Aviation of World War II

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Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IF

Multipurpose Fighter - Bomber


Bristol Beaufighter

BRISTOL 156 BEAUFIGHTER - The Bristol Beaufighter was designed by L G Frise as a two-seat four-cannon long-range fighter using the wings, tail unit and landing gear of the Beaufort for speed of production. First of four prototypes, with Hercules I-SM radials, flown on July 17, 1939; second prototype had Hercules I-M, third had Hercules III and fourth had Hercules II.

Bristol Beaufighter I: First production contract placed July 1939, for 300 aircraft (including the four prototypes) with 1,400 hp Hercules Ills. First 50 armed with four 20-mm Hispano cannon in nose; subsequent aircraft also had six 0.303-in (7.7-mm) guns in wings; Hercules XI engines in last 120 Filton-built Mk Is. Deliveries to RAF began July 27, 1940, initial deliveries being to Nos 25, 29, 219, 600 and 604 Squadrons. Most fitted with AI Mk IV 'arrowhead' radar for night-fighting role in retrospective programme starting September 1940. During 1941, Bristol Beaufighter Is adopted for Coastal Command service with long-range fuel tanks in place of wing guns and revised crew arrangements; deliveries began to No 252 Sqn in March 1942. Coastal Command version subsequently designated Mk 1C and Fighter Command version Mk IF. Production totals, 272 Mk IF and 78 Mk 1C at Filton, 240 Mk IF by MAP caption Factory at Weston-super-Mare; 25 IF and 300 Mk 1C by Fairey at Stockport including 72 Mk 1C supplied to RAAF, of which one re-engined in Australia with 1,600 hp Wright GR-2600-A5B radials, and flown in August 1944. First operational with No 30 Sqn, RAAF, in September 1942.

Max speed, 306 mph (492 km/h) at sea level, 323 mph (520 km/h) at 15,000ft (4,575 m). Max cruise, 272 mph (437 km/h) at 15,000ft (4,575 m). Initial rate of climb, 1,850 ft/min (9.4 ml sec). Time to 20,000 ft (6,100 m), 14.1 min. Service ceiling, 26,500ft (8,077 m). Normal range, 1,170 mis (1,883 km) at 182 mph (293 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,525 m). Empty weight, 14,069 Ib (6,381 kg). Gross weight, 21,100 (9,435 kg). Span, 57 ft 10 in (17.63 m). Length, 41 ft 4 in (12.60 m). Wing area, 503 sqft (46.73 m2).

Bristol Beaufighter II: As Mk IF with 1,250 hp Merlin XX liquid-cooled in-line engines. Prototype (with Merlin Xs) flown at Hucknall July 1940 and first production Mk IIF at Filton on March 22, 1941, with first deliveries to No 600 Sqn in April. Production totalled 450 (including prototypes converted from Mk Is), used exclusively to equip a total of 11 UK-based night-fighter squadrons.

Max speed, 283 mph (455 km/h) at 15,000ft (4,575 m), 301 mph (484 kmlh) at 20,200ft (6,157m). Range, 1,040 mis (1,673 km) at 10,000ft (3,050m) at 177 mph (285 kmlh). Span, 57 ft 10 in (17.63 m). Length, 42ft 9 in (31.03m).

Bristol Beaufighter III: Projected Bristol Type 158 with slimmer fuselage and Hercules engines.

Bristol Beaufighter IV: As Bristol Beaufighter III with Griffon engines, not built.

Bristol Beaufighter V: Two Mk Us modified March 1941 to have Boulton Paul BPA.l dorsal turret with four 0.303-in machine guns and wing guns removed.

Bristol Beaufighter
Crew 2
Wing span, m 17.63
Wing area, m2 46.80
Length, m 12.7
Height, m 4.83
2 X PE Hercules III VI XVII
Power, h.p. 2x1670 2x1635 2x1770
Weight, kg:
Empty weight 6120 6600 7080
Loaded weight 9048 9800 11440
Maximum speed, km/h 520 536 490
Initial rate of climb, m/s 10,1 10,5 10,0
Service ceiling, m 9382 81002 4575
Service range, km 18302 2380 9360
Underwing bombs, kg - - 1100
Armament Machine guns, 7.69-mm 6 6 1
Cannon, 20-mm 4 4 4
Photo Description
Drawing Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IF

Drawing Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IF

Bristol Beaufighter Mk. IF at spring 1941

Bristol Beaufighter Mk. IF at spring 1941


  • "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/