Blackburn Botha

The Blackburn Botha was a British four-seat reconnaissance and torpedo bomber. It was built by Blackburn Aircraft as a competitor to the Bristol Beaufort, and entered service with the RAF in 1939. It was underpowered and was quickly withdrawn from operations. 

Blackburn Botha
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Blackburn Aircraft Limited
Origin United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain)
Country Name Origin Year
United Kingdom - UK (Great Britain) 1938
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Blackburn Aircraft Limited 580 View

The Air Ministry ordered 442 Bothas in 1936 and the first flight took place on 28 December 1938. The RAF received its first delivery in December 1939, entering squadron service with No. 608 Squadron RAF in June 1940, the only squadron that would use the Botha operationally, the Botha being used for coastal patrols carrying 100 lb Anti-submarine bombs or 250 lb GP bombs. 

In service, the Botha proved to be severely underpowered and unstable and there were a number of fatal crashes in 1940. Both airframe and engine were subject to further development work but it was decided to withdraw the type from front-line service. At this point the Air Staff made the ill-advised decision to transfer the surviving aircraft to training units, which inevitably resulted in further casualties. 

Some Bothas were converted to target tugs and re-designated TT Mk.I. 

The type was finally retired in September 1944. In total 580 aircraft were built.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4
  • Length: 51 ft 1.5 in (15.58 m)
  • Wingspan: 59 ft (17.98 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 7.5 in (4.46 m)
  • Wing area: 518 ft (48.12 m)
  • Empty weight: 11,830 lb (5,366k g)
  • Max takeoff weight: 18,450 lb (8,369 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 x Bristol Perseus radial engine, 930 hp (694 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 216 knots (249 mph, 401k m/h)
  • Cruise speed: 184 knots (212 mph, 341 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 65 knots . (75 mph, 120 km/h)
  • Range: 1,100 nm (1,270 mi, 2,044 km)
  • Service ceiling 17,500 ft (5,335 m)


  • 3 x 0.303 in (7.7 mm) machine-guns (one fixed forward-firing, two in dorsal turret), internal torpedo, depth charges or bombs up to 2,000 lb (907 kg)

End notes