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Role Coastal reconnaissance floatplane
National origin France
Manufacturer SNCASE
First flight 31 December 1939
Status Prototype
Number built 1

The SNCASE SE-400 was a prototype French twin-engined coastal patrol floatplane of the Second World War. A single example was flown, but development was abandoned in May 1940 owing to the German invasion of France.

Design and development[edit]

In 1937 the French Air Ministry issued specification A46 for a three-seat coastal reconnaissance seaplane to replace the obsolete CAMS 37 biplane flying boats of the French Navy. To meet this requirement, the 'Société Nationale des Constructions Aéronautiques du Sud-Est (SNCASE) designed a twin engined monoplane floatplane, the SE-400, work beginning on construction of two prototypes in March 1938.[1][2]

The SE.400 was of mixed construction, with a steel tube fuselage and wooden wings. It had a twin tail and was powered by two 655 hp (489 kW) Gnome-Rhône 14M radial engines. The aircraft's undercarriage consisted of two light alloy floats mounted beneath the engines.[1]

Operational history[edit]

The first prototype, the SE.400-01 made its maiden flight from Marignane on 31 December 1939.[1] Flight testing showed that the SE-400 suffered from stability problems, and the aircraft had a new, larger, tail assembly fitted and its nose lengthened. These modifications resolved the aircraft's handling problems,[3] but by this time the competing Breguet Nautilus had been ordered into production.[4]

The war situation and the continuing delays in the program resulted in the development of the SE-400 being abandoned on 24 May 1940, with the second prototype, a landplane powered by two 500 hp (373 kW) Lorraine 9N Algol engines, left incomplete.[5]




Data from War Planes of the Second World War[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 13.50 m (44 ft 3 in)
  • Wingspan: 19.35 m (63 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 4.50 m (14 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 52.00 m2 (559.7 sq ft)
  • Gross weight: 5,500 kg (12,125 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Gnome-Rhône 14M 8/9 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, 488 kW (655 hp) each


  • Maximum speed: 290 km/h; 156 kn (180 mph) at 2,000 m (6,560 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 159 km/h; 86 kn (99 mph) (econ cruise)
  • Range: 958 km; 517 nmi (595 mi) at 159 km/h (99 mph)
  • Endurance: 6 hr
  • Service ceiling: 4,000 m (13,120 ft)


  • Guns: 1× 7.5 mm Darne machine gun at dorsal position
  • Bombs: 2× 75 kg (165 lb) bombs and 2× flares

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists


  1. ^ a b c Green 1962, p. 49.
  2. ^ Hartmann 2005, p. 9.
  3. ^ Green 1962, p. 50.
  4. ^ Green 1968, p. 13.
  5. ^ Green 1962, pp. 50–51.
  6. ^ Green 1962, p. 51.


  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War:Volume Five Flying Boats. London: Macdonald, 1968. ISBN 0-356-01449-5.
  • Green, William. War Planes of the Second World War:Volume Six Floatplanes. London: Macdonald, 1962.
  • Hartmann, Gérard. "Les réalisations de la SNCASE". 5 January 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2011.

External links[edit]