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RAF Bulldog

RAF Bulldog

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   Primary Function:
   Weight Empty:
   Max. Weight:
   Machine Guns:
   Cruise Speed:
   Max. Speed:
   Climb Rate:
   First Flight:
   Year Deployed:
Bristol Jupiter radial
440 h.p.
2,200 lbs.
3,500 lbs.
2- 7.7 mm
25 ft.
33 ft. 11 in.
125 mph
175 mph
1,380 fpm
27,000 feet
275 miles

When, in 1926, the British Air Ministry issued a request for an aircraft, manned by a single pilot, that would be capable of intercepting invading bombing aircraft, the Bristol Aircraft Company submitted its RAF Bulldog design. Ideally the Air Ministry desired a fighter that could fly at night, as well as the day. It was to have at least a pair of Vickers machine guns for offensive purposes.

The initial RAF Bulldog, that took to the sky on May 17, 1927, was the Mk I prototype. It proved a capable aircraft, and with few modifications met or exceeded the Air Ministry requirements. Once completely satisfied with the initial design, production RAF Bullldog aircraft, designated Mk. II began rolling off the Bristol assembly line.

On June 11, 1929, the RAF Bulldog, with a 440 hp radial engine, was deployed to Upavon where it served in Number 3 Squadron. The RAF Bulldog proved such a success, it soon began replacing older RAF fighter aircraft. The Bristol factory produced a total of 92 of these aircraft.

By 1932, RAF Bulldog aircraft were deployed with stronger wings and fuselages, plus a radial engine producing 50 more hp than previous models. A total of 268 of these aircraft, designated Mk. 2B, were produced. At their height of deployment, all RAF Bristol aircraft combined for approximately 75 percent of Great Britain's fighter air power.

The RAF Bulldog was one of the first production aircraft ever to be equipped with cockpit oxygen and a two way radio. It had a fabric covered, metal fuselage.

The primary mission of the Bristol Bulldog was as an interceptor. Ten British RAF squadrons were comprised of the aircraft. It was the primary fighter of the RAF from 1932 to 1936. However, while the RAF Bulldog was replaced by more modern front line aircraft, it continued to serve as a training aircraft through the start of World War II.

In addition to Great Britain, Australia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Siam, Spain, and Sweden all flew the RAF Bulldog.

There is a record of Bulldog aircraft seeing action starting in 1939 with the Finnish Air Force while flying against Soviet aircraft during the Winter War. Their combat record was a loss of one Bulldog while downing six Soviet fighters. They were withdrawn from active service soon after initial action, but continued on as trainer aircraft for the Finns.

A total of 443 RAF Bulldog aircraft of all types were produced.

RAF Bulldog
Ian Turney-White and his RAF Bulldog.

The RAF Bulldog makes a great looking airplane. We are happy to see that there are a number of sizes available from Kit Cutters.

The RAF Bulldog in the pictures immediately above and below was scratch built by Ian Turney-White. It has a wingspan of 192" and weighs about 170 lbs. To make the RAF Bulldog easier to transport, Ian constructed it with a removable tail section. It has a JPX 425cc twin engine in the nose swinging a 44 x 12 propeller.

The second picture below is of the RAF Bulldog scratch built by Tim Wasny of RC Groups. It is 1/10 scale and has a 40 1/2" wingspan.

The third picture below is of the RAF Bulldog built by L. H. Warden from San Diego, California, USA. It was built from Cleveland Model plans.

Kit Cutters has taken the Cleveland Model plans and offers full kits, short kits, or plans of the RAF Bulldog for sale. Wingspans are 34 1/2", 52", 69", and 104".

Traplet Publications has a RAF Bulldog plan. It builds to a wingspan of 63" and uses a .60 2C engine for power.

For those of you who like scale plastic model airplanes, there are kits of the RAF Bulldog available from Airfix in 1/72 scale and Smer Models in 1/48 scale.

RAF Bulldog
RAF Bulldog viewed from the front.

RAF Bulldog
RAF Bulldog - Tim Wasny.

RAF Bulldog
RAF Bulldog - L.H. Warden.