The effects of nationalization of the French aircraft manufacturing industry, which contributed to the fall of France in World War II, became so serious during the postwar period that late in 1949 the Parliament considered reorganization or even possible denationalization of the industry. Under the nationalization the industry was grouped into four national regional companies.
Largest product of the SNCA du Centre was the NC-211 Cormoran four-engine freighter, a high wing monoplane powered by four 1,600 hp. SNECMA radial engines. The prototype of this design crashed on its inaugural flight and this precipitated a long controversy over the value of the machine but additional models are being built. It is planned to substitute British or American engines for the French power plants. A series of small side-by-side personal planes is being manufactured successfully by the Centre group and more will undoubtedly be heard of these aircraft.
A number of jet-powered military aircraft designs, including the NC-1071 for the Navy, have been developed by the Centre group. This design is powered by two Hispano-built Rolls Royce Nene turbojets. Another is the NC-1080 single-seat shipboard fighter powered by one Nene turbojet buried in the fuselage. A third is the twin-Nene-powered NC-270 bomber, which weighs 55,000 lb. and which is expected to attain a maximum speed of about 88 per cent of the speed of sound.
The SNCA du Nord has developed an unusual transport plane having two engines arranged in pusher installations. Power plant for several variations is two 420 hp. Potez SDO engines. Seats for 8-10 passengers are provided in one version.
A twin-engine transport resembling our Fairchild Packet is powered by two 1,575 hp. SNECMA engines and has an estimated maximum speed of 231 mph. at 9,840 ft. and a normal range of 930 miles.
A popular light touring plane developed by this group is the Nord Nor’ecrin and more than 250 of these have been delivered. One version is powered by a 135 hp. Regnier 4L engine and is a low-wing, four-seat machine.
The Navy has ordered 25 Nord 1,400 Noriot twin-engine amphibians, each powered by two 1,600 hp. SNECMA engines. It is a long-range reconnaissance plane and carries a crew of eight.
Test flights are in progress on the Nord 2,200 Nene-powered shipboard fighter, a single seater for carrier operation. A high speed of 581 mph. is expected at 16,400 ft.
A two-seat jet research aircraft designated Nord 1601 is also well underway and, if successful, will constitute the basis for the N-1600 all-weather fighter.
Under construction at the outbreak of the war were four six-engine flying boats by the SNCA du Sud-Est. This design was abandoned for the larger SE-1200 designed to carry 125 passengers and weighing 138 tons. Initial power plant was eight 4,050 hp. Arsenal 24H engines, but later plans call for substitution of eight British Python turboprops.
Since the war this group has built a number of SE 161 Languedoc four-engine airliners for Air France. Successor is the SE 2010 Armaguac airliner now being built. If successful it will compare with our Globemaster and Stratocruiser in size and weight. It is powered by four Pratt and Whitney Wasp Major engines turning 15 ft. 2 in. Curtiss reversible electric propellers.
Two other SE planes are the SE 1010 long-range aerial survey plane and the SE 2410, a high-speed jet fighter powered by two Rolls Royce Nene engines.
Projects of the SNCA du Sud-Ouest include the SO 6000 Triton, first French jet to fly and from which came the more recent SE 6020 Espandon single-seat jet fighter. Most advanced jet plane from this group is the SO 4000, a tandem two-seat mid-wing bomber. A piston-engine fighter, the SO 8000 Naval, is also under development. Two transports, the 30-37 seats SO 30P Bretagne and the 6-10 seats SO Corse II are also offered by the Sud-Ouest group.
In addition to their many prototype aircraft in the fixed-wing field, all four French manufacturing groups are designing and building various types of helicopters.
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