Morane-Saulnier M.S. 222

Morane-Saulnier M.S. 222

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Morane-Saulnier M.S. 222

The Morane-Saulnier M.S. 222 was the third in a series of parasol wing fighters produced in response to a French requirement for a lightweight fighter, and differed from the earlier M.S. 221 by having a turbo-supercharged engine.

The first of these designs, the M.S. 121, had made its maiden flight in 1927. It was powered by a 400hp Hispano-Suiza, and lacked the required rate of climb. It was followed by the very similar M.S. 221, which used a 600hp Gnome-Rhône 9Ae Jupiter radial engine. This aircraft was more powerful and lighter than the M.S. 121, but it still lacked level speed.

The second of the two M.S. 221 prototypes was given a turbo-supercharged Gnome-Rhône 9As Jupiter engine, also rated at 600hp but that gave its maximum power at 12,465ft. The re-engined aircraft was given the new designation M.S. 222. This aircraft made its maiden flight in March 1929. It had an improved rate of climb, but its top speed remained 166mph (although at a more useful altitude than in the M.S.221).

The first of the M.S.222 prototypes was used by Maryse Hilz to establish a height record for women pilots in 1932. A second prototype was also built, this time with a Townend ring around the engine. The M.S. 222 was followed by the very similar M.S. 223, which featured a different undercarriage, but soon after this, in 1930, the French air ministry cancelled the 'Jockey' programme. This allowed Morane-Saulnier to increase the weight of their next design, and the M.S. 224 was a more successful aircraft that entered service in a modified form and in small numbers as the M.S. 225.

Design and development

The MS.140 was designed as an ambulance aircraft, with a hatch behind the pilot into which a stretcher could be slid. For maximum utility a second seat with dual control could be fitted instead, the aircraft then able to perform as a trainer. [1]

For a 1927 design it was backward looking, particularly in it use of a rotary engine, an 80   hp (60   kW) Le Rhône 9C. It had an all wood structure with fabric covering. The MS.140 was a single bay biplane with wings of equal span but sweepback on the upper wing only. The bays were defined by pairs of parallel interplane struts. On each side a shorter pair of struts ran from the upper fuselage to the upper wing and another pair from the upper fuselage to the lower wing immediately above the attachment point of the main landing leg. The conventional undercarriage had a wide track, with single wheels on a split axle formed from V-shaped struts hinged at the fuselage lower centreline. The fuselage was square sided with a rounded decking, the pilot sitting below a cut-out in the upper wing for upward visibility. The engine was cowled. [1]

The MS.140 had a generous wing area, giving it a low wing loading of about 25   kg/m 3 (5   lb/ft 2 ). Combined with a high lift airfoil section, this gave it the ability to operate from very small fields. [1]

Operational history

The M.S.225s of the Armée de l'Air served in the 7e Escadre de Chasse (7th Fighter Wing) at Dijon, and in two escadrilles of the 42e Escadre (42nd Wing), based at Rheims. They were withdrawn from front-line service between 1936 and 1937. The aircraft also flew with the Aéronavale l'Escadrille 3C1, established in Marignane, this formation later transferring to the Air Force at the beginning of 1936, where it became Le Groupe de Chasse II/8. [1]

The Air Force Aerobatic Squadron based at Étampes used five modified M.S.225s, with a larger vertical stabilizer, while the last unit of the Air Force to operate this aircraft was the flying school based at Salon-de-Provence.

At the outbreak of World War II, only 20 M.S.225s were still in flying condition, the majority of them being scrapped in mid-1940.

The Grumman F4F Wildcat was one of the major carrier-based fighters of the United States Navy during World War II. The Wildcat saw action throughout the Pacific, playing a pivotal role in defending the U.S. fleet from Japanese attack. Although the Japanese Mitsubishi Zero was quicker and more maneuverable, the Wildcat was extremely tough. Wildcats accounted for 1,327 enemy kills during the war.

This short stubby Russian fighter first entered service in 1934. By the start of World War II, the Polikarpov i-16 was not a match for more advanced German fighter aircraft. It was fondly nicknamed "Donkey" by its pilots.

Operational history

On 18 July 1956 the French government requisitioned 50 aircraft, including 14 for the Navy, from Tarbes-based manufacturer Morane-Saulnier. The first plane was delivered on 9 February 1959 to Naval Air Station (N.A.S.) Dugny-Le Bourget, before going to the C.E.P.A. (Aeronautical Practical Experiment Center) in 1959-60, for the flight tests necessary to develop training programs and materials. It was also purchased by several countries such as Brazil and Argentina 36 planes were license-built by Fábrica Militar de Aviones in Argentina. The MS-760B Paris II, with various systems improvements and integral fuel tanks in the leading edges of the wing, first flew on 12 December 1960.

