|LONG-RANGE BOMBER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Bloch|
Another derivative of the Bloch 160 was identified initially as the Bloch M.B.162. This promised excellent long-range performance which, coupled with good load-carrying capability, seemed to offer potential as a strategic bomber.
Preliminary design was initiated, and a mock-up to full-scale was built and exhibited at the Salon de I'Aeronautique held in Paris during November 1938. Considerable interest was created by this 'large' bomber, only slightly smaller than the B-17, and because of this it was decided to build a prototype. This, unfortunately for France, was delayed because production priority had been given to the commercial M.B.161, with the result that construction of the bomber was held up until the spring of 1940. Even then, it was completed in a remarkably short time for such a large project, flying for the first time on 1 June 1940. Of cantilever low-wing monoplane configuration, the M.B.162 B.5 was of all-metal construction, had a tail-plane with marked dihedral and twin endplate fins and rudders, retractable tailwheel type landing gear, and two engines mounted in nacelles at the leading-edge of each wing.
Flown from Villacoublay to Bordeaux-Merignac, the M.B.162 was captured by the Germans. Its test programme was completed during 1942 under the supervision of the German Focke-Wulf company, subsequently entering service with the Luftwaffe for long-range clandestine operations.