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Bristol Brigand

United Kingdom (1946)
Picture of Bristol Brigand Anti-Ship Bomber / Dive Bomber / Strike Aircraft

The Bristol Brigand replaced the wartime Beaufighter of the Royal Air Force and saw combat service in the Malayan Emergency.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Bristol Brigand Anti-Ship Bomber / Dive Bomber / Strike Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 7/8/2016. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

In 1942, the British Air Ministry sought to replace its Bristol Beaufighter heavy fighter fleet with a newer, faster, twin-engine design which could fulfill the roles of maritime strike and torpedo bombing. The specification became "H.7/42" and the Air Ministry went on to adopt yet-another Bristol-led design in the "Type 164". The Type 164 reconstituted the wings and tail assemblies of the existing Bristol "Buckingham" twin-engine medium bomber, applying the appendages to an all-new fuselage design. Power would be served through in-house Bristol engines which simplified manufacture logistics.

Type 164 was given a conventional twin-engined design configuration. The fuselage was well-streamlined and supported the cockpit, standard armament and tail unit while the high-mounted wings each held an underslung engine nacelle. Each engine drove a four-bladed propeller while the nacelles also housed the single-wheeled main landing gear legs (a small, single-wheeled leg was fitted under the tail). The empennage utilized a single horizontal plane joining two outboard vertical tail fins. The cockpit was set ahead of amidships in the usual way, under a glazed canopy, and aft of a short, rounded nose cone assembly. The crew was made up of three personnel and standard armament included 4 x 20mm Hispano Mk V series cannons fitted under the cockpit floor. There were also external provisions for up to 16 x RP-3 series rockets, up to 2,000lbs of conventional drop bombs and 1 x 559mm torpedo.

Power for the Brigand was served through 2 x Bristol Centaurus 57 series radial piston engines, each developing 2,165 horsepower. This provided the airframe with a maximum speed of 358 miles per hour, a range out to 2,100 miles, a service ceiling of 26,000 feet and a rate-of-climb nearing 1,500 feet per minute.

Four prototype Brigands were completed and these with Centaurus VII series engines. These eventually paved the way for the adoption of the torpedo-carrying bomber variant in the Brigand TF.1 mark. Eleven of this version were produced. The dedicated conventional bomber became the Brigand B.1 mark which lacked the rear gun emplacement but added support for rockets and external bombs. 106 of this type were manufactured and their numbers were later increased when the original TF.1 models were modified to the B.1 standard. Training versions became the Brigand T.4 and T.5 variants - the latter an improved form over the original T.4 model. The Type 165 "Brigand II" was a proposed training platform while some 16 examples of the post-war Brigand MET.3 were produced for meteorological data collection.

The Brigand did not find many takers outside of the UK during its service life, only fielded by the burgeoning Pakistani Air Force during the post-war years. For the British, the type served through No. 8, No. 45, No. 84, No. 1301, No. 228 and No. 238 squadrons before her history was written.

The Bristol Brigand arrived too late to see combat service in World War 2 so the original first batch torpedo bomber models were sent to RAF Coastal Command where they saw service from 1946 into 1947. It was during the Malayan Emergency (June 16, 1948 - July 12, 1960) that the Brigand found both her best and worst operating years. A communist insurgency attempted to take control of the country against a combined force of UK, Australian and New Zealand forces. The war ended with a Commonwealth victory.

During the conflict, the Brigand unveiled some notable flaws in her design, a design originally intended for maritime operations over European waters. Instead, the aircraft was pressed into service in an unforgiving tropical environment where the airframe experiences structural and mechanical failings, often times with lives lost. Problems were countered as they arose and air crews generally liked their Brigand aircraft. Leadership eventually proposed limitations to her active fielding which soon limited their tactical usefulness in the Malaysian theater. Brigands were eventually removed from frontline service and the last model retired in 1958.

In all, some 147 Bristol Brigand examples were produced. Her issues in the field marked her as a limited success while her low production numbers allowed her to fade into history without much fanfare.

Any available statistics for the Bristol Brigand Anti-Ship Bomber / Dive Bomber / Strike Aircraft 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.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (358mph).

    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 Brigand's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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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
147
147


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United Kingdom
Year: 1946
Type: Anti-Ship Bomber / Dive Bomber / Strike Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Bristol Aeroplane Company - UK
Production: 147
Global Operators:
Pakistan; United Kingdom
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 Brigand model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
3


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
46.59 ft


Meters
14.2 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
72.51 ft


Meters
22.1 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
16.40 ft


Meters
5 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
27,492 lb


Kilograms
12,470 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
38,140 lb


Kilograms
17,300 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Bristol Centaurus 57 air-cooled radial piston engines developing 2,165 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
358 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
576 kph


Knots
311 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,100 mi


Kilometers
3,380 km


Nautical Miles
1,825 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
25,984 ft


Meters
7,920 m


Miles
4.92 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,500 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
457 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Graphical image of an aircraft air-to-surface missile
Graphical image of aircraft aerial rockets
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
4 x 20mm Hispano Mk V cannons

OPTIONAL:
16 x RP-3 60lb high-explosive air-to-surface rockets underwing.
1 x 559mm torpedo

Up to 2,000lbs of ordnance.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Type 164 - Prototype Model Designation; fitted with 2 x Bristol Centaurus VII engines; four examples produced.
• Brigand TF.1 - Torpedo Bomber Variant; 11 examples produced; later converted to B.1 standard.
• Brigand B.1 - Bomber Variant; 106 examples produced.
• Brigand II (Type 165) - Proposed training platform.
• Brigand MET.3 - Modified meteorological research aircraft; 16 examples completed.
• Brigand T.4 - Training platform
• Brigand T.5 - Improved training platform