Hello everyone, in this post we’ll be looking at the penultimate version of the Bréguet Vultur, the Bréguet 462
The Bréguet 462 has its roots in the earlier Bréguet 410. This earlier aircraft was built as a response to a French requirement for a multipurpose combat plane. In French this type was described as BCR, which stands for “Bombardement, Chasseur, Reconaissance”. What this means is that the French were looking for a single aircraft that could function as a bomber, fighter and reconnaissance aircraft. While a combination of such elements seems rather feasible in the current day and age, back in the late 1920s -early 1930 in France, this was very hard.
The resulting proposals were exceedingly bad, the Bréguet 410 being no exception to that rule. As a result, the French went for the least bad design, which was the Amiot 143. Bréguet was however not ready to give up yet.
A later requirement, once again for a BCR type aircraft, saw Bréguet try again. This time they offered the 460 Vultur. The Vultur was based on the 410, but had been modernized dramatically across the board. Upon flight-testing however, it was found out that the 460 was unable to reach the required speed of 400km/h, leading to a lack of interest from French officials.
Bréguet once again returned to the drawing board and reworked the 460 model yet again. More powerful engines were fitted and fuselage was redesigned to be more aerodynamic. The resulting aircraft was the Bréguet 462.
The 462 had its first flight near the end of 1936 and did manage to reach the 400km/h mark that it had been designed to reach. It was then entered in a tender to find a new fast-bomber aircraft for the French Air Force. Unfortunately for it, it would have strong competition in this contest as the other entries included the Amiot 340 and LeO 45. While the 462 was an excellent aircraft, the French Air Force saw more promise in the other contenders and decided to invest in them instead. In hindsight a poor choice, as both would suffer significant teething issues that would mean their first flight wouldn’t happen for another 3 years. By the time they entered production, it was too little, too late.
Had the French chosen to instead produce the Bréguet 462, they would’ve likely had a decently capable aircraft that could’ve already been produced in great numbers by the time war broke out. Unfortunately for Bréguet, the story of the 462 ends with a “what-if”. Only 4 aircraft had been produced, 1 was sold to Japan, another to Republican Spain, and the final 2 were used by Bréguet for testing and by Vichy France for various missions. Of these final 2, the last one was retired in 1942.
As mentioned before, the Bréguet 462 was an all-metal, low-wing monoplane. Its final iteration was powered by a pair of Gnome-Rhône 14 O/N 1 engines which produced 940 hp each which were coupled with variable-trim propellers. These were capable of propelling the aircraft to a top speed of 402 km/h. The first prototype had been powered by the less powerful Gnome-Rhône Kdrs.
A noteworthy other change between the first and second prototype was another minor redesign of the nose. The second (and most interesting) prototype has a glass panel that continues onto the chin/belly of the aircraft while the first prototype (on the above image) has glass that stops when it reaches the chin. The second prototype can be identified by its identification “F-AKIB”.
The aircraft had a suite of defensive weapons that were placed in 3 stations, a position in the nose, a ventral position and finally a dorsal position. Both the dorsal and nose positions could be equipped with either a MAC 1934 machine gun or a 20mm Hispano autocannon. The ventral position was always equipped with a single MAC 1934 machine gun.
The bombload could go as high as 1500 kg and undoubtedly consisted of the same 50, 100, 200 and 500 kg bombs that could be found on other French bombers of the same era.
- Width: 20.5 m
- Length: 14.8 m
- Height: 4.1 m
- Gross weight: 8200 kg
- Crew: 4
- Maximum speed: 402 km/h
- Service ceiling: 8300 m
- Range: 3100 km.
- Nose position with either 1x MAC 1934 (450 rounds) or 20mm Hispano autocannon
- Dorsal position with either 1x MAC 1934 (450 rounds) or 20mm Hispano autocannon
- Ventral position with 1x MAC 1934 machine gun (450 rounds)
- Capacity to take up to 1500 kg of bombs, these were likely 50, 100, 200 and 500 kg bombs.
I believe that this aircraft would be an excellent addition to rank 1 of the French bomber line. France could do with some extra bombers in this rank, and the Bréguet 462 would fit in perfectly. It’s a unique looking aircraft with performance similar to that of bombers in other nations of the same rank and BR. It would also be a more conventional start to the bomber line than the current Potez aircraft, and be more in-line with the aircraft that follow.
Breguet 460 Vultur
Bréguet 460 Vultur/Breguet 462 Bréguet - Coletti's Combat Aircraft