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

The SNCASO SO.9000 Trident was a mixed power French prototype 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 | edit source]

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]

A Trident II was lost due to an accident on 21 May 1957 [3] In 1958, the Trident II set time to height and altitude records. Its record altitude of 24,300 m in May was made by Roger Carpentier[4]

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]

Variants[edit | edit source]

SO.9000 Trident I

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

Ten pre-production aircraft ordered in 1953. Higher power Turbomeca Gabizo turbojets (2,645 lbf (11.77 kN) thrust) with 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 | edit source]

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 | edit source]

Data from Gunston[5] Rothmund[6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One, pilot
  • Length: 14 m (45 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.15 m (26 ft 9 in)
  • Height: 3.17 (12 ft 1.5 in)
  • Wing area: 14.5 m² (156 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 3,350 kg (7,385 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 5,500 kg (12,125 lb)
  • Powerplant:


  • Maximum speed: 1,707 km/h (1,060 mph) Mach 1.6

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Gunston 1981, pp. 218—219.
  2. Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1956/7, pages 154-5
  3. Flight, 1957 Retrieved: 15 October 2010
  4. "Trident's 79,720ft"
  5. Gunston 1981, p. 219.
  6. IAC-04-IAA- REUSABLE MAN-RATED ROCKET ENGINES The French Experience, 1944-1996

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Bridgman, Leonard (1956). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1956-57. London: Jane's All the World's Aircraft Publishing Co. Ltd. 
  • Gunston, Bill. Fighters of the Fifties. Cambridge, England. Patrick Stephens Limited, 1981. ISBN 0-85059-463-4
  • Taylor, John W.R. Jane's Pocket Book of Research and Experimental Aircraft, London, Macdonald and Jane's Publishers Ltd, 1976. ISBN 0-356-08409-4.

External links[edit | edit source]

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