Loire 46 C1 n.01
To address the inadequate visibility from the cockpit of the Loire 45, a prototype was built as the Loire 46. Compared to the 45, the wing centre section was more deeply gulled, and the wing had tapered outboard leading edges and semi-elliptical trailing edges. The engine thrust line was lowered, the cockpit was moved farther aft, the rear fuselage was deepened and all tail surfaces were enlarged.
The Loire 46 was of metal construction with aluminum alloy fuselage panels, wing and tail, ribs, spars and stringers of the fuselage, wing and tail. In the left side were two portholes. One of them was intended to illuminate the dashboard, and the second (lower) provides the pilot a better view of the ground during takeoff and landing.
The wing spars were I-beam and the airfoil shaped ribs were set at an angle of 60 degrees to the front spar. The center of the wing never had ribs: it consisted of bent sheet duralumin skin. Almost all of the trailing edge of the wings were rectangular ailerons with compensation weights. They were duralumin, fabric covered. Ailerons were controlled by duralumin rods.
Guns were installed in the center section of the wing. Access to them, as well as a cartridge drive was via removable hatches at the bottom of the wing.
Rudder and elevator control was by cable, equipped with trimmers. The rudder trim was set on the ground. Elevator-section. Wheels are made of magnesium alloy, the mains were 750x150 mm
The fuel capacity was 360 liters, set in the central part of the fuselage, and oil tank capacity of 44 liters located in the central part of the fuselage to the right of the fuel.
On board was Thomson-Ducretet Th.53 a radio. The transmitting antenna was mounted on top of the fuselage behind the cockpit and the receiving antenna under the fuselage. During takeoff and landing the receiving antenna was retracted.
Powered by an 880hp Gnome-Rhone 14Kcs engine, the Loire 46 flew on 1 September 1934. In October the Loire 46 flew SEMA tests. After SEMA evaluation of the prototype was returned to the factory for minor changes, replacing the cowling and a Oerlikon FF wing gun. Re-engined with a 930hp Gnome-Rhone 14Kfs in February 1935, the Loire 46 demonstrated excellent handling characteristics, and a contract for five pre-series aircraft. In May 1936, the company received an order for 40 fighters Loire 46, launched their production factory Nieuport. At the end of 1936 the order was increased to 60.
The first production Loire 46 C1 was flown in February 1936, deliveries commencing in the following August to the 6e Escadre of the Armee de l'Air. Armament comprised four wing-mounted 7.5mm MAC 1934 guns with 300 rounds per barrel. All new arrivals were sent to the 6th Air Force squadron.
The five pre-production examples were relinquished by the French Service and supplied to the Spanish Republican government between 5 and 7 September 1936.
The last Loire 46 was delivered in July 1937, by which time its gull-winged configuration was obsolescent and most were relegated to Armée de l'Air training schools. Only three remained on the effective first line strength of the 6th Air Force squadron at the beginning of World War II. Another four Loire 46 were in one of the flight schools. The remaining had been withdrawn into reserve.
The outbreak of World War II all serviceable aircraft was given to the disposal of the Polish pilots who escaped to French territory before heading to the combat units.
Those in service with the Spanish the Republican Army arrived in Spain in silver color. It is known that one of these aircraft flew in the squadron Espana. The greatest number of flights on this fighter were performed by lieutenants and A.Gvide and V.Venil. At least another four aircraft joined the international Fighter Group, commanded by the Spaniard M.Luna.
The machine guns, and ground equipment for the Loire was sent to Spain in 46 trucks, and did not reach the destination. The Spaniards fitted Vickers guns with a lower rate of fire and heavier. The highest scoring Republican pilot, A.Las Salle, made emergency landings in two Loire 46. In both cases, it was preceded by the engine stopping.
In the first months of his stay in Spain, Kovalevsky, who arrived in Spain in the first group of Soviet pilots, shot down three enemy aircraft, including on September 25, 1936 at Madrid, a Ju-52 bomber.
On September 16, 1936, a Republican fighter shot down G.Morato, landing in neutral territory. All the wreckage was collected for examination by the Republicans. On October 21, 1936 during bombing raid the fighter was damaged in a parking lot. Under different circumstances at their aerodromes four Loire 46 were also lost.