The Caudron C.690 was single-seat training aircraft developed in France in the late 1930s to train fighter pilots to handle high-performance aircraft. It was a conventional low-wing cantilever monoplane that bore a strong resemblance to designer Marcel Riffard’s racer designs of the same period. Caudron attempted to attract overseas sales for the aircraft, but this resulted in orders for only two machines – one from Japan, and the other from the USSR. In the meantime, the first of two prototypes was destroyed in a crash that killed René Paulhan, Caudron’s chief test pilot.
Despite this, the Armée de l’Air eventually showed interest in the type, and ordered a batch of a slightly refined design. The first of these was not delivered until April 1939, and only 15 C.690Ms were supplied before the outbreak of war.
The C.690 was powered by a 230hp Renault 6Q-05 inline piston engine that propelled the aircraft to a maximum speed of 230mph (370kmh) with a service ceiling of 31,825 ft (9,700 m) and a range of 684 miles (1,100 km).
First flight took place on February 18, 1936.