ANF Les Mureaux (Series) Light Observation Aircraft
The ANF Les Mureaux formed the principle observation aircraft of French armed forces through the inter-war years leading up to World War 2.
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The ANF les Mureaux series of light observation aircraft first appeared during the inter-war years between World War 1 and World War 2, specifically in the late 1920's and developed further into the 1930's. The Mureaux served as an important air arm to French military forces as a rugged "eye-in-the-sky" platform, performing forward reconnaissance operations from the roughest of airfields in the most unforgiving of conditions. At the start of World War 2, the system was wholly outclassed compared to German offerings though some 100 were still in operational service - performing valiantly, albeit hopelessly, in the defense of France.
The design of the Mureaux was of a utilitarian form featuring a simple fixed undercarriage, a high-mounted monoplane wing assembly supported by struts and seating for two persons - the pilot and his observer. With a mix of armament options available, the Mureaux served in both the reconnaissance, night-fighting and light bombing role where her design could showcase up to 600 miles of flight distance at altitudes upwards of 30,000 feet in the role. At the height of its usage, the Mureaux series formed a large part of French military operations leading up to World War 2.
By the time of the German invasion of France in 1940, the Mureaux series was already on its way out. The system was eventually replaced by the more capable Potez 63.11 series aircraft in the same role. The definitive variants in the Mureaux series became the Mureaux 115 and the Mureaux 117 designs while some were interestingly converted to "rough-shot" night-fighting platforms during the height of the German attack - such was the desperation on the part of French defense forces.
A Mureaux 115 model was the first French aircraft destroyed by the Luftwaffe at the beginning of the German invasion and some 100 of the type were in operational service at the time.