Intended to be an improved Sunderland only half a dozen Short Seaford aircraft would be manufactured and these would never serve operationally. In the end they would be re-named as the
Short Solent and would serve with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) as passenger aircraft.
30th August 1944
The Seaford had it's roots in the Short Sunderland Mk IV which was designed around Specification R.8/42 which called for a more powerful and more armed flying boat to operate in the
Pacific theatre of war. However the new Sunderland Mk was so different from it's predecessors it became known as the Seaford. The major changes to the aircraft included strengthen wings, an
increase in length by 3ft 3in, and an increase in armament which consisted of:
Two 0.50-in machine guns located either side of the fuselage.
Two 0.50-in machine guns located in the rear.
Two 0.50-in machine guns located in the bow.
Two 0.303-in machine guns located in the nose.
Two 20mm cannons located in the dorsal turret.
Flying for the first time on the 30th August 1944, with power supplied by four 1,680-hp Bristol Hercules XVIII engines, the first of two ordered prototypes took to the air. An order for
thirty aircraft was placed whilst these would be powered by the 1,720-hp Hercules XIX, in any case only six were produced.
The Seaford was then sent to No. 201 Squadron who, in conjunction with the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment at Felixstowe, during April and May 1946 carried out operational
trials, although these would be cancelled and the six Seafords already produced would be acquired by the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and re-designated Solent Mk 3 and converted
into passenger aircraft with a capacity of 39.
A number of Solent Mk 2s appeared in 1948 which could hold between 12-30 passengers and these would remain in service with BOAC until 10th November 1950 when the last Solent departed
Southampton although they would serve with other airlines until 1958.
Click on the aeroplane image to view a larger version.
|Never used operationally and became known as the Short Solent.
Click on the photo to view a larger version.
(C) = Cockpit only exhibit. (F) = Fuselage only exhibit. (R) = Remains of an aircraft.
|No known examples currently on public display in the UK.