The Morane-Saulnier N was an early, light French monoplane that was one of the first fighter aircraft to be used by the Allies.
Development and construction:
The French company Société Anonyme des Aéroplanes Morane-Saulnier, founded by the brothers Léon and Robert Morane and Raymond Saulnier, was already producing sports and racing aircraft before the First World War.
The development of the Morane-Saulnier N emerged from the predecessor model of the Morane-Saulnier G, whereby special emphasis was placed on good aerodynamics in order to increase the speed. Since the aircraft was originally intended for racing in the air, the focus was less on easy control, so that this was done by twisting the wings instead of the usual ailerons, which made the aircraft more manoeuvrable, but the controls were designed to be quite sensitive and more of experienced pilots could handle.
The 80 HP Le Rhône 9C was chosen as the engine, which brought the aircraft to a speed of 165 kilometers per hour.
The first flight of the prototype took place on July 22, 1914. Since political tensions in Europe were already increasing significantly at this time and a war was already foreseeable, there was very little public interest in another racing aircraft.
Use in the First World War:
With the outbreak of World War I, the need for military aircraft increased, and many pre-war models that were not originally designed for such missions were bought or withdrawn in order to be able to use them on the various fronts.
This also affected the Morane-Saulnier N aircraft, which were equipped with a machine gun for the pilot for use at the front. So that the projectiles did not damage the propeller, a machine gun synchronized with the propeller shaft did not exist at the beginning, the propeller was protected with sturdy deflector plates on which the projectiles were deflected.
In addition to France, Great Britain and Russia also used aircraft of this type at the front to shoot down enemy aircraft, making the Morane-Saulnier N one of the first Allied fighters.
From March 1916 began some modifications to the aircraft. So the engine was swapped for the more powerful 110 HP Le-Rhône-C engine. Some aircraft were also equipped with a synchronized machine gun.
At the end of 1916, however, the Morane-Saulnier N aircraft on the Western Front began to be exchanged for the more modern Nieuport 11. Only in Russia did the aircraft remain in service until the surrender.
|Weight:||288 kilograms empty|
|Engine:||a Le Rhône 9C engine with 80 HP (approx. 60 kW)|
|Maximum speed:||165 kilometers per hour|
|Range:||Max. 1 hour and 30 minutes|
|Armament:||1 machine gun 7,7 mm|