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Bristol Beaufighter TF Mk.X RD351, Coastal Squadron 254, 1944
General Background
The Bristol Beaufighter was developed in about 8 months by using sections from the earlier designed Bristol Beaufort. It was given more powerful engines and a variety of modifications making the aircraft capable of many tasks. It was a night fighter, fighter bomber and torpedo bomber performing anti-shipping duty as well as ground attack and long range interdiction. The different variants, 14 in all, were capable of carrying bombs, torpedoes, rockets, canons and machine guns. The Beaufighter was operated by 11 countries.
The Aircraft
No 254 Squadron was formed in May 1918 and disbanded on February 22, 1919. No. 254 was reformed on October 30, 1939 at Stradishall flying Blenheims to protect shipping. In 1940 the squadron was transferred from Fighter to Coastal Command and began reconnaissance missions as well as defensive tasks. In June 1942 the squadron converted to the Bristol Beaufighter and joined the strike wing at North Coates for the duration. On October 1st, 1946 the 254 was renumbered 42 Squadron. Aircraft QM-F RD351 was one of 500 manufactured at Old Mixon Shadow Factory, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.
Specifications :
Wing span: 57 ft. 10 in. (17.64 m)
Length: 41 ft. 4 in. (12.59 m)
Height 15 ft. 10 in. (4.84 m)
Empty: 15,592 lb (7,072 kg)
Maximum: 25,400 lb. (11,521 kg)
Disposable Load: 9,808 lb. (4,448 kg)
Powerplant: 2 x Bristol Hercules XVII fourteen-cylinder two-row sleeve-valve radial engines
rated @ 1,725 hp (1,286 kw) @ 2,900 rpm for take-off
rated @ 1,395 hp (1,040 kw) @ 2,400 rpm at 1,500 ft. (457 m)
Maximum Speed: @ sea-level - 320 mph (514 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 19,000 ft. (5,791 m) (without torpedo)
with torpedo and normal fuel: 1,400 miles (2,253 km)
with torpedo and long-range tanks: 1,750 miles (2,816 km)
Armament: 4 x 20-mm. Hispano cannon in the fuselage nose
6 x 0.303-in. machine-guns in the wings
1 x 0.303-in Vickers "K" or 1 x Browning gun in the dorsal position
1 x 18-in. torpedo under fuselage
8 x rocket projectiles instead of wing guns