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With the declaration of the war, the fighter aviation is in full reconstruction, with half of its endowment completely outdated. Biplanes Blériot-Spad 510 or Nieuport-Delage Nid62 as well as fixed-landing gear planes Dewoitine D500 ...

The main "modern" appliances in units are the Morane-Saulnier MS406 , with 10 equipped Fighter groups. If they play an equal game with the Messerschmitt 109D at the beginning of the conflict, they will be largely outclassed as soon as the ME 109E arrives. Worse still, the Morane will often be unable to catch up with the German Bombers.

Four groups of fighters are equipped with Curtiss H75 , machines bought dear to the Americans. These planes are modern and robust, but still lack power to compete with the ME109E.

The Air Ministry, however, is counting on the reprieve given by the "Funny war" to upgrade the French Aviaition, via the multiple plans of war hurriedly launched. Thus, it is expected for the beginning of 1940, promising Dewoitine D520 , Bloch MB152 and Arsenal VG33 .

But these aircrafts, launched too quickly, will encounter many problems of development.
Thus, the Dewoitine D520, delivered for experimentation in January 1940 to the GC I / 3, was only operational on May 1940.
The Bloch 152 was victim, from the beginning, of a problem of chronic heating of the engine, It will only be able to get rid of it at the price of a hood of greater dimension which will penalize dramatically its already modest performances ...
The Arsenal VG33 will be delivered only a few copies before the armistice without being able to participate in the fight. But it is probable that the development would have required several weeks : one can think in particular that the enormous ventral radiator would have posed worries on the dusty and stony tracks.
The lack of equipment, propellers, collimator, armament, ... will not allow the provision of many aircrafts and many of them will be delivered in unit with wooden conveyor propellers, or without armament, which makes them unusable in combat

In fact, he missed a year at the Fighter Aviation to catch up. New high-performance aircrafts were in preparation by the year 1941. The Dewoitine D551 ,derived from the D550 racing, announced for a speed of more than 650 km / h or the Bloch MB157 , capable of reaching 670km / h with its engine Gnome Rhone R14 of 1580ch. Captured by the Germans, it will make its first flight under their colors and leaving a strong impression ... Moreover, the deliveries of the planes bought to the Americans could have been completed, and France would have then disposed of recent machines with 230 Curtiss P40, 165 Bell P400 Airacobra, or 417 Loockheed P38

But the History decided on it otherwise...



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