Morane-Saulnier M.S. 224

The Morane-Saulnier M.S. 224 was a parasol wing fighter closely related to four previous designs produced as lightweight fighters, but that was significantly larger and heavier, and paved the way for limited production of the M.S. 225.

In 1926 the French air ministry had issued a specification for a lightweight fighter, the 'Jockey' programme. This called for a lighter, cheaper interceptor fighter with a fast enough rate of climb to be able to intercept enemy bombers as they crossed the French border, but using a medium powered engine and armed with two 7.7mm machine guns. Morane-Saulnier responded with the M.S. 121, the first fighter aircraft they had designed since the First World War. This was followed by the more powerful M.S. 221, the turbo-supercharged M.S. 222 and the very similar M.S. 223. All of these aircraft were parasol wing single seat fighters, with a swept back wing with rounded tips. They were of conventional construction for the period, built around a metal framework, faired out to produce an oval fuselage profile. The wings had wooden ribs and metal spars.

In 1930 the M.S. 223, which was the first to feature a divided undercarriage with oleo-pneumatic shock absorbers, made its maiden flight, but soon afterwards the entire 'Jockey' programme was cancelled. Of the seven designs submitted, none was judged satisfactory. This must have been becoming clear to Morane-Saulnier, for they were already working on the rather heavier M.S. 224. This retained the basic configuration and construction methods of the older aircraft, but with a larger wing and a Gnôme-Rhone 9Asb engine.

The M.S. 224 was displayed during 1930 and made its maiden flight in 1931. Despite the increase in weight, top speed rose to 188mph, well up on the 166mph of the M.S. 222. The Air Ministry issued a new fighter specification in 1930, and modified it in 1931 but it was clear that it would take some time for any of these new designs to enter service, and so the M.S. 225, a modified production of the M.S. 224, was ordered into limited production.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (20 December 2011), Morane-Saulnier M.S. 224 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_morane_saulnier_MS224.html

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