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Role Reconnaissance flying boat
Manufacturer CAMS
Designer Maurice Hurel
First flight 1928
Primary user French Navy
Number built 112

The CAMS 55 was a reconnaissance flying boat built in France in the late 1920s which equipped the French Navy throughout the 1930s.

Design and development[edit]

The CAMS 55 design was derived from the unsuccessful CAMS 51 and followed the familiar Chantiers Aéro-Maritimes de la Seine (CAMS) formula of a conventional biplane flying boat configuration with tandem tractor-pusher engines mounted in the interplane gap. The cockpit was open, and there were open gun positions in the bow and amidships. The bow also incorporated an observation balcony with windows sloped to afford a good downward view.[1]

Operational history[edit]

A single prototype was followed by two aircraft to compare different engine installations, one with air-cooled radials and the other a liquid-cooled V engine; in the end, the French Navy ordered some of each. Eventually, 15 escadrilles were equipped with CAMS 55s of various subtypes, replacing the Latham 47 in some units, and in turn being relegated to secondary duties when the Breguet Bizerte became available in 1936. Twenty-nine remained in service at the outbreak of World War II, with the last examples serving with Escadrille 20S in Tahiti until January 1941.


  • 55.001 - prototype with Hispano-Suiza 12Lbr engines (one built)
  • 55J - engine test version with Gnome et Rhône licence-built Bristol Jupiter engines (two built)
  • 55H - engine test version with Hispano-Suiza 12Lbr engines (two built)
  • 55/1 - production version with Hispano-Suiza 12Lbr engines (43 built)
  • 55/2 - production version with Gnome et Rhône licence-built Bristol Jupiter engines (29 built)
  • 55/3 - version with all-metal hull for French Navy requirement for long-range flying boat. Prototype destroyed early in test programme (one built)
  • 55/6 - version with all-metal hull and floats, saving 400 kg (882 lb) of structural weight; deemed too expensive to produce (one built)
  • 55/10 - version with geared Gnome et Rhône Jupiter engines and increased fuel tankage (32 built, including four tropicalised machines)
  • 55/11 - long-range patrol version (one built)
  • 55/14 - version with all-metal hull (one built)



Specifications (55/10)[edit]

Data from[citation needed]

General characteristics

  • Crew: five
  • Length: 15.03 m (49 ft 4 in)
  • Wingspan: 20.40 m (66 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 5.41 m (17 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 113.5 m2 (1,221 ft2)
  • Empty weight: 4,590 kg (10,119 lb)
  • Gross weight: 6,900 kg (15,212 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Gnome-Rhône Jupiter radial engines, 373 kW (500 hp) each each


  • Maximum speed: 195 km/h (121 mph)
  • Range: 1,875 km (1,165 miles)
  • Service ceiling: 3,400 m (11,155 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 2.2 m/s (433 ft/min)


  • 2 × trainable .303 Lewis guns in open bow position
  • 2 × trainable .303 Lewis guns in open dorsal position
  • 2 × 75 kg (165 lb) bombs carried under lower wing

See also[edit]

Related lists



  1. ^ Taylor 1986, p. 226.


  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions, 1989. ISBN 0-517-69186-8.
  • World Aircraft Information Files. London: Bright Star Publishing, File 891, Sheets 02–03.