Bristol Beaufighter MkIIF (Nose section)

Bristol Beaufighter MkIIF (Nose section)
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Partly sectioned forward fuselage section of Bristol Beaufighter Mk.IIF twin-RR Merlin engined nightfighter.

A rugged and versatile aircraft, the Beaufighter first flew in July 1939, and served the RAF as a Fighter Command nightfighter, Coastal Command anti-shipping strike fighter, ranging far out over the sea to the Bay of Biscay and to the Norwegian coast, and as a fighter-bomber in the Middle East, and in the Far East from Setember 1942, where the Japanese referred to it as the 'Whispering Death'. With some 5,500 delivered, it finally equipped 52 operational squadrons in the RAF up to February 1950, and flew on as a target tug at RAF Seletar, Singapore until May 1960, the last Beaufighter to fly, though one or two are undergoing restoration to at least ground runnable state.

Due to the demands of Short Stirling bomber production, the Beaufighter IIF, of which this is the only known surviving example, exchanged the usual Bristol Hercules radial engines for RR Merlin XXs. First flown in late 1940, the first production aircraft flew in March 1941, with 450 of this version built. Radar equipped, it served with eight home-based night-fighter units on home defence duties.