Breguet 521

The Breguet Br.521 Bizerte was a long-range military reconnaissance flying boat built by the French aviation company Breguet. 

Breguet 521
Class Aircraft
Type Reconnaissance
Manufacturer Breguet
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1933
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
France 1935 View
Germany View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Breguet 34 View

A biplane of all-metal construction, with three engines mounted in nacelles between the upper and lower wings, the aircraft was a development of the Breguet S.8/2 Calcutta, which itself was a militarised licensed version of the British Short S.8 Calcutta. It was built to meet a French Navy specification for a long-range flying boat issued in 1932, competing against proposals from Latécoère (the 582), Lioré et Olivier (the unbuilt LeO H42) and Loire Aviation (the Loire 70). The first prototype made its maiden flight on 11 September 1933, with it being purchased (and an order placed for two more on 4 January 1934.

A series of small orders for production Bizertes were placed, starting with an order for three in 1934, with the last order, for 12 (nine of which were later cancelled) being placed in September 1939. In total, 37 Bizertes were built, with the last three not being completed until after the French surrender in June 1940.

In 1935 a civil version - the Breguet Br.530 Saigon - was produced.


  • Breguet 521.01 : Prototype.
  • Breguet 521 Bizerte : Long-range flying boat, powered by three Gnome-Rhône 14Kirs 14 cylinder two-row radial engines or three Gnome-Rhône 14N radial engines.
  • Breguet 522 : Re-engined version of Breguet 521. Three 900 hp (670 kW) Hispano-Suiza 14AA radial engines. One built.
  • Breguet 530 Saigon : Civil version of the Breguet 521. Three Hispano-Suiza 12Ybr liquid-cooled inlines. Two built.

After the first flight in September 1933, 37 aircraft were produced, which served with five squadrons of the French Navy from 1935 until 1940. Two squadrons remained in service with the Vichy Navy after the armistice, at Berre in Southern France and Karouba in Tunisia, with six aircraft each.[5] The German Luftwaffe purchased a number of Bizertes for its Seenotdienst (Air-Sea Rescue) service in 1940, which (in addition to the three undelivered Bizertes) it used to equip a squadron based at Brest on the French Atlantic coast. When Vichy France was occupied by the Germans following the Allied invasion of North Africa in November 1942, the remaining Vichy Bizertes were taken over by the Luftwaffe, allowing further Seenotdienst units to be established at Biscarrosse and Berre. Following the Allied Invasion of Southern France in August 1944, one of the Luftwaffe Bizertes was discovered by French forces and used for communications duties until spares ran out.

Role Flying boat
Manufacturer Breguet
First flight 11 September 1933
Introduction 1935
Primary users French Navy
Number built 37
Developed from Short S.8 Calcutta

General characteristics

  • Crew: Eight
  • Length: 20.48 m (67 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 35.18 m (115 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 7.50 m (24 ft 6 in)
  • Wing area: 162.6 m (1,750 ft)
  • Empty weight: 9,470 kg (20,878 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 14,669 kg (32,271 lb )
  • Max takeoff weight: 16,600 kg (36,597 lb)
  • Powerplant: 3 x Gnome-Rhone 14Kirs or 14N-11 14-cylinder radial engines, 671 kW (900 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 243 km/h (131 knots, 151 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 200 km/h (108 knots, 124 mph )
  • Range: 2,100 km (1,134 nm, 1,305 mi)
  • Service ceiling 6,000 m (19,685 ft)
  • Wing loading: 90.2 kg/m (18.4 lb/ft)
  • Power/mass: 137 W/kg (0.0837 hp/lb)
  • Climb to 2,000 m (6,560 ft): 8 min 46 sec


  • Guns: 5 x 7.5 mm (.30 in) Darne machine guns
  • Bombs: 300 kg (660 lb) of bombs

End notes