Boulton Paul Defiant

From Our Contribution

Boulton Paul Defiant
Boultan Paul Defiant.jpg
Boultan Paul Defiant 2.jpg
Type monoplane
Role Interceptor
Designer John Dudley North
Manufacturer Boulton Paul Aircraft
Produced England
Number built 1,064
Primary users RAF, RAAF, RCAF, Polish Air Force
In service December 1939
Out of service The last operational use was in India, used as target tugs


The Defiant was found to be effective at destroying bombers, the role it was designed for, but was vulnerable to the Luftwaffe's more manoeuvrable, single-seat Messerschmitt fighters. The Defiant lacked forward-firing armament, which proved to be a great weakness in daylight combat with fighters. It did, however, find success when it was converted to a night fighter. Eventually thirteen squadrons were equipped for this role, compared to just two squadrons as a day-fighter, though this was mainly due to slow initial production. In mid-1942 it was replaced by better performing night-fighters, the Bristol Beaufighter and De Havilland Mosquito.

The Defiant continued to find use in gunnery training, target towing, electronic countermeasures and air-sea rescue.

General characteristics

  • Crew: two, pilot, gunner
  • Length: 35 ft 4 in (10.77m)
  • Wingspan: 39 ft 4 in (11.99m)
  • Height: 11 ft 4 in (3.45m)
  • Empty weight: 6,078lbs (2,757 Kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 8,600lbs (3,901 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rolls-Royce Merlin III liquid-cooled V12 engine
  • Maximum speed: 304 mph (489 km/h at 17,000 ft
  • Range: 465 miles (748 km)
  • Service ceiling: 31,000 ft (9,400m)
  • Armament
  • Guns: 4 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns in hydraulically powered dorsal turret

Air Crew

No. 256 Squadron RAF

No. 153 Squadron RAF