IN a recent issue of the Paris “Le Temps,” the young French naval officer who has made such a brilliant record as an aviator under the pseudonym of Andre Beaumont, discusses the present status and future possibilities of the aeroplane as a factor in naval maneuvers. We take pleasure in reproducing here the greater part of this interesting exposition, omitting some introductory remarks of a biographical character, and taking up the author's words at the point where he enters upon his main theme.—Ed. Must we seek for marine service the ideal machine which takes flight from the earth, poises itself upon a troubled sea, renews its flight unharmed, executes maneuvers about the' fleet, and then at will returns to land or casts anchor in port? Unfortunately such a machine does not exist to-day, and I am afraid it will not be produced for a year or two, despite the laudable efforts of our constructors, and meanwhile must we be deprived of the aid of aviation in the marine? To my mind that would be a mistake, and we should be depriving ourselves of an auxiliary already powerful and capable of becoming redoubtable if handled with the skill and daring which have always been -among the professional qualities of sailors. Why wait for future progress when the actual state of affairs is so satisfactory? Let the constructors continue their researches; let us help and encourage them, and, if necessary, undertake parallel studies in the navy. Let us urge experimental trials, but let us begin by adopting the actual machine that we may profit immediately by the progress attained. Let us consider how the machine of to-day can be of service: We can have in the first place the “coast aeroplane,” which, rising from a point of departure in proximity to a port of war, could fly out to a great distance over the watei-(30 miles, for instance), and, mounting to a great height, from 1,500 to 4,500 feet, according to the clearness of the atmosphere, descry upon the distant horizon the presence of a hostile squadron or a fleet of torpedo boats. It could observe the number, strength, formation, and direction of the enemy, and in less than an hour and a half return with a report which would at present require the employment of two 0” three cruisers. or ten torpedo-boat destroyers, and two or three times as great a lapse of time. Then there is the search for submarines or mines placed by the enemy in - the channels of safe exit from ports. The recent experiments of the aviator Au-brun at Cherbourg have shown that from a height it is possible to see a considerable depth down into the water. The “aeroplane of the high seas” would be capable of a mission of larger extent and greater radius than the coast aeroplane. This is the machine belonging to a specially equipped convoy boat (not a man-of-war). The aeroplane rises from (Continued on jjaye 3&7.)
This article was originally published with the title "The Aeroplane in Naval Service"