Salmson Type 2 / 2A.2 / Limousine
Salmson Type 2 Berline
The Salmson 2 (given the military designation Salmson 2 A2) developed from a requirement to replace the Sopwith 1½ Strutter and Dorand A.R. reconnaissance aircraft in the A2 (tactical reconnaissance) role to a 1916 requirement. Salmson had built the 1½ Strutter under license, and the Salmson 2, while an original design, owed more to the Sopwith than to the earlier Salmson-Moineau. The aircraft was of conventional construction with a two-bay biplane configuration, powered by the company's own Salmson 9Z water-cooled radial engine of 230 bhp. Some minor control problems were quickly resolved in early testing, but the main defect of the Salmson 2 was that the pilot and gunner were seated rather far apart, making communication difficult.
Tested early 1917, with a Salmson (Canton-Unne) engine, production was ordered after trials on 29 April 1917, and deliveries were underway by October of that year. Around 3,200 Salmson 2s were built in France, 2,200 by Salmson and the remainder by the Latécoère, Hanriot, and Desfontaines, companies. Some of these were Salmson 2 D.2 dual control advanced training aircraft.
Along with the Breguet 14, it was the main reconnaissance aircraft in use with the French army and the American Expeditionary Force's aviation units in 1918. At the end of the First World War, one-third of French reconnaissance aircraft were Salmson 2s.
In addition to its service with the French army, the Salmson 2 served during the First World War with United States air units. Some 700 were purchased, and were generally successful.
Post-war, Salmson 2s were purchased by Czechoslovakia, and remained in service until 1924. Others were transferred to Poland, but were withdrawn by 1920, and replaced by Bristol F.2Bs. Japan undertook license production as the "Army Type Otsu 1", also known as the Kawasaki-Salmson. The number of aircraft built in Japan is unclear: 300 were built by Kawasaki, and the same quantity by the Imperial Japanese Army's Tokorozawa supply depot, although the total number of aircraft produced may have been as high as 1,000.