Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.12b
|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / United Kingdom / Royal Aircraft Factory|
In an attempt to improve the performance of the B.E.12, primarily for the benefit of Home Defence squadrons, a 200hp Hispano-Suiza water-cooled eight-cylinder Veetype engine was substituted for the 150hp R.A.F.4a. The first such installation was completed in September 1917 by the Southern Aircraft Repair Depot at Farnborough and demonstrated a dramatic improvement in speed and climb performance. Consequently, it was decided that 150 of the 200 B.E.12s ordered from Daimler in August 1917 should be completed with the Hispano engines as B.E.12b's. Airframes built by Daimler were fitted with these engines at the Northern Aircraft Repair Depot at Aston, near Sheffield, and deliveries began late in 1917. As Zeppelin raids on the UK had by this time virtually come to an end, many B.E.12b's went straight into store, their urgently-needed engines being removed for use in other aircraft types, such as the S.E.5a. It is believed that production of B.E.12b's ended some 12-20 short of the intended total. The standard armament of the B.E.12b comprised a 7.7mm Lewis gun above the centre section, firing over the propeller disc. Performance and weight data for the B.E.12b are not recorded. Dimensions similar to those of the B.E.12.