SNCASO Trident

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SO.9000/SO.9050 Trident
SO.9000 Trident.JPG
Role Research interceptor aircraft
National origin France
Manufacturer SNCASO
First flight 2 March 1953
Number built 12

The SNCASO SO.9000 Trident was a French mixed-power interceptor aircraft of the 1950s. Capable of supersonic flight, the project was cancelled in July 1957 after only 12 examples had been built.

Design and development[edit]

The French Air Staff tasked SNCASO to develop a point defence interceptor, studies began in October 1948.[1] The aircraft that emerged was a shoulder-wing monoplane, to be primarily powered by a SEPR rocket engine and augmented with wing-tip mounted turbojets. First flown on 2 March 1953 by test pilot Jacques Guignard, the aircraft used the entire length of the runway to get airborne powered only by its turbojets.[1] From March 1955 the Trident I flew with new turbojets, the more powerful Dassault-built MD 30 Viper ASV.5, which produced 7.34 kN (1,654 lbf) thrust each. With these engines it soon exceeded Mach 1 in a shallow dive without rocket power.[2]

Test flights of the SO.9000 were described by the author Bill Gunston as 'hairy' until the rocket motor was added in September 1954. During the 18-month test programme the aircraft completed over 100 flights, eventually reaching a speed of Mach 1.8 and an altitude of 20,000 metres (65,000 ft).[1]

The first Trident II, 001, was destroyed on 21 May 1957 during a test-flight out of Centre d'Essais en Vol (Flight Test Center) when its highly volatile fuels, Furaline and nitric acid, accidentally mixed and exploded, killing test pilot Charles Goujon.[3][4] In 1958, the Trident II set time to height and altitude records. Its record altitude of 24,300 metres (79,700 ft) in May was made by Roger Carpentier[5]

The project was cancelled in July 1957; the decision was influenced by the manned fighter cuts announced by the British Defence Minister, Duncan Sandys.[1]


SO.9000 Trident I[edit]

Two aircraft built. The first aircraft was built at Istres and was completed in late 1952, the second aircraft 02 crashed on its first flight in September 1953. Three-chamber SEPR 481 rocket engine, each chamber producing 2,755 lbf (12,250 N) thrust.

SO.9050 Trident II[edit]

Ten pre-production aircraft ordered in 1953. Higher power, 11.77 kN (2,645 lbf), Turbomeca Gabizo turbojets, with a two-chamber SEPR 631 rocket engine (each chamber now being individually ignited for finer thrust control). First flight 21 December 1955.

Aircraft on display[edit]

The preserved SO.9000-01 Trident has been on public display since 1956 at the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, near Paris.

Specifications (SO.9000)[edit]

Trident-IMG 8805.jpg

Data from Gunston[6] Rothmund[7]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 14 m (45 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.15 m (26 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 3.17 m (10 ft 5 in)
  • Wing area: 14.5 m2 (156 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 3,350 kg (7,385 lb)
  • Gross weight: 5,500 kg (12,125 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Turbomeca Marboré centrifugal flow turbojet, 3.9 kN (880 lbf) thrust each
  • Powerplant: 1 × SEPR 481 liquid-fuelled triple chamber rocket engine, 12.37 kN (2,780 lbf) thrust per chamber


  • Maximum speed: 1,707 km/h (1,061 mph; 922 kn)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.6

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era



  1. ^ a b c d Gunston 1981, pp. 218—19.
  2. ^ Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1956/7, pp. 154–55
  3. ^ Jackson 1986, p. 91.
  4. ^ Flight, 1957 Retrieved: 15 October 2010
  5. ^ "Trident's 79,720ft"
  6. ^ Gunston 1981, p. 219.
  7. ^ IAC-04-IAA- REUSABLE MAN-RATED ROCKET ENGINES The French Experience, 1944-1996


  • Bridgman, Leonard (1956). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1956-57. London: Jane's All the World's Aircraft Publishing Co. 
  • Gunston, Bill. Fighters of the Fifties. Cambridge, England: Patrick Stephens Limited, 1981. ISBN 0-85059-463-4.
  • Jackson, Robert. "Combat Aircraft Prototypes since 1945", New York: Arco/Prentice Hall Press, 1986, LCCN 85-18725, ISBN 978-0-671-61953-4.
  • Taylor, John W.R. Jane's Pocket Book of Research and Experimental Aircraft, London: Macdonald and Jane's Publishers, 1976. ISBN 0-356-08409-4.

External links[edit]