Bristol Type 159 (Beaubomber)
United Kingdom (1939)
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The Bristol Type 159 Beaubomber heavy bomber project was to reflect a new generation of attack aircraft for Britain heading into World War 2 - none were built.
Detailing the development and operational history of the Bristol Type 159 (Beaubomber) Four-Engine Heavy Bomber Aircraft Proposal. Entry last updated on 5/20/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Type 159's short-lived development was covered by Specification B.1/39. During its run, the Type 159 was referred to as the "Beaubomber" falling in line with other Bristol products like the "Beaufighter" and "Beaufort". The Type 159 competed against the Handley Page HP.60 proposal which was an offshoot of the company's own Halifax bomber design.
The Type 159 proposal featured a teardrop-shaped fuselage with a glazed-over nose section and stepped cockpit flight deck. A dorsal turret (4 x guns) was fitted over the spine and a rear-facing gun emplacement was carried below in a gondola-type assembly. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted under the fuselage with noticeable dihedral and the engines protruded from the wing leading edges in traditional fashion. The tail unit incorporated a twin-finned arrangement common to many British bombers of the period. A tricycle undercarriage was proposed instead of the more common "tail-dragger" arrangement which was to give this bomber a most modern appearance when on the ground.
Power to the large aircraft was to come from 4 x Bristol "Hercules VII" air-cooled radial piston engines of 1,500 horsepower each and these would be used to drive three-bladed propellers in typical "puller" fashion. Engineers also included future support for the Rolls-Royce "Griffon" inline engine series. The crew would number seven and include pilots, a navigator, bombardier and dedicated gunners. The crew spaces would also be armored for survivability against FlaK and fighter attacks. Empty weight of the completed specimen was estimated at 37,350lb with an MTOW of 71,000lb. Performance specifications, also estimated, included a maximum speed of 302 miles per hour, a range out to 2,500 miles and a service ceiling up to 25,300 feet. It is assumed the dorsal and ventral gun positions would mount 20mm automatic cannon for point defense against enemy fighters.
Bristol managed to complete wind tunnel models and subsequent stability testing in the run-up to prototype construction. The Air Ministry contracted for two flyable prototypes but these never materialized - a full-scale mockup was completed of the Type 159 but British needs of the time moved on to fighter production for the defense of the country particularly after the Fall of France in June of 1940 so there proved little need for an all-new heavy bombing platform.
With work officially suspended after May-June of 1940, little more was had on the Type 159 project before the design completely fell away to history.
Any available statistics for the Bristol Type 159 (Beaubomber) Four-Engine Heavy Bomber Aircraft Proposal are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).
Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (304mph).
Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Bristol Type 159's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.