Aviation of World War II
The Short S.45 Seaford was a 1940s flying boat designed as a long-range naval patrol bomber for the RAF Coastal Command. The aircraft was a modification of the Short S.25 Sunderland, and was originally named "Sunderland Mark IV".
In 1942, the Air Department issued the R.8 / 42 specification for the Sunderland to be used as a long-range patrol bomber for flights in the Pacific. This required more powerful engines, better defensive weaponry, and other improvements.
Tests of the first prototype, which began on August 30, 1944, revealed the aircraft's insufficient track stability, which forced the keel area to be increased by 20%. The aircraft fuselage was lengthened by about 1 m.
Sunderland with new, more powerful Bristol Hercules XIX engines, and subsequent modifications, was recognized as a new aircraft and received the designation S.45 Seaford GR Mk. I.
At the end of March 1945, two prototypes were handed over for state tests, but the approaching end of the war affected the plans for mass production - only eight serial Seafords (NJ200-207) were built, and without the tail towers.
In the spring of 1946, they were briefly operated in the 201st Squadron of the Coastal Command, after which the first two production vehicles were transferred to the MAEE test center, while the remaining six were converted into Solent passenger seaplanes.
Another 12 Seaford (NJ208-219) were converted in a similar way right at the factory. These aircraft, designated Solent Mk.II, received more powerful Centaurus engines instead of the Hercules. In addition to seven crew members (the bombardier and gunners lost their seats), Solent took on board from 37 to 45 passengers (depending on the layout of the cabin). The last Solentas were released in 1949.
Armament. Two 20-mm cannons; six 12.7-mm machine guns and two 7.7mm machine guns; bomb load 907 kg.