The 14 "Moranes" (the plane's nickname in the French Navy) were assigned to Flight 11.S from 9 February 1959 onwards. The last plane, No. 88, was delivered on 27 July 1961. In 1965, MS-760 No. 48 was briefly assigned to Flight 3.S based at N.A.S Hyères, which already flew the MD 312 Flamant, the MS-733 Alcyon, the MH.1521M Broussard, the S.O.30P Bretagne and the Br.1050 Alizé. Morane No.48 subsequently crashed on 4 January 1968 at Rennes. From 1970 onwards, all the 12 planes left were assigned to Flight 2.S based at N.A.S. Lann-Bihoué. In May 1972 they were sent to the S.R.L. On 1 September 1981 this unit became Flight 57.S (flight which had been shut down since the closing of N.A.S. Port-Lyautey, Morocco on 15 January 1962).

Their missions were Super Étendard and F-8 Crusader pilot IFR and all-weather training, advanced training for new pilots, proficiency training for other pilots and A.L.P.A. (admirals commanding the carriers and Naval Aviation). and 1st and 2nd Aerial Regions liaisons.

Eight MS-760 Paris were on the unit's flightline, next to three Dassault Falcon 10 MER. After 40 years of service, the aircraft were retired in October 1997 at N.A.S. Landivisiau.

In 2007, after 48 years of continuous service, the Argentine Air Force retired their last Paris. [1]

Many of the 27 civilian MS-760 Jets are still in service, with some of them for sale and competing very favourably with the new generation of very light jets on price despite having early generation noisy engines with high fuel consumption and long runway requirements. [citation needed]

Development [ edit ]

As a direct result of concern over the escalating cost of fighter manufacture, the French government and air force instituted a program for chasseurs légers or 'light fighters' in 1926. This was unofficially known as the 'Jockey' program, and it envisaged the use of moderate guns, minimal equipment and small amounts of ammunition. Emphasis was placed on climb rate, endurance and a ceiling (high for the time) of 8000 metres. To meet this requirement, Morane-Saulnier designed the MoS-121, renamed the MS 121 in 1927, as a single-seat parasol monoplane of mixed construction.


The MS.341 was a typical Morane-Saulnier parasol wing monoplane, though it was intended to bring this tradition into line with 1930s practice. Of mixed wood and metal construction, it was designed for club and training rôles. The wing, with 18° of sweep but with no dihedral, was mounted centrally to the upper fuselage by N-shaped cabane struts and braced with V-form lift struts from mid-span to the lower fuselage longeron. The fuselage was flat sided with a curved decking and tandem open cockpits, the forward one under the wing leading edge where there was a cut-out for better visibility. The MS.341 had a fin with a straight leading edge and a tailplane mounted on top of the fuselage, braced to the fin. The rudder extended to the bottom of the fuselage, moving between the two separate elevators. Both control surfaces were horn balanced Ώ]

The MS.341 had a conventional undercarriage with a small tailwheel. Single mainwheels were mounted on V-form legs hinged centrally under the fuselage. Vertical shock absorber in broad fairings were supported by an array of four struts, one to the forward lift strut's junction with the wing, one to the upper fuselage longeron and two to the lower one. Most of the variants in the MS.340 family were powered by air-cooled inverted four cylinder in-line piston engines from either Renault or de Havilland. The exception was the MS.343 variant which had a nine-cylinder Salmson 9N radial. Ώ]

The final variant was the MS.345 which appeared in 1935. It had dihedral on the wings and a taller fin and rudder. The shock absorber mounting was simplified, with the four struts per side replaced with a Y-shaped strut between wing and undercarriage leg. The leg struts were now faired together and the wheels spatted. It was powered by a 100 kW (140 hp) Renault 4Pei engine. Ώ]

The MS.340 prototype made its first flight in April 1933, powered by a 90 kW (120 hp) de Havilland Gipsy III but later flew as a MS.341 with a 90 kW (120 hp) Renault 4Pdi engine. The MS.345 first flew in June 1935 but by this time Morane-Saulnier were concentrating on the MS.405/6 fighter and in the absence of orders for the MS.345 development of the lightplane ceased. Ώ]


The MS.152 was designed to meet a government requirement for an aircraft which was powerful enough to carry the equipment required to train the crews of observation and bomber aircraft, and to act as medical and liaison aircraft, but without the high running expenses of the 340–370 kW (450–500 hp) engines of the front-line aircraft of the day. Instead of these, the MS.152 could accept a variety of engines producing about 168 kW (225 hp). Like many Morane-Saulnier aircraft, it had a parasol wing. but some components like the wings and undercarriage were new and designed to be simple. Ώ]

The parasol wing of the MS.152 was in two parts, which were straight-edged with constant thickness and chord. They were swept at about 7° but mounted without dihedral. These fabric covered panels were of mixed construction, with twin metal spars but wooden ribs, false spars and leading edges. Each was supported just beyond mid-span by pairs of streamlined, duralumin tube struts converging downwards from the spars to a frame mounted on the fuselage. This was formed by a parallel pair of horizontal struts from the lower fuselage and a second, similar pair angled down from the upper fuselage. The wing was held over the fuselage on a cabane consisting of two N-struts from the central wing panel joint to the upper fuselage at its two forward principal frames. Ώ] ΐ]

