Breguet Br.480 (series)
Four-Engined Heavy Strategic Bomber Prototype
The Breguet Br.482 strategic heavy bomber initiative for post-war France produced just two prototypes.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
With the end of World War 2 (1939-1945), French aero-industry found itself with the daunting task of rebuilding. The French Air Force lacked what other powers of the day championed, namely a four-engined bomber of considerable range and war load to pound enemy infrastructure to infinity. At the end of the conflict, it was left with just two local options - the unfinished Heinkel He 274 (having been built on French soil at a French factory) and the Breguet Be.480/482, a pre-war four-engined "heavy" with roots in a late-1936 French Air Ministry requirement.
The requirement of December 1936 called for a medium-class, twin-engined bombing platform capable of reaching out to 1,600 miles (3,200 miles ferry) while carrying a war load near 2,200lb. Breguet went to work and unveiled its Br.480 prototype, a twin-engined type featuring a twin-finned tail, low-mounted monoplane wings, and a single engine to a wing. Heavy glazing was used at the nose section and the fuselage was given a deep appearance. Initially, the bomber was to be powered by 2 x Gnome Rhone 14L air-cooled radial piston engines of 1,225 horsepower (each) driving three-bladed propeller units.
From the Br.480 to the Br.481 and Br.482
In any event, the abandonment of this powerplant led to a revision of the bomber to use 2 x Hispano-Suiza 12Y series engines with smaller-area mainplanes. However, this proposed model, the "Br.481", was ultimately abandoned in favor of a four-engined configuration - the "Br.482" (also "Br.482 B4") - now powered by 4 x Hispano-Suiza 12Z engines of 1,350 horsepower each (production Br.481s were to carry the "Br.481 B4" designator; a planned long-ranged record-setting version was to become the "Br.481 Raid").
At least two prototypes were being worked on when the war turned against France's favor in May 1940. The German invasion of the country, and its ultimate conquering of France, derailed many-a-French aircraft project including the Br.480/Br.482. The same month of the invasion, the two prototypes were hastily flown away from the hotbed that was Paris - one (the second prototype) ended its flight in the southwest of France and the other (the first prototype) made the cross-Mediterranean journey to Algeria. The first prototype (Br.482 No.1) eventually fell victim to German aerial bombs in 1942 as the Allies advanced to ultimately take control of the North African Theater. The second (Br.482 No.2) manage to exist, amazingly under German noses, near occupied Biarritz outside Anglet, France (near the Spanish border).
In time, the Germans were forced back to German soil, leaving French aero-industry to breathe a sigh of relief and recommit to the work of rebuilding the depleted French Air Force. This meant that still-existing projects, which managed to survive the war like the Br. 482 did, received new leases on life. However, by the end of 1945, the French Air Force found itself with little need for a pre-war, prop-driven heavy bomber so the existing, now-complete, Br.482 was used as a research platform for the rest of its flying days - recording its first-flight on November 28th, 1947.
The Br.482's flying career went on to cover twenty total flights before the end, which came on September 13th, 1950. It was stripped of its usefulness and went on to be scrapped.