Latécoère Late 298
Designed to meet a French Navy requirement for a floatplane torpedo-bomber, the prototype Late 298.01 first flew on 8 May 1936 as an all-metal mid-wing monoplane with provision for a torpedo semi-recessed into the underside of the fuselage. Intended missions included torpedo bombing; horizontal or shallow dive bombing (with two bombs of up to 150 kg each); long-range reconnaissance (with extra 535 litre fuel tank); night reconnaissance; and smokescreen laying.
A cantilever low-wing monoplane with an all-metal oval-section stressed-skin fuselage, production orders were placed for 177 Latecoère 298s in three variants. The 29 Latecoere 298As were delivered from October 1938. The production Late 298A was powered by a 656kW Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs engine and had a crew of three accommodated under a new glazed canopy by comparison with the prototype.
The 42 Latecoere 298Bs featured dual controls and folding wings for shipboard stowage. Armament comprised two fixed 7.5mm Darne wing guns and a third Darne machine-gun on a flexible mounting at the rear of the crew canopy.
The 106 Latecoere 298Ds had dual controls and a fourth crew member, but fixed wings.
One Latecoere 298D was modified as a Latecoere 298E with an underfuselage reconnaissance gondola but was found unsatisfactory.
110 Late 298 of all versions had been built by 25 June 1940 and after the Armistice of June 1940, 30 single-control Latecoêre 298Fs were built for overseas use by the Vichy forces. The 298F had MAC instead of Darne weapons and two additional 7.7mm machine-guns for ventral 'under-tail' defence.
The first naval escadrilles to equip with the type were T2 at Saint-Raphael and T1 at Berre in February and March 1939 respectively. Escadrilles HB1 and HB2 on the seaplane carrier Commandant Teste re-equipped with Late 298B in April and July the same year. From then on the type saw widespread service, flying overland in shallow dive-bombing attacks during the May-June 1940 'Blitzkrieg' on France and subsequently continuing to operate - mainly on reconnaissance missions - with both the Vichy and Free French forces. Several captured aircraft were used for liaison duties by the Germans. A number of Late 298 continued into the post-World War II period with the French Aeronavale.
Laté 298 Series - 1934 design, low-wing monoplane torpedo bomber
NB: Laté 298 design was a successor to the Laté 29, not a variant
Laté 298-01: 1936 prototype, 1 x 880 hp HS.12Ycrs1, 1 built
Laté 298-01 tests successful, float spreader bar added
Laté 298A: coastal patrol model, revised canopy, 24* built
* 24 x Laté 298A ordered in 1937, some sources claim 30 built
Laté 298B: folding wing version, crew inc. from 3 to 4, 42 built
Laté 298B for use on floatplane carrier Commandant Teste
Laté 298C: [Project] floatplane (but details unknown)
Laté 298D: as per Laté 298A but with Laté 298B wings, 75 built
Laté 298E: Obs. version with belly gondola, 1 x Laté 298D conv.
Laté 298F: 1942 simplified Laté 298D ordered for Vichy, 30 built
Laté 298D total of 75 built may also incl. Laté 298F production
Engine: 1 x HS 12 Ycrs, 630kW
Max take-off weight: 4123 kg / 9090 lb
Empty weight: 2360 kg / 5203 lb
Wingspan: 15.5 m / 50 ft 10 in
Length: 12.6 m / 41 ft 4 in
Height: 5.2 m / 17 ft 1 in
Wing area: 31.6 sq.m / 340.14 sq ft
Max. speed: 270 km/h / 168 mph
Cruise speed: 243 km/h / 151 mph
Range w/max.payload: 800 km / 497 miles
Armament: 3 machine-guns, 1700kg torpedo
Span: 15.5m (50ft 10.25 in).
Length: 12.56m (4lft 2.5in).
Engine: l x Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs-1, 656kW (880hp).
Armament: 3 x 7.5-mm (0.295-in) mg plus provision for 1 x 670-kg (1,477-lb) torpedo, or 500 kg (1,102 lb) bombs, or 3 x depth bombs.
Max T/O weight: 4600kg (10,141 lb).
Max speed: 178 mph at 6,560ft.
Operational range: 621 miles.