The Morane-Saulnier M.S. 221 was the second fighter developed by the company in response to a French requirement for a lightweight fighter, but lacked speed and was superseded by the M.S. 222.
The 'Jockey' programme began in 1926 and was an attempt to produce a low cost interceptor that would have a good enough rate of climb to catch enemy bombers as they crossed the French border, but without the already high cost of more traditional fighters. Morane-Saulnier responded with a series of parasol winged fighters, starting with the M.S. 121 of 1927. This was a manoeuvrable aircraft, but was underpowered, was disappointingly slow, and failed to reach the required rate of climb.
Morane-Saulnier then moved on to the M.S. 221. This retained the same configuration as the M.S. 121, with a staggered parasol wing, and cross axle landing gear. The new aircraft was powered by the Gnome-Rhône 9Ae Jupiter nine-cylinder radial engine, which provided 600hp, a 50% increase on the M.S. 121. The new aircraft was also lighter (100lb at loaded weight).
The M.S. 221 made its maiden flight during 1928. Its rate of climb had improved, but the top speed only rose to 166mph. Morane-Saulnier responded by fitting a turbo-supercharged Jupiter engine to one of the prototypes, producing the M.S. 222.
Engine: Gnome-Rhône 9Ae Jupiter nine-cylinder radial engine
Wing span: 32ft 1 4/5in
Length: 21ft 3 3/4in
Height: 9ft 9 1/2in
Empty Weight: 2,017lb
Loaded Weight: 2,712lb
Max Speed: 166mph at sea level
Time to 16,405ft: 8min 45sec
Armament: Two synchronised fuselage mounted 7.7mm machine guns