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Dewoitine D.520

France (1939)
Picture of Dewoitine D.520 Fighter Aircraft

The Dewoitine D.520 was arguably the best fighter available to the French at the time of the Battle of France concerning World War 2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Dewoitine D.520 Fighter Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 6/12/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Dewoitine D.520 was a single seat piston-engine fighter designed and built for the French Air Force. Developed from lessons learned in their ill-fated D.513 design, Dewoitine produced a fighter of sleek design and acceptable capability, especially when compared to that of the German Luftwaffe - to which the D.520 squared off valiantly yet unsuccessfully in the Fall of France in 1940. Despite this, the D.520 was generally respected and use continued by the Vichy French Air Force and even in post-war France. The D.520 signified France's first successful and best "modern" fighter design of World War 2.

Design work on the D.520 began as early as 1936, with the first prototypes flying by 1938. Beyond some design modifications and differing engine types (all from the Hispano-Suiza line) the models varied little. From the D520.1 prototype, the base D.520 series was born and ordered up for production by 1939, with the system being fielded by 1940 - to which only some 36 had actually been delivered when the Germans invaded. The D.520 reportedly squared up well against its German counterparts though success in the defense of France was not to be. Some 114 enemy kills were made at a loss of 85 French D.520's before the eventual collapse of the aerial defense. The system stayed in production with the German-sided Vichy French Air Force and was still available in some numbers after the war.
At its core, the D.520 was a basic straight-line fighter most noted for its sleek overall design and set-back cockpit of which was enclosed canopy. The position of the cockpit so far away from the nose undoubtedly took away from the pilots visibility forward and down but the added room in the nose made for an easier engine (which featured a variable-pitch propeller system) and armament installation. Armament consisted of a nose-mounted 20mm cannon and 4 x 7.5mm machine guns, with two machine guns per wing leading edge. Trailing edge flaps were also instituted into the wing design. A single vertical tail surface adorned the empennage and retractable landing gears rounded out the features.






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: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (336mph).

    Graph average of 300 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 Dewoitine D.520'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
881
881


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

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


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: France
Year: 1939
Type: Fighter Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Dewoitine - France
Production: 881
Global Operators:
Bulgaria; France (Free France / Vichy France); Nazi Germany; Kingdom of Italy; Romania
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 Dewoitine D.520 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
28.74 ft


Meters
8.76 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
33.46 ft


Meters
10.2 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
8.40 ft


Meters
2.56 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
4,612 lb


Kilograms
2,092 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
6,151 lb


Kilograms
2,790 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Hispano-Suiza 12Y-45 12-cylinder V-type engine developing 930 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
336 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
540 kph


Knots
292 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
957 mi


Kilometers
1,540 km


Nautical Miles
832 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
36,089 ft


Meters
11,000 m


Miles
6.84 mi

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon
Armament - Hardpoints (0):

STANDARD:
1 x 20mm HS 404 cannon in nose
4 x 7.5mm machine guns in wings
Variants: Series Model Variants
• D520.1 - Prototype Model Designation; initial prototype fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-21 inline engine; additional prototypes features slight modifications to various design elements including the canopy and wing; second prototype fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-51 engine; third prototype fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-31 engine of 890 horsepower.
• D.520 - Main Series Designation; fitted with either Hispano-Suiza 12Y-45 or Hispano-Suiza 12Y-49 engines of 920 horsepower.
• D.524 - Experimental Variant; fitted with Hispano-Suiza 12Y-89 engine of 1,200 horsepower.