Voisin III

The Voisin III was a French two-seat bomber and ground attack aircraft of World War I, one of the first of its kind. It is also notable for being the first aircraft in the war to win an aerial fight and shoot down an enemy aircraft.

It was a pusher biplane, developed by Voisin in 1914 as a more powerful version of the 1912 Voisin I design. It also incorporated a light steel frame which made it more durable when operating out of the temporary wartime military aviation airfields.

Voisin III
Class Aircraft
Type Bomber
Manufacturer Voisin
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1914
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Belgium View
France 1914 1918 View
Ireland View
Italy View
Romania View
Russia (USSR) View
Ukraine View
Yugoslavia (Serbia) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Voisin 800 View

The first Voisin III was powered by a single 120-horsepower Salmson M9 engine, later the 150 hp P9 and R9. It had a range of 200 km, top speed of 105–113 km/h and ceiling of 3,350 m–6,000 m (sources vary).

Earlier aircraft were armed with a Hotchkiss M1914 machine gun on the fuselage operated by a standing observer, later models had 37 mm or 47 mm guns for ground attack. It could carry up to 55 kg, 60 kg or 150 kg of bombs (sources vary).

Early in the war, the Voisin III became the most common Allied bomber. Significant numbers were purchased by the French Air Force and the Imperial Russian Air Force. Russia ordered over 800 from France and built a further 400 under license at DUX in Moscow. Around 100 were built in Italy, and 50 in the United Kingdom, while smaller numbers were purchased by Belgium and Romania.

Like many other aircraft of its era, Voisin III was a multi-purpose aircraft. Its missions included reconnaissance, artillery spotting, training, day and night bombing as well as ground attack.

Role Biplane
Manufacturer Voisin
Designer Gabriel Voisin
First flight 1914
Introduction 1914
Retired before 1918
Primary user Aéronautique Militaire
Number built over 800
Developed from Voisin I

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 9.50 m (31 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 14.74 m (48 ft 4 in)
  • Height: 2.95 m (9 ft 8 in)
  • Wing area: 49.7 m² (534 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 950 kg (2,094 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 1,350 kg (2,976 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Salmson M.9 water-cooled radial engine, 97 kW (130 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 105 km/h (57 knots, 65 mph) at sea level
  • Range: 199.5km (124mi)
  • Endurance: 4½ hours
  • Service ceiling: 3,500m (11,485ft)
  • Climb to 1,000 m (3,300 ft): 12 min
  • Climb to 2,000 m (6,600 ft): 30 min


  • Guns: 1× .303 in Lewis gun
  • Bombs: up to 91 kg (200 lb) of bombs

End notes