The Blenheim was an all-metal aircraft designed by Frank Barnwell which was powered by two Bristol Mercury VIII air-cooled radial engines, each producing 860 hp. The crew consisted of three, a pilot, navigator/bombardier and telegraphist/air gunner.
Armament comprised of a single forward-firing .303 in Browning machine gun outboard of the port engine and a .303 Lewis Gun in a semi-retracting Bristol Type B Mk I dorsal turret firing to the rear.
From 1939 onwards, the Lewis gun was replaced by the more modern .303 in Vickers VGO machine gun. A 1,000 lb bomb load could be carried in the internal bay.
The Mk.I Blenheim had a small cross-section fuselage with the upper front glazed for the pilot with no need for seperate windscreen panels.
The bomb bay doors were kept closed by 'bungee cords' and opened by the weight of the bombs when released. The time taken for the bombs to 'force' open the bomb doors was unpredictable resulting in poor bombing accuracy.
The first squadron to receive the Blenheim was No.114 Squadron in early 1937.
An extended range development version of the Blenheim, denoted Mk.II, had increased fuel tank capacity from 278 gallons to 468 gallons, with only one aircraft being produced.
A further development aircraft denoted as Mk.III, had a lenghtened nose, with a true windscreen for the pilot, to provide more room for the bomb aimer.
The modifications from both the Mk.II and Mk.III development aircraft, together with new more powerful engines were fitted to the Blenheim and designated Mk.IV.
A further modification to produce a long-range fighter was made to incorporate guns under the fuselage for four 0.303" Browning machine guns and designated Blenheim Mk.IF.
The last bomber variant was an armoured ground-attack aircraft with four extra Browning 0.303" machine guns in the nose and was designated as a Blenheim Mk.V.
|Length:||42ft 7in (12.98m)|
|Wingspan:||56ft 4in (17.17m)|
|Height:||9ft 10in (3m)|
|Empty Weight:||9,790lb (4441kg)|
|Max. Weight:||14,400lb (6532kg)|
|Engines (x2):||Bristol Mercury XV|
producing 1810 hp.
|Max. Speed:||266 mph (428 km/h)|
|Range:||1460 miles (2350 km)|
|Armament: - (Refer to Variants for fitment)|
Three-seat twin-engined light bomber, 1,552 built.
Night fighter version, Approx 200 Mk.I converted.
Long-range reconnaissance version with extra fuel tankage, 1 built.
Improved version, fitted with protective armour, 3,307 built.
Long-range fighter version, Approx 60 Mk.IV's converted.
High-altitude bomber version.
Originally a Fairchild Bolingbroke Mk.IV T, a Blenheim photographed at Coventry Airshow 2003 marked as serial number R3821.
The aircraft was completely restored in 1993 and was regularily displayed until it crashed landed at Duxford on the 18th of August 2003.
The aircraft is owned by the Imperial War Museum and is currently being restored at Duxford.