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Bristol Beaufighter

The Bristol Beaufighter had the distinction of being the worlds first night fighter designed from the outset for that purpose and replaced the Bristol Blenheim which had the distinction of being the first aircraft to track and destroy an enemy aircraft by the use of airborne radar.

Initially produced with four 20mm cannon and six 7.7mm machine guns, the Beaufighter was the most powerful gunship of its time.

The Beaufighter was also one of the very first aircraft to be equipped with AI Radar. Though very rudimentary this radar was capable of locating nearby aircraft and by careful interpretation of the radar image, the Beaufighter could be brought close onto the tail of the intruder, close enought for a positive identification.

If the target aircraft was identified as an enemy, then the massive firepower of the Beaufighter could be brought to bear with the enemy literally being blown out of the sky.

Because the development of AI radar was such a vitally important secret, radar equipped Beaufighters were kept over UK airspace so that, in the event of one being brought down, the secrets it contained would not fall into enemy hands.

An exceptionally powerful and versatile aircraft, the Beaufighter was also used as a torpedo bomber and day fighter and for straffing of enemy ships and ground targets.

In the Far East, the Beaufighter became known amongst its enemies as "The Whispering Death"

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All images Copyright Avery Little