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Bristol Brigand

Anti-Ship Bomber / Dive Bomber / Strike Aircraft [ 1946 ]

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

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/08/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

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.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Bristol Aeroplane Company - UK
Pakistan; United Kingdom
Operators National flag of Pakistan National flag of the United Kingdom
Service Year
United Kingdom
National Origin

Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
Developed to operate in close proximity to active ground elements by way of a broad array of air-to-ground ordnance and munitions options.
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy surface elements through visual acquisition, radar support, and onboard weaponry.

46.6 ft
(14.20 meters)
72.5 ft
(22.10 meters)
16.4 ft
(5.00 meters)
27,492 lb
(12,470 kilograms)
Empty Weight
38,140 lb
(17,300 kilograms)
Maximum Take-Off Weight
+10,648 lb
(+4,830 kg)
Weight Difference

2 x Bristol Centaurus 57 air-cooled radial piston engines developing 2,165 horsepower each.
358 mph
(576 kph | 311 knots)
Max Speed
25,984 ft
(7,920 m | 5 miles)
2,100 miles
(3,380 km | 1,825 nm)
1,500 ft/min
(457 m/min)

MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

4 x 20mm Hispano Mk V cannons

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

Up to 2,000lbs of ordnance.


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

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