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Arsenal VG-70

France (1948)
Picture of Arsenal VG-70 Jet-Powered Swept-Wing Technology Demonstrator

The Arsenal VG-70 jet-powered, swept-wing aircraft was utilized as a technology demonstrator over its short flying career for France.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Arsenal VG-70 Jet-Powered Swept-Wing Technology Demonstrator.  Entry last updated on 5/15/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The French aero industry suffered more than most due to the German invasion of May 1940. As a result, its climb to respectability was higher than most during the post-war years as the nation struggled to revitalize its military prowess. The Arsenal VG-70 was one of the stepping stones towards respectability and developing France's first frontline jet-powered fighter. The type served solely as a technology demonstrator during its short time aloft but nonetheless influenced other designs still to come.

Arsenal de l'Aeronautique was a French government aircraft maker founded in 1934 and went on to manage a healthy stable of prototype aircraft in the period prior to World War 2 (1939-1945) while it continued its work into the mid-1950s before being absorbed as part of Nord Aviation. The "VG" series of prop-powered fighters was a long-running program that was largely interrupted by the German invasion though some of the concern's programs were allowed to continue under Vichy French rule - none progressed into tangible forms for the most part. After the war in 1945, French engineers were back at work feverishly designing and developing all-new aircraft creations - particularly as the turbojet engine was here to stay and the jet fighter meant the future for French air power.

The VG -70 marked a technology step for the company with the intent to research jet-powered, high-speed flight utilizing swept-back wing mainplanes. To accomplish the task, engineers drew up the most compact form possible around the German Junkers Jumo 004 (004-B2 model version) turbojet engine of 1,980 lb thrust and applied swept-wing research from captured German data. The resulting aircraft was a sleek, metal-bodied aircraft with high-wing mainplanes, a low ground profile and traditional tail configuration and VG-70 was its designator. Performance specifications were promising with speeds estimated over 500 miles per hour.

Metal was used throughout the fuselage of the aircraft but wood was the primary material featured in the tail unit. The wing mainplanes were "wet" as they housed most of the needed fuel stores for the thirsty turbojet powerplant. The engine was aspirated through an intake formed along the ventral side of the fuselage - below and aft of the cockpit floor. The cockpit itself was positioned well-forward in the fuselage with good views through the lightly-framed canopy. A tricycle undercarriage was used with the single-wheeled nose leg at the extreme forward-end of the aircraft, retracting rearwards. The main legs were seated under the wings and retracted inward towards the fuselage centerline.
The VG-70 was put up for public display at the 1946 Paris Air Show and its formal ground testing began the following year which led to a first flight recorded on June 23rd, 1948. The aircraft performed admirably well despite the low output power produced by the Jumo engine and became just the second French-originated, jet-powered aircraft to fly. Despite the promising nature of the VG-70, its flying career was extremely short - limited to just five flights in all - as the project was formally ended during 1949. Attention had turned to an all-new jet-powered design utilizing the lessons learned in the development of the VG-70 for this development became something of an aerodynamic and mechanical dead-end - the airframe held little modification flexibility in terms of taking on newer, larger engine installations that offered increased output power.

It was intended that a related design, the VG-71, carry a Rolls-Royce "Derwent" turbojet engine of 3,500 lb thrust output but this would have forced an entire revision of the VG-70 fuselage - a project not worth the commitment in time and funding. The VG-80 was to carry a Rolls-Royce "Nene" but this initiative also fell to naught - leading to the VG-90, a jet-powered, carrier-based interceptor development.

The VG-70 managed a maximum speed of 497 miles per hour during testing. It featured a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 7,275 lb and sported a length of 9.7 meters, a wingspan of 8.5 meters and a height of 2.3 meters.

Other performance specs listed on this page are estimates.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (497mph).

    Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Arsenal VG-70's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: France
Year: 1948
Type: Jet-Powered Swept-Wing Technology Demonstrator
Manufacturer(s): Arsenal de l'Aeronautique - France
Production: 1
Status: Cancelled
Global Operators:
France (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Arsenal VG-70 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
31.82 ft


Meters
9.7 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
27.89 ft


Meters
8.5 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
7.55 ft


Meters
2.3 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
5,071 lb


Kilograms
2,300 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
7,275 lb


Kilograms
3,300 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Junkers Jumo 004-B2 turbojet engine developing 1,980lb of thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
497 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
800 kph


Knots
432 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
311 mi


Kilometers
500 km


Nautical Miles
270 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
42,651 ft


Meters
13,000 m


Miles
8.08 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
1,600 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
488 m/min

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• VG-70 - Base Series Designation; sole example completed.