Loire 46

The Loire 46 was a French single-seater fighter aircraft of the 1930s. A high-winged monoplane designed and built by Loire Aviation, it was purchased by the French Air Force. It was also supplied to the Spanish Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War, but was almost out of service by the outbreak of World War II.


Loire 46
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Loire Aviation
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1934
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
France 1936 1940 View
Spain View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Loire Aviation 61 View

The Loire 46 was an improved modification of two previous Loire fighters—the Loire 43 and 45. Although improved, it resembled the earlier machines retaining their gull mono-wing configuration, open cockpit, and fixed landing gear. The first of five prototype Loire 46s flew in September 1934. It demonstrated excellent handling characteristics and 60 production aircraft were ordered by the Armée de l'Air.

The initial machines arrived at fighter Escadrilles in August 1936. In September 1936, the five prototype Loire 46s were sent to the Republican forces during the Spanish Civil War.

By the beginning of World War II, the Loire 46's gull wing configuration was recognized as obsolete and most of these fighters had been relegated to Armée de l'Air training schools, where they were used as advanced trainers. However, one fighter Escadrille was still equipped with the Loire 46 during the early weeks of the war. Their performance against modern German fighters was predictable.

Role Trainer/fighter
Manufacturer Loire Aviation
First flight 1 September 1934
Introduction 1936
Retired 1940
Status retired
Primary user Armee de l'Air
Number built 61


General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 7.88 m (25 ft 10¼ in)
  • Wingspan: 11.83 m (38 ft 9¾ in)
  • Height: 4.13 m (13 ft 6? in)
  • Wing area: 19.50 m² (209.9 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,450 kg (3,197 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 2,100 kg (4,630 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Gnome-Rhône 14Kfs 14-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engine, 694 kW (930 hp)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 370 km/h (200 knots, 230 mph)
  • Range: 750 km (466 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 11,750 m[3] (38,550 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 12.09 meters per second (2,411.76 feet per minute)
  • Climb to 3,000 m (9,840 ft): 3.3 min

Armament

  • Guns: 4× fixed forward-firing 7.5 mm (0.295 inch) MAC 1934 machine guns mounted in the wings

End notes