Before synchronized machine guns were available to the Allied forces, there were several attempts to design a plane which could fire forward. One of the more ingenious solutions was developed by the French firm Société Anonyme Pour l’Aviation et ses Dérivés.
The SPAD A.2 had a nacelle mounted in front of the propeller which held a gunner and a highly moveable machine gun. The nacelle incorporated vents to increase air flow over the engine and could be lowered for servicing the engine. A cage behind protected the gunner from the propeller.
Although the gunner had a clear field of fire, the configuration severely limited the pilot's view and made communication between crew members impossible.
|Country of Manufacture||France|
|First Year of Service||1915|
|Wing Span||31.33 ft | 9.55 m|
|Length||23.9 ft | 7.3 m|
|Height||8.66 ft | 2.65 m|
|Weight||1618 lbs | 735 kg|
|Engine||Le Rhone 9 cylinder air-cooled rotary engine, 80hp|
|Top Speed||95 mph | 153 km/h|
|Range||186 miles | 300 km|
|Armament||1 Lewis .303 machine gun|