The Morane- Saulnier fighter was a competitive, if flawed, machine when it first appeared

When it was shown at the international air display at Brussels-Évère in July 1937, the MS405 was hailed as the “best fighter in theworld”.

The MS406 could trace its lineage back to 1934, when Morane-Saulnier designer Paul-René Gauthier created a cantilevered low-wing monoplane interceptor at the company’s Puteaux plant to fulfil a specification issued to the French aircraft industry by the Service Technique de l’Aéronautique (STAé) for a single-seat fighter. The machine had to be armed with either one or two 20mm cannon and be capable of achieving a speed of 280mph (450km/h) at an altitude of 13,125ft (4,000m).

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