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Blackburn B-26 Botha

The Blackburn B.26 Botha was a four-seat reconnaissance and torpedo bomber.

It was produced by the British aviation company Blackburn Aircraft at its factories at Brough and Dumbarton.

The Botha was developed during the mid 1930s in response to Air Ministry Specification M.15/35 and was ordered straight off the drawing board alongside the competing Bristol Beaufort.

On 28 December 1938, the first production aircraft made the type’s maiden flight; almost exactly one year later, it enters service with the RAF.

During official evaluation testing of the Botha, stability issues were revealed, as well as the fact that it was underpowered.

It was only briefly used in frontline operations before being withdrawn to secondary roles during 1941.

It continued to be flown in secondary roles, largely being used for training and as a target tug, before the Botha was fully withdrawn during September 1944.


Botha Mk I 

Four-seat reconnaissance, torpedo bomber aircraft.

Botha TT Mk I 

Target tug aircraft.





51 ft 0.5 in (15.558 m)


59 ft 0 in (17.98 m)


14 ft 7.5 in (4.458 m)

Wing area

518 sq ft (48.1 m2)

Empty weight

12,036 lb (5,459 kg)

Gross weight

18,450 lb (8,369 kg)

Fuel capacity

435.75 imp gal (523 US gal; 1,981 l) normal fuel in 3 wing tanks and a distributor/collector tank, with 565.75 imp gal (679 US gal; 2,572 l) available for special operations.


2 × Bristol Perseus XA 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 930 hp (690 kW) each


3-bladed de Havilland Hydromatic Type 5/11 constant-speed propellers


Maximum speed

209 mph (336 km/h, 182 kn) at sea level

220 mph (191 kn; 354 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,572 m)

Cruise speed

212 mph (341 km/h, 184 kn)

Stall speed

75 mph (121 km/h, 65 kn) with flaps and undercarriage down


1,270 mi (2,040 km, 1,100 nmi)

Service ceiling

18,400 ft (5,600 m)

Absolute ceiling

19,700 ft (6,005 m)

Rate of climb

985 ft/min (5.00 m/s) initial

355 ft/min (1.80 m/s) at 15,000 ft (4,572 m)



3 × 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine guns

(One fixed forward-firing, two in dorsal turret)


Internal torpedo, depth charges


Bombs up to 2,000 lb (907 kg).






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