Upgrading the SO-4050 Vautour
After the failure of the big subsonic bomber
SO-4000, the "Societé Nationale de Construction d'Avions du Sud Ouest" or in brief SNCASO made a transonic bomber the SO-4050 Vautour.
This aircraft flew in 1952 and had no equivalents.
It's ATAR engine were under the swept wing; as a consequence, the big fuselage only contain fuel.
The aircraft was at the same time a quick and agile bomber, a good night fighter and a recon aircraft.
At the time was the first "light" A-bomb, the 720kg mark7. Despite it lightweight, only two kind of airplanes were able to carry it
- supersonic fighters, such as F84F or F100.
- light bomber such as Canberra or Skywarriors.
The trouble was :
- on the fighters, the bomb was underwing, which create enormous drag. More, they had to fly with full reheat, with pathetic range.
- On lights bombers, the bomb was inside the aircrafts, the range much superior, but they were big, slow (mach 0.85) not manoeuverable ,vulnerable to fighters.
The Vautour was the perfect compromise between these two kind of aircrafts : it was as fast as a F84F, but it had a big bomb-bay, as a canberra.
He had no equivalent... but he was never successfull with french air force. Why? because he was killed by both Dassault and the USA.
From one side, were the Mirage IIIE on the tactical role, and the Mirage IV on the strategic role.
on the other side,were the (Suez crisis 1956) F84F and, later, the F-100.
No chance of success!!
The Vautour was better than those aircrafts, including the Mirage IV.
All the others were fighters modified to low level strike...
In fact, the Mach2 ability of the IV was reduce to nothing (or no use) from the beginning, when he had to switch off to low altitude bombing (first with AN52, then with underbelly ASMP).
Staying at high subsonic subsonic speed (nearly mach0.95) gave much better range without flight refuelling... The RAF replace TSR2s or F111s with subsonic Buccaneers, and was impressed.
Not only the British demonstrate this fact : the Israelis made it, too, with the Vautour itself, flying bombing missions deep inside Irak or Egypt, confronting Hunters or even MIG-21... and downing one (H3, 6 june 1967). Losses were from AAA, not from fighters.
Why not making an upgraded Vautour
- with Mirage IIIE equipments ? 1960, unreheated Atar-9, Cyrano II doppler radar. But also : Exocet, martel missiles...
- an upgraded vaoutour for Israel? it was atempted in 1967, before Phantoms... Two Spey engines, strengthened structure, modern eletronics system
- finally, the last version in 1985, with unreheated M53 and antilope V radar...
The Vautour was bigger than the Mirages, and it's fuselage had lot of room for a bomb bay or fuel, as the engines were underwings...