The Loire 130 was designed for the French Navy in response to a request for a new reconnaissance seaplane to serve aboard battleships and cruisers in the fleet. The 130 beat off competition from 5 other manufacturers to win the contract and enter production, and eventually 125 of all models were constructed.
The 130 was a monoplane flying boat design with the fuselage also acting as a hull when the aircraft was in the water, which stood in contrast to the floatplane designs favoured by the US and Japanese navies. The Hispano-Suiza engine was mounted in a ‘pusher’ configuration, similar to the British Supermarine Walrus. The aircraft was quite large, with a crew of three and space for four passengers, making it useful as a liaison type between warships and land bases.
The Loire 130 entered service in 1938, with 130M versions equipping French fleet until and 130Cl models being assigned to overseas colonies – eight of them being assigned to Escadrille 1/CBS in French Indochina. The type saw service during the Franco-Thai War in early 1941, performing reconnaissance duties during the battle over disputed provinces in the south of the colony.
Remaining in service with Vichy forces for the remainder of the war, the Loire 130 had a long if undistinguished career. Production was even restarted with a limited number being manufactured in Vichy-run factories. A handful of the flying boats even remained in service following the end of the war, but all had been withdrawn and scrapped by 1950.
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