The Morane-Saulnier Type V was a variant of the Type N, a shoulder-winged monoplane fighter, but powered by a 110hp engine in place of the original 80hp engine, and with an endurance of 3 hours.
The RFC first ordered the Type N, a shoulder-winged monoplane fighter powered by an 80hp engine, in 1915. A first batch of three aircraft was delivered in the autumn of that year, followed by a second batch of twenty-four aircraft in March-June 1916. At the same time the RFC was interested in the potential of a version of the same aircraft powered by a 110hp Le Rhône engine. On 14 January 1916 Captain Lord Innes-Ker of the British Aviation Supplies Depot was ordered to write to Morane-Saulnier to order a single Morane parasol with 110hp engine and deflector propeller, and to inform them that if it carried three hours worth of fuel, could be flown by a moderate pilot and had a speed of at least 100mph at 8,000ft then more orders would follow.
Morane-Saulnier had produced general arrangement drawings for a 110hp aircraft with three hours of fuel by 22 January 1916, but the first prototype with the new engines was produced by installing the 110hp engine in a standard Type N. This became the basis of the Morane-Saulnier Type I, and was ready by March 1916. The RFC wasn't pleased that the fuel capacity hadn't increased, and the company promised to have a test aircraft with the expanded capacity ready by the end of March. This was later pushed back to May
The Type V required more work than the simpler Type I. It was given a bigger wingspan and modified elevators with a bigger area. It also had larger fuel tanks which gave the fuselage a deeper front.
The first aircraft did appear in May, with aircraft MS747 reaching No.1 Air Depot near Guillaux on 16 May 1916, although without its machine gun. By 8 July six more were having their engines installed, and they were ready to be delivered later in the month.
One Type V spent a few days with No.3 Squadron, but after that No.60 Squadron was the only RFC unit to use the type, receiving at least seven of the twelve that were eventually delivered. Of these three were written off after crashing while landing and one was destroyed in combat on 19 September 1916. The Type V was not popular with No.60 Squadron - the more powerful engine was also heavier and made the aircraft difficult to control. By the start of August the squadron had to be withdrawn until new aircraft could be found, and the Type V flight returned to combat with the Nieuport 16. Some of the surviving Type Vs remained with the squadron after this, but they were all withdrawn from service on 11 October 1916.
This didn’t end the story of the Type N family. The Type V was the basis of the experimental Type U, which then evolved into the Type AC which was ordered in small numbers by the French late in 1916.
Engine: Le Rhône 9J
Wing span: 28ft 7 1/2in
Length: 19ft 1in
Max Speed: 102mph at sea level
Armament: Centrally mounted 7.7mm Vickers gun