BERNHARD C.F. KLEIN COLLECTION
No. 7092. Dewoitine D.520 ("25") French Air Force
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Dewoitine D.520

11/15/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Designed by Dewoitine in collaboration with Robert Castello and Jacques Henrat, the D.520 was intended to meet a requirement originally framed in June 1936, two prototypes being ordered on April 3, 1938. Of all-metal stressed-skin construction with a monocoque fuselage and monospar wing, the prototypes were flown on October 2, 1938 and January 28, 1939 respectively. These were joined by a third prototype on May 5, 1939, an initial production order for 200 D.520s having been placed on March 14, 1939. A further 510 D.520s had been ordered by July 11, 1939, by which time the decision had been taken to standardize on the Hispano-Suiza 12Y 45 engine with a Szydlowski supercharger rated at 935 hp for take-off and an armament of one engine-mounted 0.787 in (20 mm) HS 404 cannon and four wing-mounted 0.295 in (7.5 mm) MAC 34 M39 machineguns.

Between November 23 and December 17, 1939, the prototype D.520-01 made a series of test flights fitted with a Rolls-Royce Merlin III engine, before the latter was transferred to the D.521-01. The first production aircraft flew on October 31, 1939, and 437 had been completed at the time of the 1940 Armistice, of which 403 had been taken on charge by the Armée de l'Air. Production of the D.520 was resumed, with German authorization, in Vichy France, the first "new" fighter being flown on July 26, 1941, and a further 478 D.520s were built prior to and subsequent to the German occupation of Vichy France. Those built after May 1942 had the HS 12Y 49 engine which differed only in having a supercharger with a higher altitude rating.

The Wehrmacht captured 246 Dewoitine D.520s in Vichy France, to which were added a further 192 subsequently completed. Of these, 150 were delivered to Romania and 96 to Bulgaria, others being utilized by the Luftwaffe as fighter trainers. A further 72 D.520s were acquired by Italy's Regja Aeronautica, of which thirty were transferred to Germany in exchange for captured LeO 451 bombers.

Created November 30, 2007