The Loire 46 was an improved modification of two previous Loire fighters—the Loire 43 and 45. Although improved, it resembled the earlier machines retaining their gull mono-wing configuration, open cockpit, and fixed landing gear. The first of five prototype Loire 46s flew in September 1934. It demonstrated excellent handling characteristics and 60 production aircraft were ordered by the Armée de l'Air.
By the beginning of World War II, the Loire 46's gull wing configuration was recognized as obsolete and most of these fighters had been relegated to Armée de l'Air training schools, where they were used as advanced trainers. However, one fighter Escadrille was still equipped with the Loire 46 during the early weeks of the war. Their performance against modern German fighters was predictable.
Single-seat fighter/trainer aircraft.
France, Armee de l'Air
Spain: Spanish Republican Air Force
Specifications Loire 46
Length: 7.88 m
Wingspan: 11.83 m
Height: 4.13 m
Wing area: 19.50 m²
Empty weight: 1,450 kg
Loaded weight: 2,100 kg
Powerplant: 1 × Gnome-Rhône 14Kfs 14-cylinder, air-cooled radial piston engine, 694 kW (930 hp)
Maximum speed: 370 km/h
Range: 750 km
Service ceiling: 11,750 m
Rate of climb: 12.09 meters per second
Climb to 3,000 m / 3.3 min
Guns: 4× fixed forward-firing 7.5 mm MAC 1934 mg, mounted in the wings