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Bloch MB.162

Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Prototype

France | 1943

"Like other early World War 2 French aircraft designs, the Bloch MB.162 was claimed and used by the conquering Germans."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/15/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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The MB.162 was a rare four-engined heavy bomber development of France in the pre-World War 2 period. The aircraft held roots in the original "MB.160", a fast-mailplane / passenger airliner developed in the mid-to-late 1930s and first-flying in 1937. The MB.160 was developed exclusively to serve French African colony routes globally but only three were eventually built before the start of World War 2 (1939-1945). The militarized bomber form, the MB.162, fared much worse in being built in only a single example and this airframe was taken over by the conquering Germans in 1940 and requisitioned into the Luftwaffe as a long-ranged transport.

In the post-war world, the series continued in civilian (Air France) and military (French Air Force and Navy) service through the 100 completed Sud-Est (SNCASE) SE.161 "Languedoc" aircraft. These were produced from 1945 until 1948 and operated from 1946 until 1964.

The military-minded MB.162 bomber form's prototype was designated "MB.162.01" and recorded its first-flight on June 1st, 1940. The aircraft was slated to enter serial production under the "MB.162 B5" designation and classified as a heavy bomber with a four-engined layout to cover the required war load and range.

Power stemmed from 4 x Gnome-Rhone 14N-48/49 series 14-cylinder twin-row, air-cooled radial piston engines of 1,100 horsepower each. Two engines were placed at each wing mainplane's leading edge and drove three-bladed propellers in the usual fashion. Recorded performance included a maximum speed of 342 miles per hour, a range out to 1,500 miles, and a service ceiling up to 30,000 feet.

Beyond its war load of up to 8,000lbs of drop ordnance, the aircraft would be defensed by a combination of machine guns and autocannons placed at key positions about the airframe. The nose and a ventral position both held 2 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine guns while a ventral and dorsal position each held 2 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 series autocannons.

Structurally, the airframe carried an overall length of 71.10 feet, a wingspan of 92.1 feet, and a height of 12.3 feet. Empty weight was 26,160lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 42,000lb.

The aircraft was given a stepped cockpit arrangement to clear the nose for the bombardier / navigator / forward gunner. The nose was heavily glazed and the cockpit was seated over and aft of it with decent views for the piloting crew (a total crew complement of five was supported). The fuselage was well-streamlined for aerodynamic efficiency and capped at its aft-end by a split-vertical fin arrangement sporting upward-canted horizontal planes. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted onto the sides of the fuselage and relatively straight in their general appearance. A traditional tail-dragger undercarriage (retractable) was fitted.

By appearance and performance alone the MB.162 had the makings of a strong war time bomber comparable to war-winning types originating in the Interwar period. However, the results of the Battle of France went against the French in May 1940 and resulted in the sole MB.162 prototype falling to the invading Germans - who promptly reinstated it as a dedicated transport among their own ranks. This example operated with I/KG 200 from 1943 until 1944. Despite this major setback, the proven nature of the design would later influence French aero-industry to revise the aircraft as the SE.161 airliner for service in the post-war world.

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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 Bloch MB.162 Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Prototype.
4 x Gnome-Rhone 14N-48/49 14-cylinder twin-row, air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,100 horsepower each and driving three-bladed propeller units.
342 mph
550 kph | 297 kts
Max Speed
29,528 ft
9,000 m | 6 miles
Service Ceiling
1,491 miles
2,400 km | 1,296 nm
Operational Range
910 ft/min
277 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Bloch MB.162 Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Prototype.
71.9 ft
21.91 m
O/A Length
92.2 ft
(28.10 m)
O/A Width
12.3 ft
(3.75 m)
O/A Height
26,455 lb
(12,000 kg)
Empty Weight
44,092 lb
(20,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Bloch MB.162 Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Prototype .
2 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine guns in nose position.
2 x 7.5mm MAC 1934 machine guns in tail position.
2 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza autocannons in dorsal gun position.
2 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza autocannons in ventral gun position.

Up to 8,000lb of internally-held conventional drop stores.
Notable series variants as part of the Bloch MB.162 family line.
MB.160 - Civilian Transport Model designation; revised tail fin with shortened span; three examples completed.
MB.161 - Definitive production model developed as passenger airliner in post-war period (SE.161 "Languedoc"); 100 examples completed.
MB.162 "Raid" - Long-range mailplane transport.
MB.162.01 - Single prototype example.
MB.162 Bn.5 - Designation of proposed
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Bloch MB.162. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 105 Units

Contractor(s): Societe des Avions Marcel Bloch - France
National flag of France National flag of modern Germany National flag of Nazi Germany

[ France; Nazi Germany (captured) ]
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Image of the Bloch MB.162
Image from the Public Domain.

Going Further...
The Bloch MB.162 Four-Engined Heavy Bomber Prototype appears in the following collections:
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