In the 1950s, a rebuilding French military industry placed its focus on missile-carrying combat aircraft and one product of the period attempted to mate the "SS.10" wire-guided anti-tank missile with an airframe developed specifically to carry it in the "Potez 75" aircraft. The missile's design was credited to one Jean Bastien-Thiry of Nord Aviation and was an early-form dedicated tank-killer appearing at a time when the enemy of the West was the Soviet Union and its feared tank formations set to spell a future doom for most of Europe. Some 30,000 of these missiles were eventually produced and went on to see service with the French and American (as the "MGM-21A") militaries for its time. This missile directly spawned the Potez 75 aircraft designed to carry it - but this aircraft became only a one-off prototype that did not enter serial production with any world power.
The resulting aircraft's fuselage was slab-sided with the dedicated "missile operator" seated in the nose section and the pilot aft of him in a raised position. The two cockpits were, therefore, of stepped arrangement and had individual, lightly-framed canopies offering fairly decent views out-of-the-cockpit (the pilot's position initially had an open-air emplacement). A battery of machine guns were fixed into the nose section ahead of the missile operator. The wing mainplanes were straight-edged with clipped tips and the twin-boom arrangement extended from each wing's trailing edges aft, each boom concluding with a vertical tail fin at the rear and these further joined together by a single horizontal plane overhead. As a prototype, the tricycle undercarriage (faired over for aerodynamic efficiency) was fixed in flight (non-retractable). The aircraft was completed in all-metal construction.
Rather uniquely for a combat aircraft of this time, the Potez 75 had its single engine fit driving a three-bladed, variable-pitch propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in a "pusher" configuration - this clearing the frontal section of the aircraft for unobstructed views and fixed, forward-facing armament. The engine of choice became the in-house Potez 8D.32 V8 inverted air-cooled piston engine of 480 horsepower.
Proposed standard, fixed armament became 4 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine guns installed into the nose. In addition to this, the aircraft was to carry several of the Nord anti-tank missiles.
Dimensions of the aircraft included a running length of 30 feet, a wingspan of 43 feet, and a height of 8.9 feet. Empty weight was 4,000lb against an MTOW of 5,300lb.
A first-flight in prototype form was finally had on June 10th, 1953 but subsequent testing revealed the aircraft to be a poor missile-carrying / missile-launching platform. As such, to save the aircraft its original over-battlefield role was changed to that of "ground-attack" and provisions were introduced for carrying up to 8 x Air-to-surface rockets, these to be held under the wings. In this revised form, the prototype was pressed into active, direct-combat service in 1956 with French forces during the bloody Algerian War (1954-1962) and eventually proved its worth - resulting in a pre-production order covering fifteen airframes. However, in light of a dwindling French defense budget the following year, the new, rather novel, combat aircraft was nixed from procurement and its development ultimately stopped. It flew for only a short time later into 1958 at which point it crash-landed in September of that year and was subsequently dismantled and destroyed.
Production 1 Units
Potez - France
- Close-Air Support (CAS)
- X-Plane / Developmental
30.02 ft (9.15 m)
42.98 ft (13.1 m)
8.86 ft (2.7 m)
3,968 lb (1,800 kg)
5,291 lb (2,400 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Potez 75 production model)
1 x Potez 8D.32 V8 inverted air-cooled piston engine developing 480 horsepower driving a propeller unit in pusher configuration.
171 mph (275 kph; 148 kts)
26,247 feet (8,000 m; 4.97 miles)
435 miles (700 km; 378 nm)
1,600 ft/min (488 m/min)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Potez 75 production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
4 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine guns in nose section.
8 x Air-to-surface rockets under wings.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Potez 75 production model)
Model 75 - Base Series Designation; single flyable example completed before project's end.
Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of a possible 100.
Relative Maximum Speed
This entry's maximum listed speed (171mph).
Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
Potez 75 operational range when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Span
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
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