In 1916, the French aircraft construction company SPAD created one of the most successful combat aircraft of the First World War, the SPAD VIIc1, which became a real icon alongside other famous machines of its time and was used until the end of the Great War. On the wave of success, the developers decided to further improve the design of the aircraft, without changing it conceptually. Thus, in April 1917, the SPAD XIIIc1 appeared - another iconic aircraft, which was used in the Air Force not only of France, but also of many other countries, and its use continued in the post-war years.
In general, the new fighter at many points was very similar to its glorified predecessor, but its dimensions were larger, the shape of the hood changed, as well as the support of the center plane of the upper wing. The shape of the rudder also changed, the glass of the cockpit was slightly different. Airplanes of early construction had typical rounded tips of the upper and lower wings.
The first flight of the new machine took place on April 4, 1917, the plane was tested by one of the most famous French aces, RenÃ© Dorm. The plane developed a speed of 217 km per hour, and namely the speed at that time was considered the main characteristic of the fighter, and this indicator turned out to be more than satisfactory.
Since new fighters, as well as previous successful developments, were needed for the front in significant quantities, production was deployed not only at the facilities of the SPAD company, but also at the factories of Bleriot, Bernard, Kellner, Nieuport and some others. In total, about 17,000 aircraft of this type were ordered, but only about 8,000 were produced by the end of the war, and all other contracts were canceled immediately after the end of the war.
A few months after the appearance of the fighter, serial construction of its more advanced modification began. The main visual difference was the ends of the wings of a straightened shape (in contrast to the rounded ones on earlier cars). Also new were the grille, radiators, and side blinds of the hoods.
In addition to the French Air Force, the aircraft was offered by the Royal Air Force of Great Britain, which used its predecessor, however, despite the agreements, the delivery of these aircraft to England was significantly delayed, and only isolated divisions of the Royal Air Force used the SPAD XIII. Another important operator of this aircraft was the newly created US Air Force, which at that time had almost no aircraft of its own design and purchased aviation equipment, primarily from France, in significant quantities. In total, 16 squadrons of the US Air Force were equipped with SPAD XIII aircraft. Fighters of this type were also transferred to the Italian Air Force, the best Italian ace Francesco Barakka fought on one of them.
The main problem of the SPAD XIII was the unstable operation of the new Hispano Suiza 8Bc engine. In addition to the problem of overheating, which was overcome, another was added - the vibration of the engine, which interfered with stable flight. Because of it, serial production was suspended from time to time, which negatively affected the image of the aircraft as a whole against the background of new developments by other manufacturers, who in the last period of the war offered more modern and improved fighters. Despite this, the SPAD XIII remained in the combat units of many countries not only until the end of the war, but also in the first post-war years.