Dewoitine D.500

The Dewoitine D.500 series were all-metal, open-cockpit, fixed-undercarriage monoplane fighter aircraft, used by the French Air Force up to World War II as well as being exported to several countries. Introduced in 1935, the design was soon replaced by a new generation of fighter aircraft with enclosed cockpits and retractable undercarriage.

Dewoitine D.500
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Dewoitine
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1932
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Dewoitine 381 View
The D.500, designed by Émile Dewoitine, was based on C1 specifications issued in 1930 by the French Air Ministry, and was to be a replacement for the Nieuport 62. The prototype first flew on 18 June 1932. In November 1933, sixty aircraft were ordered, with the first production D.500 flying on 29 November 1934. Aircraft armed with a 20 mm cannon firing through the propeller hub - instead of two nose-mounted machine guns - received the designation D.501.

The D.500 and D.501 entered service in July 1935, with the more powerful D.510 joining them in October 1936. They were the primary fighters employed by the Armée de l'Air until their replacement by the Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 in 1939. As of September 1939, the D.500/501 had been relegated to regional defense and training squadrons. At the start of World War II, D.510s were still in operation with three Groupes de Chasse (Fighter Groups), two Escadrilles Régionale de Chasse (Regional Fighter Squadrons in North Africa), and two Escadrilles de Aéronautique Navale (Naval Aviation Squadrons).

In Morocco, one escadrille of D.510s (ERC571) was activated in November 1939. These planes lacked cannon. In May 1940, this escadrille merged with ERC 573 to form GC III/4. This groupe was disbanded by the end of August 1940. At Dakar, one groupe designated GC I/6, remained in service until being replaced by Curtiss H-75s at the end of 1941.

Fourteen D.501s (named D.501L), originally sold to Lithuania, and two D.510s ostensibly intended for the Emirate of Hedjaz saw service in the Spanish Civil War, arriving in mid-1936. When the French government found out about the delivery of the D.510s, they demanded the return of the 12Y engines. The aircraft were then refitted with Klimov M-100s (a Soviet-built copy of the 12Y) from a Tupolev SB bomber. The aircraft served with the Republican forces. The two 510s were posted to the 71st Coastal Defense Group. Neither engaged enemy fighters. In 1938, one was irreparably damaged while landing and the other was destroyed on a runway during a bombing attack.

In 1938, 18 Chinese D.510s saw action against the Japanese, including the defense of Chengdu and the Chinese wartime capital Chongqing.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 7.94 m (26 ft 1 in)
  • Wingspan: 12.09 m (39 ft 8 in)
  • Height: 2.42 m (7 ft 11 in)
  • Wing area: 16.50 m (177.61 ft)
  • Empty weight: 1496 kg (3,298 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1929 kg (4,253 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs V12 engine, 860 hp (640 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 402 km/h (217 knots, 250 mph) at 5000 m (16,405 ft)
  • Range: 700 km (380 nm, 435 mi)
  • Service ceiling 11000 m (36,090 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 14.85 m/s (9,600 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 117 kg/m (23.9 lb/ft)
  • Power/mass: 330 W/kg (0.20 hp/lb)
  • Time to altitude: 1.32 min to 1000 m (3,280 ft)


  • Guns:
    • 1 x 20 mm Hispano-Suiza HS9 cannon, 60 rounds
    • 2 x 7.5 mm MAC 1934 machine guns, 300 rounds each

End notes