Sud-Ouest SO.6020 Espadon: French post-war prototype interceptor

The Sud-Ouest SO.6020 Espadon (Swordfish) was a French post-war prototype interceptor designed and built by SNCASO during the late 1940s. The French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) judged the design a failure despite some records being set and cancelled plans to put it into service in 1951. Only four aircraft were built and they were later modified to serve as testbeds for the mixed rocket and turbojet-powered SNCASO SO.9000 Trident program. Only one badly damaged aircraft survives.

Designer Lucien Servanty and his team at SNCASO began work on jet-powered fighters in 1945 and submitted a design proposal that the company designated as the SO.6020 when the French Air Force issued a specification for a single-seat assault fighter-interceptor on 25 March 1946. The aircraft had to have a speed in excess of 900 kilometers per hour (559 mph) at an altitude of 10,000 meters (32,808 ft), an endurance of one hour with 15 minutes in combat, a take-off distance less than 1,200 meters (3,937 ft), a cockpit armored against 12.7-millimeter (0.5 in) shells, and an armament of six 20-millimeter (0.8 in) or four 30-millimeter (1.2 in) autocannon. The Air Force ordered three prototypes on 28 June, with plans to order more than 230 interceptors if the aircraft satisfied its requirements.

As built, the aircraft was a metal-skinned mid-wing monoplane powered by a 22.2-kilonewton (5,000 lbf) Rolls-Royce Nene turbojet engine licence-built by Hispano-Suiza. It had a one-spar swept wing fitted with leading-edge slats, slotted flaps and ailerons. The wide-track tricycle landing gear retracted into the fuselage while the main landing gear struts retracted into the bottom of the wing. The canopy of the cockpit was unusually tall because the Air Force decided to provide the pilot with a parachute despite the Heinkel ejection seat. The SO.6020 had a total fuel capacity of 2,150 litres (470 imp gal; 570 US gal) divided amongst four fuel tanks.

SNCASO (abbreviated from Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Ouest, or commonly, Sud-Ouest) was a French aircraft manufacturer.

Created during 1936 as one of seven nationalised aeronautical manufacturing companies, SNCASO became a key French aircraft manufacturer following the end of the Second World War. It produced numerous innovation aircraft; amongst the company’s more notable projects was the first French jet aircraft, the Sud-Ouest Triton, and the first indigenously-developed French helicopter, the Sud-Ouest Djinn.

On 1 March 1957, SNCASO merged with another French nationalised aviation company, SNCASE, (Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est), to form Sud Aviation.

Old wings (Toulouse)

Read more: Aircrafts with Clark Perez ...