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  • Sud-Ouest SO 4050 Vautour Fighter-Bomber Aircraft


    The capable French Sud-Ouest Vautour line would later be replaced by the more advanced Dassault Mirage F1 series fighter jets.

     Updated: 6/19/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com


    These limited-production aircraft served with little distinction in French hands but were better served as night fighters and attack aircraft by the Israeli Air Force in later years. The aircraft is oft-noted for its design similarities to the Soviet Yakovlev Yak-28 but it became a very different aircraft altogether. The system was produced in only three mission-specific variants and formed the core of Soviet deterrent in France during the Cold War. The portly-looking Vautour (meaning "Vulture") served for an impressive 15 years with the French Air Force eventually being replaced by the more capable Mirage F1 series.

    The Vautour was initially derived from half-scale research glider testing in powered and engine-less forms. From there, a full scale prototype was born with the designation of S.O. 4000 to which these were fitted with Hispano-Suiza turbojets (x2), license-production copies of the British Rolls-Royce Nene. With the arrival of the official designation, S.O. 4050, the Vautour was produced in three prototypes that included two 2-seat versions and a one single-seat version. the initial two-seat variant was designed as a night fighter while the second appeared as a single-seat ground-attack derivative. The final prototype was a two-seat dedicated bomber. All versions differed mainly from one another by their selection of powerplants. Engines were later standardized for production in the SNECMA Atar 101E 7,716 pound thrust engine regardless of dedicated role.


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    Sud-Ouest SO 4050 Vautour IIN Technical Specifications


    Service Year: 1958
    Type: Fighter-Bomber Aircraft
    National Origin: France
    Manufacturer(s): Sud-Ouest (Sud-Est) - France
    Production Total: 149



    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)


    Operating Crew: 2
    Length: 51.08 feet (15.57 meters)
    Width: 49.51 feet (15.09 meters)
    Height: 14.76 feet (4.50 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 22,046 lb (10,000 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 44,092 lb (20,000 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance


    Engine(s): 2 x SNECMA Atar 101E-3 turbojet engines developing 7,716 lb of thrust each.

    Maximum Speed: 687 mph (1,105 kph; 597 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,988 miles (3,200 km)
    Service Ceiling: 49,213 feet (15,000 meters; 9.32 miles)
    Rate-of-Climb: 11,800 feet-per-minute (3,597 m/min)

    Armament / Mission Payload


    STANDARD:
    4 x 30mm cannons

    OPTIONAL:
    240 x Unguided rockets
    2 x air-to-air missiles OR bombs

    Global Operators / Customers


    France; Israel

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)


    Vautour - Base Series Designation

    S.O.M. 1 Un-powered Half-Scale Research Glider

    S.O.M. 2 - Powered Half-Scale Research Glider; fitted with Rolls-Royce Derwent turbojet engine.

    S.O. 4000 - Full Scale Prototype; fitted with 2 x Hispano-Suiza license-built Rolls-Royce-brand Nene turbojet engines.

    S.O. 4050 - Series Designation; single (1 built) and dual (2 built) seat prototypes constructed - 3 total; fitted with 2 x SNECMA Atar 101B turbojet engines; third prototype fitted with Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire engines; 6 x pre-production aircraft.

    S.O. 4050 Vautour II-A - 30 examples produced; fitted with 2 x SNECMA Atar 101E turbojet engines of 7,716lbs; single seat ground attack version.

    S.O. 4050 Vautour IIB - 40 examples produced; two-seat bomber variant.

    S.O. 4050 Vautour IIN - 70 examples produced; night-fighter variant with specialized equipment.

    S.O. 4050 Vautour II1N - II-N models when fitted with slab-type tailplanes.