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Arsenal VB-10


Prototype Heavy Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft


France | 1946



"The Arsenal VB-10 became another promising French fighter design of World War 2 that was derailed by the German invasion of May 1940."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/15/2024 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Arsenal VB-10 was the culmination of advanced, prop-driven fighter work by Arsenal de l'Aeronatique prior to World War 2 (1939-1945). The government-owned company was founded in 1934 and managed to produce a slew of fighter designs under the "VG" series name though many ended as either "paper airplanes" or "one-off" prototypes. The VB 10 fared no bettered before its end as just six prototypes were realized.

The design utilized a unique pairing of engines that were seated in tandem driving two separate propeller units in the nose (in a contra-rotating fashion). The cockpit was bookended by this engine pair and fitted just ahead of midships with generally good views of the action ahead. Each propeller unit was a three-bladed assembly. An air scoop was added under the fuselage and the wing mainplanes (also slightly ahead of midships) were straight in their general shape with rounded tips. The tail unit was conventional, relying on a large-area rudder and low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage, retracting into the design, was of the "tail dragger" configuration consistent with the times.

With the war situation in and around France looking bleak, and the VB-10 showcasing a most promising future, the heavy fighter was ordered before any physical form had been completed - such became the desperation of the French government to get any and all modern aircraft into the skies as quickly as possible. However, all was lost with the conquer of France following the German invasion of May 1940.

Despite this setback, the VB-10 was allowed to gestate under the Vichy French regime though progress was slow enough that a first prototype did not go airborne until July 7th, 1945 - note that the war in Europe had officially ended in May of that year. This prototype carried 2 x Hispano-Suiza 12Y31 12- cylinder liquid-cooled inline engines of 860 horsepower each and proved the design - on the whole - sound. The French Air Force signed on for 200 examples of the fighter through a contract given on December 22nd, 1945.

A second prototype appeared and differed in its engine fit - 2 x Hispano-Suiza 12Z12/13 engines of 1,150 horsepower. Additionally this offering added a proposed armament suite of 4 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza cannons and 6 x 12.7mm Browning heavy machine guns. First flight of this model was on September 21st, 1946.

Production was underway and a first flight of a production-quality form came on November 3rd, 1947. This version carried 2 x Hispano-Suiza 12Z Ars 15/16 engines of 1,150 horsepower and saw its armament suite reduced to 4 x 20mm HS-404 cannons. However, by this time, the 200-strong production order had been reduced to 50 units and the entire order ultimately cancelled outright in favor of jet-powered aircraft. Only four production-quality VB-10 aircraft were completed - joining the original two prototypes.

Performance specifications for the line included a maximum speed of 435 miles per hour, a range out to 1,055 miles and a service ceiling of 36,120 feet. Rate-of-climb was 2,010 feet-per-minute.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Arsenal VB-10 Prototype Heavy Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft.
FINAL: 2 x Hispano-Suiza 12Z Ars 15/16 engines developing 1,150 horsepower and driving 2 x three-bladed propeller units in contra-rotating fashion.
Propulsion
435 mph
700 kph | 378 kts
Max Speed
36,089 ft
11,000 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
1,616 miles
2,600 km | 1,404 nm
Operational Range
2,010 ft/min
613 m/min
Rate-of-Climb
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Arsenal VB-10 Prototype Heavy Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft.
1
(MANNED)
Crew
42.6 ft
12.98 m
O/A Length
50.9 ft
(15.50 m)
O/A Width
17.1 ft
(5.20 m)
O/A Height
13,735 lb
(6,230 kg)
Empty Weight
20,999 lb
(9,525 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Armament
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Arsenal VB-10 Prototype Heavy Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft .
ORIGINAL:
4 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS-404 cannons.
6 x 12.7mm Browning heavy machine guns.

FINALIZED:
4 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS-404 cannons.
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Arsenal VB-10 family line.
VB-10 - Base Series Designation; two prototypes and four production forms completed.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Arsenal VB-10. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 6 Units

Contractor(s): Arsenal de l'Aeronautique - France
National flag of France

[ France (canceled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 500mph
Lo: 250mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (435mph).

Graph Average of 375 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
6
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
1 / 1
Image of the Arsenal VB-10
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
AIR-TO-AIR COMBAT
INTERCEPTION
X-PLANE
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Arsenal VB-10 Prototype Heavy Fighter / Interceptor Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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