W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
In the early spring of 1916, Armand Dufaux completed the prototype of an original two-seat fighter biplane in which a 110 hp Le Rhone 9J air-cooled rotary engine was buried in the forward fuselage to drive a two-bladed propeller amidships, the union between the forward and rear fuselage sections being provided by a substantial tubular member which passed through the propeller hub, this support being augmented by tie rods between the undercarriage V-struts and the tail-skid support. The pilot and gunner sat in side-by-side staggered seats immediately ahead of the engine, the latter (to starboard) having a single 7,7-mm Lewis gun. Built by the Societe pour la Construction et l’Entretien d'Avions (CEA), the Dufaux fighter commenced official tests at Chateaufort in April 1916, but the problems of engine cooling, structural rigidity, etc, apparently militated against further development.
Max speed, 87 mph (140 km/h) at sea level.
Time to 6,560 ft (2 000 m), 13.15 min.
Endurance, 2.0 hrs.
Empty weight, 1,168 lb (530 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,631 lb (740 kg).
Span, 26 ft 1 2/5 in (7,96 m).
Length, 20 ft 0 in (6,10 m).
Height, 9 ft 1 1/4 in (2,80 m).
DUFAUX AVION-CANON France
Armand Dufaux’s avion-canon was one of the most original fighters of World War I in that it was designed around a fixed forward-firing 37-mm Hotchkiss cannon. The aircraft itself was of conventional layout, being a single-bay single-seat biplane with a two-bladed tractor propeller. In order to cater for the centrally-mounted cannon firing through a hollow propeller shaft, two nine-cylinder air-cooled rotary engines were mounted athwartships. The cannon passed between the engines and the hollow propeller shaft was driven by bevel gearing. Built in the workshops of the CEA, Dufaux’s avion-canon was tested in 1917, and allegedly achieved speeds in excess of 124 mph (200 km/h). It was demonstrated before the Minister of Aviation of the day, but further development was not pursued and neither illustrations nor data relating to this extraordinary fighter appear to have survived.