SNCAC NC.410: Farman on floats

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes, don’t care how
  • Yes, as a researchable vehicle
  • Yes, as a premium/event/squadron vehicle
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In this suggestion we’ll be looking at another curious French interwar aircraft. The SNCAC NC.410.

The SNCAC NC.410 is a long range maritime patrol aircraft, intended for reconnaissance as well as destruction of enemy surface and underwater threats. The project was started in 1934 as a private initiative by Farman, who assumed that there would soon be a necessity for this type of aircraft. In 1935 they were proven right, the state issues a requirement for a long range combat and reconnaissance seaplane. Farman entered their design, which at the time still had the designation F.410. The admiralty was interested and ordered a prototype for the vehicle, as well as for 4 other competitors.
However, work was soon interrupted as the French aviation industry was nationalized. Farman was merged with Hanriot to form the Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Centre, also known as SNCAC. These changes brought a lot of discontent, strikes and even sabotage with them, which considerably slowed down the construction of the aircraft.

Only on July 10th 1939 would the newly designated NC.410 first take to the skies. At this time the aircraft was fitted with a temporary landing gear to operate from a regular airstrip. The aircraft was powered by 2 14N0/1 which delivered 940 hp each. However, these engines turned out to be extremely prone to overheating, and despite several attempts to resolve the issue, it persisted. In the end engineers gave up and replaced the engines with the more powerful Gnome & Rhône 14N2/3 model that produced 1180 hp.
On the 22nd of August, the aircraft was flown to the Toussus-le-Noble airfield at Marignane where it would be fitted with its set of floats. These floats were connected to the aircraft to a complex system of axles and shock absorbers which allowed the angle between them and the aircraft to varry somewhat. This system was able to absorb all kinds of shocks and asymmetrical forces that they would undergo in their planned service. It also removed the need for struts connecting the two floats together, which allowed the use of the central bomb bay for torpedoes.

While in Marignan, the aircraft also received its full set of armaments. This consisted of 3 defensive positions, all armed with 7.5mm machine guns: one in the nose, one power-driven turret in the dorsal position, and one retractable position at the bottom of the aircraft. The aircraft’s suspended armaments consisted of either 1x 1500kg torpedo, 2x 750kg or 670kg torpedoes (model 1926, diameter of 400mm), 5x K-type bombs of 225kg, 3x L-type bombs of 410kg or 2x 150kg I-type anti-ship bombs.
The plane made its first seaplane flight out of Berre Lake on the 12th of September. A set of flights totaling to 3 hours and 51 minutes were made. In between these flights small adjustments would be made to optimize the airplane. However, the faith of the airplane was already decided. With the start of the German invasion of France, the admiralty had decided that the program was too little, too late and already on the 9th of September had an order been sent out to the 3 remaining contenders to stop development. Instead they had decided to modify the land-based LeO 451s to carry torpedoes.

Nonetheless, the aircraft was handed over to the French navy on the 7th of October to undergo trials. It seems that these trials had hardly taken place. By the end of 1939, the aircraft had only registered another 3 flights. In the mean time the aircraft had been rejoined with one of two Bloch MB.480s, another competitor in the competition. It appears that the engines of the NC.410 were temporarily removed and mounted to the MB.480, which would help explain the lack of flights during this period. By the end of December 1939, the final contestant (the LN.10) also rejoined the 2 aircraft in Saint-Raphaël.
Eventually the plane would receive new engines (the less powerful Gnome-Rhône 14Knrs/Kors which provided 1010hp each). In March of 1940 the plane would fly again, continuing its trials. The plane would register another 20 hours and 22 minutes of flight time before being transferred to Biscarrosse on the 18th of May. This was a 3 hour and 50 minute flight during which some tests were undertaken with, among others, the radio and autopilot.
In mid-June of that year, it was clear that France was going to lose to the invading Germans. The navy started to move its assets to the colonies in Africa. on June 23, the NC.410 was first moved to Balaruc in the south of France after which it continued to Béjaïa in Algeria. For this flight the aircraft was carrying a bunch of important documents and archives as well as several highly placed French officials, among Giraud, Vedel, Charbonnier and Constum.
This was not the end for the aircraft yet, as it made several more flights between bases in Algeria and Tunisia. It was eventually in the latter the aircraft would be seized by the Germans near the end of 1942. The plane met its end in 1943 when it was destroyed in an allied bombardment of its base.

General Characteristics
Crew: 4
Length: 17.70m
Width: 26.80m
Height: 6.80m

  • 2x Gnome & Rhône 14N2/3 providing 1180 hp OR
  • 2x Gnome-Rhône 14Knrs/Kors providing 1010 hp OR
  • 2 Gnome & Rhône 14N0/1 providing 940 hp

Max speed: 320 km/h at 1500m
Service ceiling: 5500m
Range: 2000km

Suspended armament:

  • 1x 1500kg torpedo (modification of type 24 torpedo?)
  • 2x 750kg torpedoes
  • 2x 670 kg type 26DA torpedoes
  • 5x 225kg type K bombs
  • 3x 410kg type L bombs
  • 2x 150kg type I anti-ship bombs

Defensive armament:

  • Nose mounted turret with 1x 7.5mm machine gun
  • Dorsal turret with 1x or 2x 7.5mm machine guns
  • Ventral position with 1x or 2x 7.5mm machine guns

Place in-game
Now that we have the French navy in-game, this aircraft could be a valuable addition to provide air-support in naval battles. The powerful torpedo armament combined with a variety of bombs and even special anti-ship bombs make it a good asset to French lineups. It’s ability to carry (heavy) regular bombs also makes it useful in both ground- and air-battles. Playstyle would most likely be similar to other Farman designs that we already have in game. Being a slow heavy-hitting bomber with limited self-defense options. If put at a low enough battle rating, these defensive positions can prove to be somewhat effective against enemy fighters. All-in-all it’s a fun option with some history for the lowest ranks of the French tree, and I’m sure enthusiasts of French aviation will be happy to see in-game.

WWII French bombs
France Torpedoes of France - NavWeaps
Magazine Aviation Francaise 2006