Morane-Saulnier MoS (M.S.) 121
|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Morane-Saulnier|
As a direct result of concern over the escalating costs of fighter manufacture, a programme for the development of so-called chasseurs legers, or light fighters, for France's Aviation Militaire was promoted in 1926. To become known unofficially as the Jockey programme, this envisaged the use of moderate power, minimal equipment and a pair of 7.7mm Vickers guns with only 300 rounds each. Emphasis was to be placed on climb rate, an endurance of one-and-a-half hours at full throttle was called for and a ceiling of 8000m was specified. To meet this requirement, Morane-Saulnier designed and built its first post-World War I fighter, the MoS 121, the prefix being changed to M.S. shortly after the appearance of the prototype in 1927. Possessing lower wing and power loadings than other contending designs (with the exception of the M.S.221 developed in parallel, the M.S.121 was a single-seat parasol monoplane of mixed construction and powered by a 465hp Hispano-Suiza 12Jb 12-cylinder water-cooled engine. It proved underpowered and incapable of attaining specified climb rates, and was, in consequence, discarded in favour of the more powerful M.S.221.