Sud-Ouest SO 6021 Espadon
|INTERCEPTOR||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Sud-Ouest|
The SO 6021 represented an attempt to reduce the weight and alleviate some of the aerodynamic problems that had beset the SO 6020 from the outset of flight test. Retaining the same Nene engine, but having a 1.30m2 increase in wing area, an entirely redesigned vertical tail and a 604kg reduction in empty weight, the SO 6021 was equipped with servo controls and flew on 3 September 1950. Armament comprised six 20mm cannon. In June 1951, a ground attack version of the SO 6021 was offered to the Armee de l'Air with an afterburning Rolls-Royce Tay engine and an armament of two 30mm cannon. However, testing of the SO 6021 indicated that some of the difficulties experienced with the SO 6020, notably the shortcomings of the air intake arrangement, had not been overcome. A speed of Mach=0.96 was attained in a shallow dive, but serious buffet occurred at Mach=0.75, and further development was abandoned, the sole SO 6021 serving as a test bed for small wingtip-mounted turbojets associated with the SO 9000 programme, continuing in this role until 1956.