Potez 540

Potez 540

infobox Aircraft
name = Potez 540
type = Reconnaissance/bomber
logo =
manufacturer = Potez

caption =
designer =
first flight = 14 November 1933
introduction = 1934
retired =
status =
primary user = French Air Force
more users =
produced =
number built =
unit cost =
developed from =
variants with their own articles =
The Potez 540 was a French multi-role aircraft of the 1930s. Designed and built by Potez, it served with the French Air Force as a Reconnaissance Bomber, also serving with the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War. Although obsolete as a bomber, it remained in service in support roles and in France's overseas colonies at the start of the Second World War.


This two engine aircraft was built by the French Potez company to fulfill a 1932 specification for a new reconnaissance bomber. Built as a private venture, the Potez 54 flew for the first time on 14 November 1933. Designed by Louis Coroller, it was intended as a four-seat aircraft capable of performing duties such as bomber, transport and long-range reconnaissance. The Potez 54 was a high wing monoplane, of mixed wood and metal covering over a steel tube frame. The prototype had twin fins and rudders, and was powered by two 515kW Hispano-Suiza 12Xbrs V-12 engines in streamlined nacelles, which were connected to the fuselage by stub wings. The main landing gear units retracted into the nacelles, and auxiliary bomb racks were mounted beneath the stub wings. There were manually operated turrets at the nose and dorsal positions, as well as a semi-retractable dustbin style ventral turret. During development the original tailplane was replaced by a single fin and rudder, and in this form the type was re-designated Potez 540 and delivered to the Armee de I'Air on 25 November 1934 [cite book |last= |first= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985)|year= |publisher= Orbis Publishing|location= |issn=] . A total of 192 Potez 540s were built.

Their first combat was in the Spanish Civil War, where they were employed by the Spanish Republicans. In the later 1930s, these aircraft were becoming obsolete so they were withdrawn from reconnaissance and bombing duties and were relegated to French transport units. They were also employed as paratrooper training and transport aircraft. By September 1939 and the beginning of World War II, they had been largely transferred to the French colonies in North Africa, where they continued to function in transport and paratrooper service. Their role in even these secondary assignments was problematic given their poor defensive armament and vulnerability to modern enemy fighters. Following the French capitulation to Germany in June 1940, those Potez 540s still flying served the Vichy French Air Force mainly in the French overseas colonies. Most of these machines were retired or destroyed by late 1943.


;Potez 54:One prototype, later converted (with twin tails) into the Potez 540 No. 1.;Potez 540:Production aircraft with Hispano-Suiza 12Xirs vee piston engines. 185 built. Used by France and Spain.;Potez 541:540 re-engined with Gnome-Rhône 14Kdrs radial engines. One built;Potez 542:Derivative of 540 powered by 537 kW (720 hp) Lorraine Petrel engines. 74 built. Used by France and Spain.;Potez 543:Production derivative of Potez 541, powered by Gnome-Rhône 14Kdrs engine. 10 built for Romania.


*Armée de l'Air;ROM
*Romanian Air Force;flagicon|Spain|1931 Spanish Republic
*Spanish Air Force

pecifications (Potez 540)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
crew=4 to 7 [dependent whether functioning as transport or bomber]
length main=16.20 m
length alt=53 ft 2 in
span main=22.10 m
span alt=72 ft 6 in
height main=3.88 m
height alt=12 ft 9 in
area main=76.0 m²
area alt=818.06 ft²
empty weight main=3,785 kg
empty weight alt=8,344 lb
loaded weight main=5,950 kg
loaded weight alt=13,115 lb
max takeoff weight main=
max takeoff weight alt=
engine (prop)=Hispano-Suiza HS 12 Xirs/Xjrs
type of prop=V-12 liquid-cooled piston engines
number of props=2
power main=515 kW
power alt=690 hp
max speed main=310 km/h at 3,962 m
max speed alt=193 mph at 13,000 feet
cruise speed main=
cruise speed alt=
range main=1,250 km
range alt=777 miles
ceiling main=10,000 m
ceiling alt=32,810 feet
climb rate main=
climb rate alt=
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=
* 3-5× 7.5 mm (0.29 inch) machine guns in flexible nose, dorsal, and ventral positions
* 4× 225 kg (496 lb) bombs on external racks or ten 55 kg (121 lb) bombs in bomb bay when operated as a bomber


External links

* [http://www.aviafrance.com/aviafrance1.php?ID=1289&ID_CONSTRUCTEUR=1057&ANNEE=&ID_MISSION=&MOTCLEF= Aviafrance - Potez 540]

ee also

similar aircraft=
see also=

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