Development and design The Bloch MB.200 was designed in response to a 1932 requirement for a new day/night bomber to equip the French Air Force. It was a high-winged all-metal cantilever monoplane, with a slab-sided fuselage, powered by two Gnome & Rhône 14Kirs radial engines. It had a fixed tailwheel undercarriage and featured an enclosed cockpit for the pilots. Defensive machine guns were in nose and dorsal gun turrets and an under fuselage gondola.[1] The first of three prototypes flew on 26 June 1933.[1][2] As one of the winning designs for the competition, (the other was the larger Farman F.221),[1] an initial order for 30 MB.200s was placed on 1 January 1934,[2] entering service late in that year. Further orders followed, and the MB.200 equipped 12 French squadrons by the end of 1935.[1] Production in France totalled over 208 aircraft (4 by Bloch, 19 by Breguet, 19 by Loire, 45 by Hanriot, 10 by SNCASO and 111 by Potez.[3] [edit]Operational history Czechoslovakia chose the MB.200 as part of a modernisation program for its air force of the mid 1930s. Although at the rate of aircraft development at that time, the MB.200 would quickly become obsolete, the Czechoslovakians needed a quick solution involving the license production of a proven design, as their own aircraft industry did not have sufficient development experience with such a large aircraft, or with all-metal airframes and stressed-skin construction, placing an initial order for 74 aircraft. After some delays, both Aero and Avia began license-production in 1937, with a total of about 124 built.[1] Czechoslovakian MB.200s were basically similar to their French counterparts, with differences in defensive armament and other equipment. The gradual German conquest of Czechoslovakia meant that MB.200s eventually passed under their control, including aircraft that were still coming off the production line. As well as serving in the German Luftwaffe, some bombers were distributed to Bulgaria. Vichy France deployed a squadron of MB.200s against the Allied invasion of Lebanon and Syria in 1941, carrying out at least one daylight bombing mission against British shipping. Specifications (MB.200B.4) General characteristics Crew: 4 Length: 16 m (52 ft 6 in) Wingspan: 22.45 m (73 ft 8 in) Height: 3.9 m (12 ft 10 in) Wing area: 62.5 m2 (673 sq ft) Empty weight: 4,300 kg (9,480 lb) Max takeoff weight: 7,480 kg (16,491 lb) Powerplant: 2 × Gnome-Rhône 14Kirs 14-cyl. 2-row air-cooled radial piston engines, 649 kW (870 hp) each Performance Maximum speed: 285 km/h (177 mph; 154 kn) Range: 1,000 km (621 mi; 540 nmi) Service ceiling: 8,000 m (26,247 ft) Rate of climb: 4.33 m/s (852 ft/min) Armament Guns: 3 × 7.5 mm (0.295 in) MAC 1934 machine guns (one for each defensive post). Bombs: 1,200 kg (2,646 lb) of bombs

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