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Morane Saulnier MS.405
4 decal variants
1. MS.405C, No.1 test in CEMA, pilot “Kostia” Rozanoff, Reims 1938
2. MS.405C, No.1, Chartres , June 1940
3. MS.405C, No.4, prototype of MS.406, CEMA , January 1940
4. MS.405C, No.15, Salon de Provence 1939
Morane-Saulnier response was the M.S.405 developed by Engineer in Chief Paul-René Gauthier. The MS.405 was a low-wing monoplane of mixed construction, with fabric-covered wooden tail, but a bonded metal/wood material skin fixed to duralumin tubing. Plymax consisted of a thin sheet of duralumin bonded to a thicker sheet of plywood. Morane-Saulnier had a long history of producing warplanes dating back to pre-World War I years, but in the inter-war period, they had concentrated on civil designs. The aircraft was a departure for them, being their first low-wing monoplane, first with an enclosed cockpit, and first design with retracting landing gear. The new 860 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ygrs engine driving a two-pitch Chauvière propeller powered the first M.S405-1 prototype, which flew on 8 August 1935.Development was very slow, and the second M.S.405-2 prototype with a 900 hp Hispano-Suiza 12Ycrs engine didn’t fly until 20 January 1937, almost a year and a half later. With the new engine the fighter reached 443 km/h (275 mph), fast enough to secure an order for a further 16 pre-production prototypes, each including improvements on the previous version.