The B.E.2, designed by Geoffrey de Havilland, was in fact identical to the BE.1 and just differed in the engine, 60 hp air cooled Renault V-8. Later a more powerful 70 hp Renault was installed. The Renault engine proofed to be more reliable than the water cooled Wolseley.
Other prototypes were the B.E.5 and B.E.6, which differed just in the installed engine. These aircraft were later equipped with the Renault engine and designated BE2.
The first version, BE2a was virtually identical to prototypes and also equipped with the Renault engine.
The Be2b differed just in a improved protection of the crew. At the beginning of the war three squadrons with BE2s were the first to be sent to France.
Just before the war broke out, the first BE.2C entered service and this type soon replaced the earlier versions of the squadrons in France. It was a more stable plane necessary for its task, reconnaissance.
It differed in the new wing, tail section, ailerons. Later the tail was enlarged. Later all production aircraft were equipped with a development of the Renault engine, a RAF 1A engine; the undercarriage was initially equipped with two skates, later it was replaced with a V-shaped construction.
The B.E.2d was a trainer with double steering en enlarged and revised fuel system.
The B.E.2e, released 1916, had new designed wings. Many BE2cs and BE.2ds on the production-lines were equipped with this new wing and received the designation B.E.2f and B.E.2g respectively.
In the end over 3500 examples were built.
- B.E.1: Prototype, with water cooled Wolseley engine.
- B.E.5: Prototype with a 60 hp ENV engine;
- B.E.6: Prototype.
- B.E.2a: First production version; Small number built in 1912;
- B.E.2b: Differed from in higher sides of cockpits. Late examples had ailerons, revised undercarriage en engine cooling;
- B.E.2c: Revised and improved version;
- B.E.2d: Version with double steering and larger fuel tank;
- B.E.2e: Definite version with new designed wings;
- B.E.2f: B.E.2c with wings of B.E.2e;
- B.E.2g: B.E.2d with wings of B.E.2e.
|Length:||8,3 m||Wingspan:||11,2 m|
|Height:||3,5 m||Wing area:||- m2|
|Empty weight:||621 kg||Max. start weight:||972 kg|
|Max. speed:||145 km/hr||Climbing speed:||- m/min|
|Cruising speed:||- km/hr|
|Range:||4 hours||Service ceiling:||3050 m|
|Engine type:||One Royal Aircraft Factory 1A rated 90 hp|
|Crew:||Two men: one aviator plus one observer/air gunner|
|Armament:||One moveable.303 inch (=7.7 mm) Lewis machine gun for the observer; 100 kg bombs|
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