The Lioré-et-Olivier LeO 453 was the designation given to a number of LeO 451 medium bombers that were given Pratt & Whitney radial engines in the late 1940s. At the end of the Second World War around 67 LeO 451s were still intact in France and North Africa, although most were in a poor condition.
In 1946 the AIA (Aviation Industrial Facility) at Algiers decided to convert one of these aircraft into a fast transport. Parts for the original Gnome-Rhone engines were now in short supply, and so they installed two 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-67 Twin Wasp radial engines (nearly 175,000 Twin Wasps were produced so spare parts were never going to be a problem!). Seating for six passengers was installed in the fuselage. The LeO 453 had a cruising speed of 248 mph and an impressive radius of action of 2,175 miles. It was clearly a successful conversion, and another 39 aircraft were converted, starting in 1947.
Most of these aircraft were used by communications units based outside France. A smaller number were turned into air-sea rescue aircraft, with space for a crew of eight (with three observers to search for the target of the rescues), while three dinghies could be carried in the bomb bay. These aircraft were used for search and rescue until 1952, when they were transferred to the communication squadrons.
The LeO 453 became to disappear from service from 1950. Twenty-two were in use in 1940, 13 in 1942 and eight early in 1956. The last two in service were declared obsolete in September 1957.
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