Loire-Nieuport L.N.161


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Loire-Nieuport L.N.161

During 1934, the Ateliers et Chantiers de la Loire amalgamated with the Societe Nieuport-Astra to result in the Groupement Aviation Loire-Nieuport. The two concerns maintained separate design offices which, at times, were to find themselves in competition, a case in point being the LN 161. This, like the Loire 250, was intended to meet the requirements of the 1934 Service Technique specification for a new single-seat fighter. Designed by engineers Mary and Dieudonne, it was of advanced structural concept with an all-metal monocoque fuselage and a metal stressed-skin wing. Armament comprised a 20mm engine-mounted cannon and two wing-mounted 7.5mm machine guns. Although designed for the 860hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs engine, the non-availability of this power plant dictated installation of a 690hp HS 12Xcrs engine driving a twobladed fixed-pitch propeller. The prototype flew as the Nieuport 160 on 5 October 1935. In the following November, it was returned to the factory for various modifications and installation of the definitive engine, resuming flight test at the end of March 1936 as the Nieuport 161 fitted with a three-bladed two-pitch propeller. The prototype showed considerable promise and was the favoured contender for Armee de l'Air orders, three additional prototypes being contracted. The first prototype crashed on 22 September 1936, and the second prototype, temporarily designated SNCAO 161 (Loire-Nieuport having meanwhile been absorbed by the Societe Nationale de Constructions Aeronautiques de l'Ouest), did not enter flight test until 15 October 1937. The third prototype, bearing the definitive designation of Loire-Nieuport 161, followed in March 1938. During the next month, the second prototype was written off in a landing accident, but the results of testing were by then of purely academic interest as the Morane-Saulnier contender had been ordered into production. Consequently, the fourth prototype was not completed.

Loire-Nieuport L.N.161

  Take-off weight2278 kg5022 lb
  Empty weight1748 kg3854 lb
  Wingspan11.00 m36 ft 1 in
  Length9.56 m31 ft 4 in
  Height2.95 m10 ft 8 in
  Wing area15.00 m2161.46 sq ft
  Max. speed478 km/h297 mph

Loire-Nieuport L.N.161A three-view drawing (1280 x 898)

Tony Newman, e-mail, 22.03.2013 23:32

Looks like another promising design prevented from proving itself by bad luck more than anything else. Another lost opportunity I think.


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