W.Green, G.Swanborough The Complete Book of Fighters
BREGUET LE France
The Breguet LE (Laboratoire Eiffel) single-seat fighter monoplane was aerodynamically an exceptionally advanced design for its time, emphasis being placed on minimising drag in order to achieve high performance. The basis of the design was produced by the Director of the Laboratoire Eiffel in collaboration with the Breguet design staff, the Breguet company having overall responsibility for translating the basic concept into a prototype. The first prototype LE was fitted with a 180 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Ab eight-cylinder water-cooled engine. Proposed armament consisted of a single 7,7-mm Vickers machine gun totally enclosed within the fuselage, although, in the event, this was never fitted. The LE made a short initial flight at Villacoublay in mid-March 1918, but the undercarriage failed on landing. After repairs, a further flight was made on 28 March, this terminating when the aircraft dived into the ground at full throttle, the pilot, Jean Saucliere, losing his life. Developments of the LE with a 220 hp Lorraine-Dietrich and a 300 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Fb were proposed, and construction of an airframe to take the latter power plant was nearing completion at the time of the loss of the first prototype, when further work was suspended. The following performance data are contemporary estimates for the LE.
Max speed, 137mph (220 km/h) at 13,125 ft (4 000 m).
Time to 13,125 ft (4 000 m), 10 min.
Empty weight, 1,091 lb (495 kg).
Loaded weight, 1,543 lb (700 kg).
Span, 32 ft 1 1/2in (9,78 m).
Length, 20 ft 10 in (6,35 m).
Height, 6 ft 6 3/4 in (2,00 m).
Wing area, 215.28 sq ft (20,0 m2).