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The Bristol Beaufort

The Beaufort was designed in 1937 to combine the requirements of Air Ministry specifications G.24/35 and M.15/35, the former for a general reconnaissance bomber and the latter for a land-based torpedo bomber. The prototype flew in October, 1938, and the first production Beaufort I a year later.In its four years of operational service the Beaufort underwent certain changes, mainly in power-plant and armament.Prior to going into service the Beaufort suffered dreadful engine fires and failures, so much so that it delayed its entry into service for some months, and even after it went into service it was grounded for three months in 1940 following further engine failures. Fitting the American Twin Wasp unit improved the reliability of the aircraft and was much favoured by the crews. However, importing the engines was patchy due to enemy action and after 165 aircraft had been built, they reverted back to the Taurus.

RAF Beaufort in flight