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SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal)

Prototype Fighter-Interceptor Aircraft

France | 1956

"The SNCASE S.E.212 Durandal attempted to provide a viable mixed-propulsion interceptor aircraft - the program yielded just two prototypes."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/03/2020 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
With the establishment of NATO in April of 1949, there arose a need for standardization among its members regarding various military tools. Among them were aircraft types which would come into play for a war against the Soviet Union over Europe. As such, authorities in 1953 called for a standardized lightweight fighter-bomber to stock inventories of member countries and keep Soviet bombers at bay. One result of this initiative - which was won by the Italian Fiat G.91 of 1958 - was the ultimately-cancelled French-made SNCASE (Sud-Est) SE.212 "Durandal", which ended as an intended dedicated fighter-interceptor.

One of the key qualities of the Durandal was a mixed-powerplant approach primarily relying on a turbojet engine backed by a rocket motor to achieve desired speeds. The overall design - evolved from work begun as early as 1951 by the French - was given a small-area, low-mounted wing mainplane featuring 60-degree sweep lines. The mainplanes were of a delta configuration which negated use of conventional horizontal tailplanes. The tail unit consisted of a triangular vertical fin with the engine exhaust ring fitted underneath. The cockpit was held well-forward of midships and the nose section given a slight nose-down attitude. The engine, buried within the fuselage mass, was aspirated by a circular intake at the nose. Propulsion was provided for by the SNECMA Atar 101F afterburning engine offering 8,377 lb of thrust. The rocket unit was a SEPR 75 motor providing its own 1,653 lb of thrust. The undercarriage was a conventional tricycle arrangement, fully-retractable. Airbrakes were fitted in pairs along the sides of the rear section of the fuselage, springing to action when called upon.

As an interceptor, it was seen that the SE.212 was to be armed with a sole R.052 or AA.20 air-to-air missile (along fuselage centerline). Alternatively the airframe could be outfitted with more conventional cannons (2 x 30mm DEFA systems) and even carry 24 x 68mm SNEB air-to-air rockets for bomber interception.

French authorities were interested in the SE.212 design enough to order a pair of prototypes, the first of these to fly on April 20th, 1956- though without its intended rocket unit. It was not until December 19th, of that year that the aircraft flew with its rocket motor functioning and, by this time, the original Atar 101F turbojet engine was succeeded by the Atar 101G series providing 9,700 lb of thrust. The second prototype went aloft on March 30th, 1957 and this example went on to be displayed at the 1957 Paris Air Show.

During testing that began in April of 1956, the pair recorded speeds reaching nearly 900 miles per hour - over Mach 1.0 - and, with the rocket motor activated, reached 1,036 miles per hour, or about Mach 1.57 at 38,000-39,000 feet.

Despite these results, the Durandal initiative faded into history as the program was ended during 1958 with just the two experimental vehicles being completed. Many "mixed-powerplant" fighter developments of the period ended their days as prototypes and nothing more - the concept was also of considerable interest to the Americans.

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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 SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal) Prototype Fighter-Interceptor Aircraft.
1 x SNECMA Atar 101F afterburning turbojet engine developing 9,700 lb of thrust with 1 x SEPR 75 rocket engine devliering and additional 1,653 lb of thrust.
1,035 mph
1,665 kph | 899 kts
Max Speed
39,000 ft/min
11,887 m/min
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal) Prototype Fighter-Interceptor Aircraft.
39.6 ft
12.07 m
O/A Length
24.4 ft
(7.45 m)
O/A Width
10,086 lb
(4,575 kg)
Empty Weight
14,771 lb
(6,700 kg)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal) Prototype Fighter-Interceptor Aircraft .
2 x 30mm DEFA internal cannons OR 1 x AA.20 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) OR 24 x 68mm SNEB rockets.
Notable series variants as part of the SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal) family line.
S.E.212 - Base Series Designation; two aircraft completed.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 2 Units

Contractor(s): Societe Nationale des Constructions Aeronautiques du Sud-Est (SNCASE) - France
National flag of France

[ France (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 1100mph
Lo: 550mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (1,035mph).

Graph Average of 825 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 1
Image of the SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal)
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.
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 SNCASE S.E.212 (Durandal) Prototype Fighter-Interceptor Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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