The MS.152's nose-mounted, 170 kW (230 hp), nine-cylinder Salmson 9Ab radial engine appears uncowled in photographs. The engine bearings were designed to accept other radial engines of similar powers. Fuel and oil tanks were in the fuselage, which was built around four duralumin tube longerons, joined by metal frames to the rear of the cockpits and with a polygonal dural tube structure behind. The forward section was metal-skinned, with fabric aft. The pilot's cockpit was under a deep trailing edge cut-out, easing access and providing an upward field of view. He controlled a machine gun fitted to the port side of the fuselage. Behind him was a second cockpit which could be fitted out in different ways, for example with radio or photographic equipment or for gunnery with twin Lewis guns on a flexible mount plus a synchronised Vickers machine gun, or with night-flying equipment. Ώ] ΐ]

The empennage of the MS.152 was conventional, with its horizontal tail, almost rectangular in plan and of high aspect ratio, mounted on the upper fuselage. Its fin was quadrantal in profile and carried a tapered rudder down to the keel. The control surfaces were unbalanced. Ώ]

It had conventional, fixed landing gear with a 3 m (120 in) track. Each mainwheel was on a cranked axle hinged on the lower fuselage, with a drag strut fixed further aft. Its faired, rubber ring-damped landing leg was almost vertical and attached to the forward part of the wing strut mounting frame. Ώ] ΐ]


The MS.350 was a two bay biplane with equal span wings. In plan these were straight tapered, with sweep only on the leading edge, and with elliptical tips. Only the lower wing had dihedral. Both upper and lower wings were built around two duralumin box-spars, joined together on each side by a single, faired, broad-footed interplane strut to a steel cross-link between the spars. There were ailerons on both upper and lower wings. A pair of outward leaning, N-form cabane struts braced the upper wing centre section high over the fuselage. The usual wire bracing completed the wing structure. Ώ]

The trainer was powered by a neatly cowled, 180 kW (240 hp) Renault 6Pei 6-cylinder inverted air-cooled inline engine. The fuselage was constructed around four duralumin tube longerons with metal skinning from engine to cockpit and fabric covered behind. Its open cockpit was just behind the trailing edge of the upper wing, where there was a semicircular cutout to improve the pilot's upward field of view. Behind his seat there was a 0.15 m 3 (5.3 cu ft) storage locker. Ώ]

The horizontal tail was essentially trapezoidal in plan and included balanced elevators which had a nick for operation of a balanced rudder. The fin was trapezoidal in profile and the rudder straight-edged, though with a rounded top. It extended to the keel. The tail surfaces were fabric covered metal structures. Ώ]

The MS.350 had a fixed tailskid undercarriage with a track of 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in). Each mainwheel was mounted on a steel tube leg hinged on the lower fuselage longeron. Together with an oleo strut, each leg was enclosed in a fairing the wheels also had fairings and were fitted with brakes. The tailskid was steerable. Ώ]

Airplanes in the skies + FAF history

France sent 30 Morane-Saulnier to Finland, between 4 and 29 February 1940.
By 1943 the Finns had received an additional 46 M.S.406s and 11 M.S.410s purchased from the Germans. By this point, the fighters were hopelessly outdated, but the Finns were so desperate for serviceable aircraft that they decided to start a modification program to bring all of their examples to a new standard.

The aircraft designer Aarne Lakomaa turned the obsolete "M-S" into a first rate fighter, the Mörkö-Morane (Finnish for Bogey or Ogre Morane), sometimes referred to as the "LaGG-Morane". Powered by captured Klimov M-105P engines (a licensed version of the HS 12Y) of 820.3 kW (1,100 hp) with a fully adjustable propeller, the airframe required some local strengthening and also gained a new and more aerodynamic engine cowling. These changes boosted the speed to 525 kilometres per hour (326 mph).

Other changes included a new oil cooler taken from the Bf 109, the use of four belt-fed guns like the M.S.410, and the excellent 20 mm (0.787 in) MG 151/20 cannon in the engine mounting. However, supplies of the MG 151 were limited, and several received captured 12.7 mm (0.500 in) Berezin UBS guns instead.
The first example of the modified fighter, MS-631, made its first flight on 25 January 1943, and the results were startling: the aircraft was 64 kilometres per hour (40 mph) faster than the original French version, and the service ceiling was increased from 10,000󈝸,000 metres (33,000󈞓,000 ft).

Originally, it was planned to convert all the 41 remaining M.S.406s and M.S.410s with the Soviet engine, but it took time, and the first front-line aircraft of this type did not reach LeLv 28 until July/August 1944.
By the end of the Continuation War in 1944, only three examples had been converted (including the original prototype). Lieutenant Lars Hattinen (an ace with six victories) scored three kills with the Mörkö-Morane, one with each Mörkö-Morane in the squadron.

More fighters arrived from the factory, though, and the Mörkö-Moranes took part in the Lapland War as reconnaissance and ground attack aircraft. Not all the Mörkö-Morane conversions were completed before March 1945, when the entire re-engining programme was halted.

After the end of the war, the total was brought to 41, which served as advanced trainers with TLeLv 14 until September 1948. In 1952 all remaining Finnish Moranes were scrapped.

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