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Bristol Type 159 (Beaubomber)

United Kingdom (1939)
Picture of Bristol Type 159 (Beaubomber) Four-Engine Heavy Bomber Aircraft Proposal

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

Prior to the British entry into World War 2 (1939-1945), the Royal Air Force (RAF) was already on the lookout for a successor to its heavy bomber lineup (made up primarily of the Avro Manchester, Short Stirling and Handley Page Halifax - all detailed elsewhere on this site). The design would be powered by no less than four engines, carry an internal bombload of at least 9,000lb and sport 20mm automatic cannon as defensive armament. One of the submissions put forth arrived from the Bristol Aeroplane Company and involved its "Type 159". However, the project was suspended in early-mid-1940 as Britain became evermore committed to its defensive was against the Axis powers. As such only a partially-completed mockup was had of the Type 159 design.

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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (304mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Bristol Type 159's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
0
0


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1939
Type: Four-Engine Heavy Bomber Aircraft Proposal
Manufacturer(s): Bristol Aeroplane Company - UK
Production: 0
Global Operators:
United Kingdom (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Bristol Type 159 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
7


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
82.02 ft


Meters
25 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
114.83 ft


Meters
35 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
20.18 ft


Meters
6.15 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
37,479 lb


Kilograms
17,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
77,162 lb


Kilograms
35,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Bristol Hercules VII air-cooled radial piston engines OR 4 x Rolls-Royce "Griffon" liquid-cooled inline piston engines driving three-bladed propeller units.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
304 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
490 kph


Knots
265 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,501 mi


Kilometers
4,025 km


Nautical Miles
2,173 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
23,704 ft


Meters
7,225 m


Miles
4.49 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

PROPOSED:
4 x 20mm cannons in dorsal turret.
4 x 20mm cannons in rear-facing ventral position.

OPTIONAL:
Up to 15,000lb of conventional drop stores held internally.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Type 159 - Base Series Designation