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Picture of Boulton Paul Defiant WW2 Fighter

When in 1935 the British Air Ministry issued specification (F.9/35) which required a powered turret as the sole armament in a fighter aircraft Boulton Paul responded with it's Defiant design, a  cantilever wing monoplane two-seater fighter of all-metal construction utilising their four-gun powered gun turret as it's main armament, it was powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. The Boulton Paul Defiant prototype first flew on 11th August 1937, the first production Boulton Paul Defiant on the 30th July 1939. Initial deliveries of the Defiant to the RAF took place during December 1939.

Boulton Paul Defiant night fighter


In action the Boulton Paul Defiant was initially very successful and quickly acquired the nickname "Daffy" with it's pilots, over the beaches of Dunkirk, Defiant fighters claimed 38 enemy aircraft on 12 May, 1940 alone, Luftwaffe pilots initially mistook them for Hawker Hurricanes, attacking them from above and behind where the The Boulton Paul Defiant's four gun turret was most dangerous, the German fighter pilots soon learned the error of their ways and very heavy losses followed as the weight of the turret made the Boulton Paul Defiant a poor dogfighter, once it was realised that the Defiant was of no further use as a day fighter they were converted to a NF. Mk IA radar equipped night fighter, in this role the The Boulton Paul Defiant proved very successful achieving more "kills" per interception that any of the other improvised night fighters. The Boulton Paul Defiant was finally re-built as a TT.Mk I or TT.Mk III target tug with it's gun turret removed. It is of interest that in May 1945 The Boulton Paul Defiant DR 994 became the first ever aircraft to be equipped with a Martin Baker Ejection seat.

Boulton Paul Defiant I Armament:

  • Four .303 Browning machine guns in a powered dorsal turret

Boulton Paul Defiant I Specifications:

  • Crew: Pilot and Gunner
  • Length: 35 ft 4 in (10.77 m)
  • Wingspan: 39 ft 4 in (11.99 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m)
  • Maximum weight: 8,318 lb (3,773 kg)
  • Engine: Single 1,030 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin III V-12
  • Maximum speed: 304 mph (489 km/h)
  • Range: 465 miles (748 km)
  • Service ceiling: 30,350 ft (9,250 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,900 ft/min (9.65 m/s)

Boulton Paul hydraulically powered four-gun
dorsal turret

Boulton Paul four-gun hydraulically powered dorsal turret

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