developed in a hurry to plug a perceived hole in the RAF's
armoury; this being a long ranged and hard hitting escort
or night fighter equivalent to the German Mescherscmitt 110.
Using concepts and parts of the air frame from the existing
Blenheim and Beaufort, the Beaufighter first flew in 1939
and entered Squadron service in the Summer of 1940. It was
still serving with RAF Coastal Command and the Royal Australian
Air Force in 1960.
Despite the speed of its development the Beaufighter turned
out to be a very fine aircraft that although not particularly
fast packed an awesome punch of four 20 mm cannons and six
heavy machine guns in a compact and resilient airframe whilst
still retaining a surprising degree of agility. The airframe
was also easily adapted to a variety of roles including rocket
and/or heavy cannon armed ground and maritime attack variants,
torpedo bombers and a deadly radar equipped night fighter.
The Beau became widely feared and respected by its opponents,
to the Japanese for instance it became known as the Whispering
It was as a Night Fighter that in the winter of 1940/41 the
Beaufighter 1F began to replace the Blenheims of 600 squadron.
Type: Heavy Night/Strike Fighter
Crew; 2 (pilot and Observer/Radar operator)
Powerplant. 2 x 1,770 hp Bristol Hercules XVII radials
Maximum Speed: 330 mph
Maximum Altitude: c 30,000 feet
Range: c 1,540miles
Armament: 4 x .20 mm Cannon under nose
6 x .303/7.7mm Browning Machine Guns in wings
1 x .303/7.7mm Vickers Machine Gun for Observer.