The Breguet 690 was designed in response to a 1934 French air ministry specification calling for a twin-engined three-seat fighter. Several manufacturers submitted proposals, and the contest was won by the Potez 630. The Breguet proposal had been heavier and more powerful than the other submissions, its designers believing it to be a more versatile, multi-role aeroplane. Design of the Breguet 690 was started in 1935 and a prototype was completed in 1937, first flying on 23 March 1938. The aircraft was found to have a performance superior to that of the Potez 630, and Breguet received a contract to supply 100 aircraft, configured as light attack bombers.
The resulting Breguet 691 was a clean-looking cantilever mid-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, with two wing-mounted engines and a short fuselage nose reminiscent of that of the Bristol Beaufighter. Aft of the wing, however, the fuselage tapered to a tailplane with twin endplate fins and rudders. Conversion from Bre.690 to Bre.691 was relatively simple, the mam change being deletion of the navigator's position to provide a small bomb bay. Experience with the Bre.691 proved the Hispano-Suiza powerplants to be unreliable, and the Bre.693.01 was introduced with two Gnome-Rhône 14M-6/7 engines after only 78 Bre,691s had been built. Two hundred and thirty four examples of the Bre. 693 were built, later examples having two extra 7,5-mm (0.3-in) machine-guns, one installed in the tail of each engine nacelle, to improve self-defence.
Foreign interest in the Bre. 690 series was cut short by the German invasion of France and the single Bre.694.01 built, intended as a threeseat reconnaissance aircraft, was delivered directly to the Aéronavale. The Bre. 694 was generally similar to the original Bre.690 with no bomb bay and a navigator's compartment, but with Gnome-Rhône 14M-4/5 engines.
The Bre.695 was virtually identical to the Bre. 693 but with Pratt & Whitney SB4G Twin Wasp Junior engines. It was felt desirable to design a version of the aircraft using foreign engines in case the supply of French powerplants was disrupted by enemy action, Fifty Bre. 695s were built, being delivered to Groupe 18 in June 1940.
The Bre.696 and 697 were built only as prototypes and were respectively a two-seat light bomber and a two-seat heavy destroyer. The Breguet 693 proved extremely vulnerable and almost half were lost to enemy action.
Specification Breguet 693 Type: two-seat light attack bomber Powerplant: two 700-hp (522-kW) Gnome-Rhône 14M-6/7 radial piston engines Performance: maximum speed 490 km/h (304 mph) at 5000 m (16,400 ft); maximum cruising speed 400 km/h (248 mph) at 4000 m (13,125 ft); maximum range 1350 km (839 miles) Weights: empty 3010 kg (6,636 lb); maximum take-off 4900 kg (10,803 lb) Dimensions: span 15.37 m (50 ft 5 in); length 9.67 m (31 ft 8% in); height 3.19 m (10 ft 5% in); wing area 29,20 m2 (32 sq ft) Armament: one 20-mm Hispano-Smza cannon and two 7.5-mm Darne machine-guns firing forward, plus one similar gun on pivoted mount in rear cockpit, one fixed 7.5-mm gun firing obliguely aft from ventral position and (late models) two 7.5-mm guns, one in each engine nacelle firing aft, and up to 400 kg (882 lb) of bombs.