The Bristol Beaufort was a twin-engined torpedo-bomber that the Coast Guard actively used in the UK and Australia.
The Beaufort design process began in 1935, when the UK’s Air Ministry formulated the M.15/35 and G.24/35 specifications for the development of a torpedo bomber and a reconnaissance plane, respectively. While working on these aircraft designs, Bristol proposed one aircraft, manufactured in two different variants, for both of these specifications. The Air Ministry agreed, and in early 1936 a task force developed Specification 10/36, which would be met by the Beaufort. The Beaufort was based on the Blenheim light bomber, from which were borrowed the designs of the wing, tail unit, and landing gear. To increase the bomb bay’s size to carry a torpedo, the cockpit’s floor was raised. Nevertheless, the torpedo did not fully fit in the bomb bay and had to be partially suspended.
To speed up production, it was decided that the prototype phase should be skipped, and production began in August of 1936. Bristol was commissioned to produce 78 Beauforts, the first five of which were used as prototypes.
In 1940, production of the Beaufort began in Australia. But due to the fact that the Australian government was not confident in an uninterrupted supply of Taurus engines, it was decided that the Twin Wasp engine would be used instead. In addition, the Australians expanded the keel to increase stability.
The last Australian modification, the Beaufort Mk.VIII, used 1200 hp engines and had an ASV Mk.II radar. It also had additional wing-mounted fuel tanks.
This modification made up 520 of the 700 Beauforts built in Australia.