SE 203 Aquilon, the French modification of the Sea Venom

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I would like to suggest a nice line-up filler for Rank V of the French aviation tech tree : the French unique modification of the Sea Venom, the Sud-Est SE 203 “Aquilon”. This plane served for several years the french army as the main carrier-borne fighter of the french navy. It is the missing link between the latest piston aircraft and the F8-E Crusader which served on French aircraft carriers.

After the failure of developing quickly a native jet design after the end of WW2, the French government acquired the license to produce the British Sea Venom in 1949. The production of these aircraft was given to the “Société Nationale de Construction Aéronautique du Sud-Est”, SNCASE. Several improvements occurred during the different batches of production in the following years :

  • The first batch used British-made parts, and the plane was produced under the name of SE 201 “Aquilon”. (25 built)
  • The second batch introduced an ejection seat and an american AN/APQ-65 radar, and fully used french made parts this time. The new denomination became : SE 202. (25 built)
  • The last batch brought much more extensive modifications under the name of SE 203. This the one I am suggesting. The first big change is that this variant became a single-seat fighter, while all previous models were two seaters. Other improvements were a new all-weather AN/APQ-94 radar and the ability to fire Air-to-Surface and Air-to-Air guided missiles. This last variant offers the better performances but also is the most unique of all Aquilons. (40 built)

General characteristics

Crew: 1

Length: 11.20 m

Wingspan: 13.07 m

Height: 2.60 m

Wing area: 26 m2

Empty weight: 4450 kg

Max weight: 6800 kg

Powerplant: 1 × De Havilland (Fiat) Ghost 48, developing 2270 kg of thrust

Performance

Maximum speed: 1055 km/h (Mach 0.825) at sea level

Range: 450 km

Rate of climb: 16m/s from start to 12 000m

Service ceiling: 13,720 m

Armament

4 × 20 mm Hispano-Suiza Hispano Mk V cannon / M50 (150 rounds per gun)

air-to-surface suspended weaponry :

8 x 5" HVAR rocket or 8 x Matra T10 rocket or 2 x AS.30 Air-to-Surface missile or 2 x AS.20 Air-to-Surface missile or 900 kg of unspecified ordinance
Air-to-air suspended weaponry :

2 x AA.20 manually guided Air-to-air missile or 2 x R511 SARH Air-to-Air missile

Sources :

Armement et Ve République, fin des années 50 - fin des années 60 , Maurice Vaisse

Mon Chevalier du Ciel : Témoignage, Marianne Guillemin

5 Likes

+1, im honestly surprised we haven’t seen this yet since it is basically just a slightly modified French Sea Venom, would be nice to see as an 8.0/8.3 fighter for France

1 Like

+1, definitely seems like a must-have that’d be great in both ARB and GRB
Seems like an 8.3 or 8.7 vehicle depending on how good the AS.30 and R511 are (I’m not particularly familiar with either except for what the wiki says)

2 Likes

+1, would be a great fighter for France

1 Like

I’m in, craptastic early AAMs on a low BR airframe would be fun.

2 Likes

It wouldn’t terribly break the game. AA20’s are MCLOS and thus quite unweildy, while R.511’s are sluggish, and the radar they are connected to is very vulnerable to losing lock due to ground interference or, for the few aircraft with countermeasures at 8.3/8.7, vulnerable to chaff

1 Like