Loire-Nieuport LN.401 Airplane Videos and Airplane Pictures

Loire-Nieuport LN.401 Video - Classic World War I Fighters

Loire-Nieuport LN.401 Video - Classic World War I Fighters

Loire-Nieuport LN.401 Aircraft Information

Manufacturer: SNCAO
First flight: 1938
Introduced: 1939
Retired: 1940
Primary user: French Navy
Produced: 1938-1942
Number built: 68

The Loire-Nieuport LN.401 was a French-built dive bomber aircraft that saw service in World War II.

Design and development

Between 1932 and 1936, Loire-Nieuport had been developing a two-seat dive bomber, the Nieuport 140, for the Aronautique Navale, the aviation arm of the French Navy. It was renamed Loire-Nieuport LN.140 after the Nieuport company was absorbed into Loire-Nieuport, in 1933. In 1936, the development of the LN.140 was abandoned after two fatal accidents.

Development efforts were then concentrated on the LN.40 project, which benefited from experience acquired with the LN.140, but was a new, and aerodynamically much more refined, design. In the second half of 1937 the LN.40 received government backing in the form of an order for a prototype, followed by orders for seven production aircraft destined for the aircraft carrier Barn and three more for operational evaluation by the air force. The French Air Force had expressed interest in a land-based derivative of the LN.40, called LN.41. Initially it wanted to acquire 184 of these, enough to equip six dive bomber squadrons of 18 aircraft each, plus a reserve.

The prototype made its first flight on 6 July 1938, flown by Pierre Nadot. A second prototype followed in January 1939, and a third in May. Four of the pre-series LN.40 dive bombers were delivered in July, and the aircraft was declared fit for carrier operations following successful tests aboard the Barn. Nevertheless, the flight tests were not entirely successful. The original dive brake was found ineffective and was removed in favour of extending the landing gear to act as an aerodynamic brake. It was found that the LN.40 could not fly dive bombing missions with full fuel tanks. The chief of staff of the air force, general Joseph Vuillemin, declared that the aircraft was too slow, and requested the development of a fast dive bomber for the air force, which became the Loire-Nieuport LN.42.

In July 1939, Loire-Nieuport had received orders for 36 LN.401 production dive bombers for the Navy, and 36 LN.411 aircraft for the Army. The LN.411 was almost identical to the LN.401, expect for the deletion of the arrestor hook, the wing folding mechanism and the emergency floatation devices. The first LN.411 were delivered in September, in which month the air force ordered 270 more. But in October general Vuillemin refused to accept these aircraft, and the small number of LN.411 were sent to the Navy.

Loire-Nieuport also attempted to develop a faster version, by substituting a 860 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Y31 for the 690 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Xcrs engine of the LN.401. This LN.402 made its first flight on 18 November 1939. Further development of the LN.402 was prevented by the French defeat in May 1940 and the following armistice.

Operational service

Two escadrilles of the Aronautique Navale, designated as AB2 and AB4, converted to the LN.401/411 between late 1939 and early 1940. AB2 received its first LN.401 dive bombers in November 1939, while AB4 received the LN.411 dive bombers rejected by the air force from February 1940 onwards. The dive bombers rejected by the Army were a welcome reinforcement to Navy, as production of the LN.401 was very slow.

Both used the type in combat during the Battle of France in ground attacks versus German motorized columns and troops concentrations. Losses were heavy. One attack on 19 May resulted in the loss of 10 out of 20 dive bombers committed, while seven of the survivors were sufficiently damaged to be no longer airworthy. The production rate of the LN.401 and LN.411 was insufficient to replace losses, and in about a month of fighting the two squadrons lost two-thirds of their strength.

After the armistice with Germany, Loire-Nieuport dive bombers were retired from service and the two escadrilles were re-equipped with the Glenn-Martin 167-F level bomber.


LN.40 Pre-production aircraft. Only seven pre-production examples were built. LN.401 Single-seat naval dive-bomber aircraft. Only fifteen production examples were built. LN.411 Land-based variant of the 401, with all naval-specific equipment removed. 45 built. LN.402 Single example fitted with the more powerful Hispano-Suiza 12Y engine.



French Navy

Specifications (LN.401)

Data from

General characteristics

Crew: 1
Length: 9.76 m (32 ft)
Wingspan: 14 m (46 ft)
Height: 3.50 m (11.48 ft)
Wing area: 24.75 m (81.2 ft)
Empty weight: 2,135 kg (4,706 lb)
Loaded weight: 2,823 kg (6,223 lb)
Powerplant: 1x Hispano-Suiza 12XCrs V-12 piston engine, (690 hp)


Maximum speed: 380 km/h (236 mp/h) at 3,900 m (12,795 ft)
Stall speed: 90 km/h (56 mp/h)
Range: 1,200 km (745.6 mi)


Guns: 2 x Darne machine guns
Bombs: 225 kg (496 lb)

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Source: WikiPedia

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