Breguet began design work on the Breguet 761 two-deck airliner even before the end of the Second World War, in 1944. The prototype first flew on 15 February 1949.
The 761 featured a cantilever wing set at mid-height on the bulky fuselage. The retractable tricycle landing gear featured dual-wheel main units. The empennage, high on the rear fuselage had twin fins and rudders. The prototype was powered by four 1,850 hp (1380 kW) SNECMA built Gnome-Rhône 14R radial engines. The prototype was followed by three Br.761S pre-production aircraft powered by 2,020 hp (1506 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-B31 radial engines. They also included a third central fin.
Air Algerie took delivery of the second production model, a Br.761, in March 1952. The aircraft was used as a freighter between France and North Africa and accumulated approx. 700 hrs.
Air France had shown interest in the Br.761 and in 1951 ordered 12 aircraft with the designation Br.763 Provence. The 763 had more powerful engines, an increased wingspan, strengthened wings and three-crew flight deck. The 763 first flew on 20 July 1951 and entered service with Air France in August 1952. The Air France aircraft had accommodation for 59 passengers on the top deck, and 48 on the lower deck, although the aircraft was capable of carrying 135 passengers in a high-density layout. During 1964 Air France transferred six Br.763s to the French Air Force. The air force also acquired the three pre-production Br.761S aircraft and four new Br.765 Sahara freighter aircraft with removable cargo doors
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