303-in Browning or Vickers 'K' gun in observer's cupola for rear defence; AI Mk VIII in 'thimble' nose, long dorsal fin, enlarged tailplane, increased ammunition load for nose cannon, provision for third crewman behind pilot to assist in aiming torpedo and provision for underwing rocket projectiles and/or 1,000-lb (454-kg) bombs, and for two 500-lb (227-kg) bombs under fuselage in lieu of torpedo. Operational from early 1944 with Bristol Beaufighter Strike Wings in Coastal Command, including RAF, RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF units operating from UK bases and in Mediterranean area, including two SAAF units as part of Balkan Air Force. Production totals, 2,095 built at Weston and 110 by Rootes at Stoke-on-Trent, including 62 supplied to RAAF.
Max speed, 303 mph (488 km/h) at 1,300 ft (396 m). Max cruise, 249 mph (401 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,525 m). Range, 1,470 mis (2,365 km) at 205 mph (330 km/h) at 5,000ft (1,525 m). Service ceiling, 15,000 ft (4,575 m). Empty weight, 15,600 Ib (7,082 kg). Gross weight, 25,200 Ib (11,440 kg).
Bristol Beaufighter XIC: Similar to TF Mk X, but no provision to carry torpedo. Production total, 163 by Weston factory, of which 20 supplied to RAAF.
Bristol Beaufighter XII: Projected variant with Hercules 27 engines and 1,000-lb bomb under each wing.
Bristol Beaufighter 21: Australian production version similar to British Mk XIC, with Hercules XVIIIs, Sperry autopilot, four 20-mm nose cannon and four 0.50-in (12.7-mm) guns in the wings, provision for two 250-lb (113-kg) bombs and eight 60-lb (27-kg) rocket projectiles under wings. No dorsal fin and no nose radar. Produced by Government Aircraft Factory at Fishermen's Bend. First flown May 26, 1944, and 365 built for RAAF up to end-1945 (of which one not delivered). Equipped five RAAF squadrons operational against Japanese targets in Pacific area.
|Wing span, m
|Wing area, m2
|2 X PE Hercules
|Maximum speed, km/h
|Initial rate of climb, m/s
|Service ceiling, m
|Service range, km
|Underwing bombs, kg
||Machine guns, 7.69-mm
- "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
- "American warplanes of World War II" /under cor. David Donald/
- "50 best fighters of World War II" /Gennadiy Kornukhin/