Republic Nightbolt Mk-I

After the disastrous career of the Boulton Paul as a day fighter it served with moderate success as a night fighter with the RAF in 1941 and 1942. The lack of forward fire power remained a problem, however. Also, the weight of the turret slowed the aircraft down and performance was too low.

The principle of the turret fighter however was still attractive, and the RAF searched for a more powerful replacement of the Defiant as a night fighter. The aim was to find a turret fighter with a more powerful engine and armed with forward firing fixed guns in addition to the turret.

A solution was found in the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt which came to the UK at the end of 1942. A P-47C was sent to Boulton Paul for conversion. This company fitted a Defiant turret to the aircraft. The big fuselage of the Thunderbolt provided enough space for the turret and the operator. First flight of the modified aircraft was early in 1943 and tests were so successful that a production run of 200 aircraft was ordered. The aircraft was called Nightbolt and entered service in May 1943.

The Nightbolt remained in service until the end of the war, a total of 327 being built.


Model: HobbyBoss P-47 & Airfix Defiant 1/72

Last updated: 01/01/2023