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Technical Specifications
Mono-seat Fighter  with low wings and retractable landing gear
Date first flight
8 Aout1935
10,61 m 
8.13 m 
2.71 m 
Wing Area
17.1 m2 
Empty Weight
1895 Kg 
Max. Takeoff Weight
2540 Kg 
Cruising Speed
320 km/h. 
Maximum Speed
486 km/h at5000m 
Climbing Speed
5000m in 6mn 30s 
Service ceilling
9850 m 
1100 kms
1 Pilot
1 Engine Hispano Suiza 12Y31 12 V-cylinders of 860hp at take-off
2 machine-guns MAC 34 of 7.5mm in the wings
1 cannon Hispano Suiza HS-9 of 20mm in the axis of the propeller with 60 rounds



1094 Morane Saulnier MS406 have been built since the date of the first flight on August 8, 1935. They are divided into :

  • 16 Morane-Saulnier MS 405
  • 1076 Morane-Saulnier MS 406
  • 2 Morane-Saulnier MS 410

To date, out of the 1094 aircrafts manufactured , 805 are listed in the list below :



The Morane MS406 comes from the C1 program of July 1934 to replace the Dewoitine D500 and Loire 46. One of the main demands is a maximum speed of 400 km / h. This program offered two categories: light fighter and average fighter with a maximum weight of 2.5 tons. The C1 program underwent two evolutions, one of which carried the maximum speed requested at 450 km / h. Among the candidates, only two were selected: the Bloch MB152 and the Morane MS405. The prototype of this last took off for its first flight on August 8, 1935 with Michel Detroyat at the controls. The aircraft underwent tests for about a year and proved to be healthy at 491 km / h.

The Air Ministry placed an official order in November 1936. The prototype, presented at the Brussels Air Show in June 1937, made a strong impression on foreign commissions, including China, Turkey and Switzerland. A first pre-series of 15 aircraft was ordered and carried out between February and June 1938. The No. 4 was equipped with a Hispano-Suiza 12Y31 860CV engine driving a Chauviere propeller: it became the prototype of the Morane MS406. In April 1937, a first order of 50 Morane MS406 was passed by the state. The production, distributed over several nationalized companies, took a long time to set up, but then accelerated rapidly. In 1939: thus ten thousand months after the first flight of the prototype, 600 machines came out of assembly lines. At the time of the Armistice of June 1940, the CRAS (Receiving Center of the Series Airplanes) received more than 1000 machines.

A first trial squadron was set up with GC II / 7 personnel. This first practical use led to various modifications: optimization of the landing gear, installation of an anti-crash pylon, ... During the declaration of war, seven of the thirteen fighter groups are equipped with Morane MS406.

During the funny war, these groups get 32 victories for the loss of 13 planes. These first commitments reveal the defects of this fighter: Unreliable weaponry: the weapons freeze at altitude. Pilot not sufficiently protected, engine too fragile, whose performance falls quickly, radio on board deficient, fragile crutch ... Faced with the BF109 D encountered during the first fighting, the Morane MS406 makes equal weapon, but the new Messerschmitt BF109E will outperform very clearly, and it will be hard to catch up with the fast German bombers.

On May 10, 1940, the Morane MS406 equips 10 of the 22 groups of fighters. Losses in units equipped with MS406 are significant, and some missions entrusted to them without great results, such as ground strafing, are particularly deadly. Thus, of the 1,098 planes built, 387 are lost, 150 of them in air combat, or shot down by the Flak (German Anti-Air Defense), for 190 sure victories and 90 confirmed, not negligible in view of the age of the machine. Due to its too limited autonomy, the Moranes will not be evacuated to North Africa. The fighter groups remained in metropolis will be quickly dissolved or reequipped in Dewoitine D520. Some Morane MS406 demobilized will be recovered by the Germans and donated to their allies like Croatia. The Moranes were still fighting in the Far East in the fighting in Thailand or Syria where they fought the Curtiss P40 and Hurricane.

At the beginning of 1940, facing the supremacy of the Messerschmitt BF109E, an improved version of the Morane MS406 was born: the MS410. This version corrected the majority of the faults of the MS406 series (see chapter version). It was planned to modify the MS406 already in service to transform them into MS410. Unfortunately, this transformation required a 3-week immobilization, which would have weakened the potential of the fighter groups engaged on the front. In the end, few cells were modified, and for the most part partially. Some specimens recovered by the Germans after the armisitice were ceded to Finland.



Morane MS405
The prototype of the MS405-01 made its first flight on August 8, 1935 at the hands of Michel Detroyat. It is said to be healthy, and manageable. 15 exemplaries will be constructed in addition to prototype No1.
Morane MS406
Serial version with more than 1080 copies. It will constitute the essential part of the equipment of the French Fighter to the declaration of war.
Morane MS410

The MS410 receives 2 additional 7.5mm MAC34 machine guns in the wings: these weapons are fed in strips of 500 cartridges with heating by the gases coming from the left exhaust manifold. The OWL 1931 collimator is replaced by a GH-38 Baille-le-Maire. The ventral radiator is fixed and more efficient to improve the reliability of the engine and allow to use the full power. Propulsion exhaust pipes are installed. These modifications considerably improve the performance of the aircraft with a maximum speed which increases to 509 km / h. There were plans to realign 500 MS406, but only two exemplaries will be completed in full.



1 ) _ Editions LELA PRESSE ; Collection "Histoire de l'aviation"
- "Le Morane Saulnier MS 406"
Collective work


2 ) _ Editions "JAKAB":
- Morane Saulnier MS 406 C1 vol 1 & 2
From Mroslav BNADJR


3)_ Editions LELA PRESSE ; Collection "Les Ailes de la Gloire"
- No7 et 7R : Morane Saulnier MS406

4)_ Monographie LOTNICZE No28 : author Gaston BOTQUIN
- "M S 406"
From Gaston BOTQUIN


Photos Album


Drawing 3 views


- Book : "Le Morane Saulnier MS 406" Ouvrage Collectif - Collection "Histoire de l'aviation" - Editions LELA PRESSE
- ...