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Into the Archives – The Botha

1st June 2015

Another delve in to the archives has uncovered the story of the Botha aircraft.  Back in September 1935, the British Air Ministry issued a specification, for a three-seat twin-engined reconnaissance and torpedo bomber. Two submissions were accepted that met the detail of this requirement.  One was received from Blackburn Aircraft (The Botha) and the Type 152 (later known as the Beaufort) from Bristol.  Both were intended to use the 850 hp (634 kW) Bristol Perseus engine but this all changed when the the Air Ministry later revised its Specification to wanting an aircraft that required a crew of four. The weight increase due to the extra crew members meant that both designs where required to have more power. The 1,130 hp (840 kW)Taurus was provided for the Beaufort, but the Botha received only the Perseus X of 880hhp (660kW).

The Air Ministry ordered 442 Bothas in 1936, while also placing orders for the Beaufort. The first flight took place on 28 December 1938.  The aircraft was built both at Blackburn’s factory at Brough but also at a new factory at Dumbarton, Scotland. Brough built 382 aircraft and Dumbarton 200 (a total of 582).  The first image above shows a line of Botha’s ready for delivery. You can clearly see Building 84 and 22 in the background of the image.  Interestingly, building 22 (known locally as B-Shed) shares its name with the aircraft as it was built to manufacture this aircraft in 1938.

Posted by HEP Communications | 01 June 2015

Photo credits: BAE System (Operations) Ltd.