510

Blériot-SPAD S.510

The Blériot SPAD S.510 was the last French bi-plane fighter to be produced.

Development

Conceived in 1930, this clean, open-cockpit biplane first flew in 1933 and entered service in 1936. Performance was similar to the British Gloster Gladiator and Hawker Fury. The S.510's armament generally consisted of 4 machine guns (installed as either a combination of 2 engine-mounted guns, plus 2 in under-wing gondolas or with all 4 in under-wing gondolas) this gave it a much heavier attack capability than many earlier biplane fighters and parity with the final biplane-types employed by the British and Italians - e.g. the Gladiator and Falco.

The S.510 was doomed to obsolescence before it even flew. Though at the time it was designed, many pilots and experts strongly believed that biplanes would prove better fighters than monoplanes because of their tighter turning circles.

Largely overshadowed by the faster Dewoitine D.510 monoplane, an order of 60 planes was secured in August 1935 when French ace pilot Louis Massot demonstrated the S.510 to excellent effect showing its superior maneuverability and rate of climb.

Despite its strengths, the S.510 only enjoyed about a year of utility. A decent fighter for 1936, it was quickly overshadowed by the new, modern monoplanes developed by Germany, England, and France. It had fixed landing gear as well as a weak fuel system and undercarriage.

Operational history

The S.510 entered service in early 1936, being assigned to the GC I/7 in May 1937 and the GC II/7 in July, 1938. They were intended as transition aircraft between the Morane-Saulnier MS-225 and the Morane-Saulnier MS-406 and served in the Weiser Circus, a military acrobatic group. Upon the outbreak of World War 2, the S.510 served in reserve squadrons only. The metropolitan reserves were mobilized into the II/561 based in Havre-Oteville. From January 18, 1940 over a period of weeks, the S.510s were replaced with Bloch MB.151 aircraft, the groupe changing designation to GC III/10. The displaced S.510s returned to their training role. Approximately ten S.510s had been sent to French North Africa where, by the Battle of France, they were mobilized into a fighter group, the GC III/5, but their age allowed them to be used for training flights only.

Twenty-seven examples were reported delivered to the Spanish Republican Air Force during the Spanish civil war (sometimes the number is 15), but there is no evidence that they were ever actually sent.

Variants

The S.510 saw service with the Armée de l'Air (60), and possibly the Spanish "Escuadrilla Internacional" (15-27?)

Total production (including prototypes): 61

Operators

Specifications (S.510)

{{aircraft specifications |plane or copter?= plane |jet or prop?= prop |ref={name of first source} |crew= one, pilot |capacity= |length main= 7.46 m |length alt= 24 ft 5.75 in |span main= 8.84 m |span alt= 29 ft 0 in |height main= 3.72 m |height alt= 12 ft 2.5 in |area main= 22.0 m² |area alt= 237 ft² |airfoil= |empty weight main= 1250 kg |empty weight alt= 2,755 lb |loaded weight main= 1830 kg |loaded weight alt= 4,034 lb |useful load main= |useful load alt= |max takeoff weight main= |max takeoff weight alt= |more general= |engine (prop)=Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs |type of prop=liquid-cooled V12 engine |number of props=1 |power main= 516 kW |power alt= 690 hp |power original= |max speed main= 370 km/h |max speed alt= 200 knots, 230 mph |cruise speed main= |cruise speed alt= |never exceed speed main= |never exceed speed alt= |stall speed main= |stall speed alt= |range main= 875 km |range alt= 472 nm, 543 miles |ceiling main= 10,500 m |ceiling alt= 34,650 ft |climb rate main= 14.85 m/s |climb rate alt= 2,920 ft/min |loading main= |loading alt= |power/mass main= |power/mass alt= |more performance= |armament=

|avionics= }}

References

  • Breffort, Dominique & Jouineau, André. French Aircraft from 1939 to 1942
  • Weal, Elke C., Weal, John A., Barker, Richard F. Combat Aircraft of World War Two

See also

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