A production contract for 300 Bristol Beaufighter aircraft was placed by the Air Ministry on the 3rd July 1939, two weeks prior to the first flight of the prototype Beaufighter by Captain Uwins. The Bristol Beaufighter, entered service in 1940, when it proved it's worth as a very successful night-fighter, by the end of 1940 Bristol Beaufighter aitcraft were being used as day fighters over the Western Desert and eventually replaced the Bristol Beaufort as a torpedo-bomber.
Bristol Beaufighters saw action throughout WW2 including the Pacific theatre where the Japanese called the Bristol Beaufighter "The Whispering Death". Beaufighters were primarily used by the RAF but were also flown by the air forces of Australia, New Zealand and the US, when the last Bristol Beaufighter left the production line on the 21st September 1945, a total of 5,562 Bristol Beaufighter fighters had been produced, they remained flying with the RAF until the late 1950's in a target tug role.
Bristol Beaufighter X Specifications:
- Crew: Pilot and Observer
- Length: 41 ft 4 in (12.6 m)
- Wingspan: 57 ft 10 in (17.65 m)
- Height: 15 ft 10 in (4.84 m)
- Maximum weight: 25,400 lb (11,521 kg)
- Engines: Twin 1,600 hp Bristol Hercules 14-cylinder radial engines
- Maximum speed: 320 mph (515 km/h)
- Range: 1,750 mi (2,816 km)
- Service ceiling: without torpedo, 19,000 ft (5,795 m)
- Rate of climb: with torpedo, 1,600 ft/min (490 m/min)