The Breguet LE (Laboratoire Eiffel) single-seat fighter
monoplane was aerodynamically an exceptionally
advanced design for its time, emphasis being placed on
minimising drag in order to achieve high performance.
The basis of the design was produced by the Director of
the Laboratoire Eiffel in collaboration with the Breguet
design staff, the Breguet company having overall responsibility
for translating the basic concept into a prototype.
The first prototype LE was fitted with a 180hp
Hispano-Suiza 8Ab eight-cylinder water-cooled
engine. Proposed armament consisted of a single
7.7mm Vickers machine gun totally enclosed within
the fuselage, although, in the event, this was never fitted.
The LE made a short initial flight at Villacoublay in
mid-March 1918, but the undercarriage failed on landing.
After repairs, a further flight was made on 28
March, this terminating when the aircraft dived into
the ground at full throttle, the pilot, Jean Saucliere, losing
his life. Developments of the LE with a 220hp Lorraine-
Dietrich and a 300hp Hispano-Suiza 8Fb were
proposed, and construction of an airframe to take the
latter power plant was nearing completion at the time
of the loss of the first prototype, when further work was
suspended. The following performance data are contemporary
estimates for the LE.
W.Green, D.Swanborough "The Complete Book of Fighters", 2000