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IAF Aircraft Inventory: Bristol Beaufighter

Known as the "Whispering Death" by the Japanese in the far east during WWII, the Bristol Beaufighter was instrumental in driving the Japanese from South East Asia and in the defeat of the Luftwaffe's night bombing offensive against Britain. 4 Beaufighters were purchased for the IAF in Britain on the pretext of being used for a film. In front of the director, the cameras and the whole filming "crew" they took off from a British air field — and never returned. By the time British authorities came to, the four bombers were somewhere over the Mediterranean, on their way to Israel. They took part in operations to drive out invading Egyptian forces on the southern front and also against the Egyptian navy during the War of Independence. On October 22, 1948, a Beaufighter on a sortie to bomb the Egyptian flagship "The Emir Farouk" encountered an Egyptian Hawker Fury. Aware that the Beaufighter stood little chance in a dogfight, the pilot put his bomber into a dive, followed by the Fury, and pulled up in time to see the fighter crash into the sea behind him. Unfortunately, the pilot of the Beaufighter was killed the next day, bombing an enemy stronghold on the southern front. The remaining aircraft were put out of service shortly after the end of the war.

Specification: Bristol Beaufighter TF.Mk X
Type: three seat anti-shipping strike fighter.
Powerplant: 2 * Bristol Hercules XVII.
Performance: max speed — 303 mph at 13,000ft, operational range — 1,470 miles.
Weights: max takeoff weight — 11521kg.
Dimensions: span — 17.63m, length — 12.70m.
Armament: 4 * 20mm cannon and 1* 7.7mm machine gun with 2 * 113kg bombs or 8 * 41kg rockets under the wings.

Sources: IAF Inventory