During early 1917, the French designer Louis Béchereau, spurred by the approaching obsolescence of the S.VII, decided to develop two new fighter aircraft, the S.XII and the S.XIII, both using a powerful new geared version of the successful Hispano-Suiza 8A engine. The cannon armament of the S.XII was unpopular with most pilots, but the S.XIII proved to be one of the most capable fighters of the war, as well as one of the most-produced, with 8,472 built.
By the end of the First World War, the S.XIII had equipped virtually every fighter squadron of the Aéronautique Militaire. In addition, the United States Army Air Service also procured the type in bulk during the conflict, and some replaced or supplemented S.VIIs in the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), pending the arrival of Sopwith Dolphins. It proved popular with its pilots; numerous aces from various nations flew the S.XIII during their flying careers. Following the signing of the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which effectively marked the end of the First World War, surplus S.XIIIs were sold in great numbers to both civil and military operators throughout the world.
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