Breguet 521 Bizerte


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Breguet 521 Bizerte

Developed from the Short Calcutta, the prototype flew for the first time on 11 September 1933. Series aircraft differed mainly in having a long narrow glasshouse extension from the pilots' cabin to the bow of the flying-boat. Thirty were built, powered by three 671kW Gnome-Rhone 14 Kirs radial engines. These served with "Exploration" escadrilles of the French Aeronavale from 1935 until the end of World War II, latterly being used as maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft. Of these, nine were captured by the Germans and were used during 1943-45 for air-sea rescue.

The Bizerte itself was a sesquiplane with an exceptionally large single fin and rudder. Armament comprised five 7.5mm Darne machine-guns: one in the cupolas each side at the rear of the cabin, one under each of two sliding hatches (with retractable windscreens) staggered to port and starboard amidships, and one in the extreme tail cockpit aft of the tail unit.

Breguet 521 Bizerte

 ENGINE3 x G+R 14Krs, 680kW
  Take-off weight16000 kg35274 lb
  Empty weight8855 kg19522 lb
  Wingspan35.1/18.9 m115 ft 2 in / 62 ft 0 in
  Length20.3 m67 ft 7 in
  Height7.5 m25 ft 7 in
  Wing area169.8 m21827.71 sq ft
  Max. speed243 km/h151 mph
  Cruise speed200 km/h124 mph
  Ceiling6600 m21650 ft
  Range w/max.fuel3000 km1864 miles
  Range w/max payload2000 km1243 miles
 ARMAMENT4 machine-guns, 2 torpedos, 200kg of bombs

Trevor Webb, e-mail, 07.09.2021 08:42

It is of note that the Coventry Ordinance Works (COW) guns were tried out on one or more of the Bizerte aircraft. The RAF only tried the 37mm version but the French experimented with this and the 75mm model. There are photos in pre-war US magazines showing both.


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