Breguet 690

The Breguet 690 was a three-seat twin-engined fighter produced in response to a French Air Ministry specification of 1934 but that entered produced as the Br 691 two-seat attack bomber. The 1934 specification called for a cannon-armed aircraft capable of performing escort, interceptor and fighter control duties, and attracted designed from Breguet, Hanriot, Loire-Nieuport, Potez and Romano.

Work on the Breguet 690 began in 1935, but progress was slow. The Hispano-Suiza engined arrived ten months late, and Breguet didn't receive an official production order until 26 March 1937. By this time the contest was almost over. The Potez 630 made its maiden flight on 25 April 1936, followed by the Potez 631. In August 1936 the Potez aircraft began official evaluation, and in June 1937 the French Air Ministry issued a letter of intent to Potez, followed before the end of the year by the first contract.

Despite this setback work continued on the Breguet 690, which finally made its maiden flight on 23 March 1938. The Br 690 was a somewhat unusual looking aircraft, with a short, narrow, streamlined fuselage with a tall front section that contained the three crew members. The cantilevered wings were more conventional in appearance, as was the twin-fin tail unit. The Br 690 was armed with two forward firing 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS 404 cannon and one rear-firing 7.5mm MAC 1934 defensive machine gun.

Official evaluation tests began in July 1938, but the results of Breguet's own tests had been impressive enough for the Armée de l'Air to place an order for 100 aircraft on 14 June 1938. With the Potez design already filling the fighter role the Breguet was ordered into production as the Breguet 691 AB2 (Assaut Bombardement - Biplace, or Two-Seat Attack Bomber). The redesigned aircraft made its maiden flight on 22 March 1939, and the first production aircraft was delivered on 15 May. The Br 691 was later evolve into the Br 693, and both versions of the aircraft saw combat during the Battle of France of 1940.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 October 2009), Breguet 690 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_breguet_690.html

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