Boultan Paul Defiant

Boulton Paul Defiant







The Boulton Paul Defiant was an early World War II fighter aircraft and bomber interceptor of the Royal Air Force, built by Boulton Paul Aircraft Ltd. Amongst pilots it had the informal nickname "Daffy". The Defiant emerged at a time when the RAF anticipated having to defend Great Britain against unescorted enemy bombers. Advances in aircraft design during the 1920s and 1930s resulted in a generation of multi-engine bombers that were faster than the single-engine biplane fighters then in service. The RAF believed that its own turret-armed bombers, would be able to penetrate enemy airspace and defend itself without fighter escort, and that the German Luftwaffe - would do the same in return. A turret-armed fighter would be able to engage enemy bombers from angles that would defeat the bomber gunners. Thus, the Defiant was armed with a powered dorsal turret, equipped with four 0.303 in machine guns. In theory, the Defiant would approach an enemy bomber from below or beside and destroy it with a concentrated burst of fire. The concept was similar to the successful World War I Bristol Fighter, but in practice the Defiant was highly vulnerable to the more agile Luftwaffe Bf 109 escort fighters. It was later used in the night fighter role where it proved successful against Luftwaffe bombers, before it was phased out of combat operations in favour of heavily-armed aircraft such as the Bristol Beaufighter and de Havilland Mosquito.

Equipped with 23 Defiant night fighters, No 456 Squadron RAAF formed in England in June 1941 under RAF control. The Defiants were soon thereafter replaced with Beaufighters.

General Characteristics

Crew:                                                      2: pilot, gunner
Length:                                                   35 ft 4 in (10.77 m)
Wingspan:                                              39 ft 4 in (11.99 m)
Height:                                                    12 ft 2 in (3.71 m)
Empty weight:                                        6,078 lb (2,755 kg)
Loaded weight:                                       8,318 lb (3,773 kg)
Powerplant:                                            1× Rolls-Royce Merlin III liquid-cooled V12 engine, 1,030 hp (780 kW)


Maximum speed:                                   304 mph (264 knots, 489 km/h)
Range:                                                    465 mi (404 nm, 748 km)
Service ceiling:                                       30,350 ft (9,250 m)
Rate of climb:                                         1,900 ft/min (9.65 m/s)
Power/mass:                                          0.124 hp/lb (204 W/kg)


Guns:                                                      4× .303 in Browning machine guns in hydraulically powered dorsal turret
                                                                (600 rounds per gun, 2,400 rounds total)

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