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EKW D-3800 (MS.406H)

Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter

EKW D-3800 (MS.406H)

Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter


The Swiss Air Force D-3800 monoplane fighter of the World War 2 period had its origins in the French Morane-Saulnier MS.405 series.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: Switzerland
YEAR: 1940
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Eidgenossisches-Konstruktions-Werkstatte (EKW) - Swtizerland / Morane-Saulnier - France
OPERATORS: Switzerland (retired)

Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the EKW D-3800 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
LENGTH: 26.74 feet (8.15 meters)
WIDTH: 34.94 feet (10.65 meters)
HEIGHT: 8.86 feet (2.7 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 3,968 pounds (1,800 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 5,512 pounds (2,500 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x Adolph Saurer (Hispano-Suiza) 12Y31 inline piston engine of 860 horsepower driving a three-bladed propeller unit at the nose.
SPEED (MAX): 295 miles-per-hour (475 kilometers-per-hour; 256 knots)
RANGE: 621 miles (1,000 kilometers; 540 nautical miles)
CEILING: 30,840 feet (9,400 meters; 5.84 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 2,700 feet-per-minute (823 meters-per-minute)

1 x 20mm Hispano-Suiza HS.404 autocannon firing through the propeller hub.
4 x 7.5mm machine guns in wings (belt-fed).
Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircrat automatic cannon

Series Model Variants
• D-3800 - Base Series Designation; based in the MS.405/Ms.406 French design; 8 pre-series with 74 production models and two additional units built from spares.


Detailing the development and operational history of the EKW D-3800 (MS.406H) Single-Seat, Single-Engine Monoplane Fighter.  Entry last updated on 1/20/2019. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©
Morane-Saulnier was a prolific designer and builder of aircraft since its founding in 1911. Beyond World War 1 (1914-1918), the company contributed throughout the Interwar years and into World War 2 (1939-1945) where its aircraft evolved into very modern, very capable combat platforms. The MS.406 series - born from the "MS.405" - was one of the concern's final offerings before the Fall of France in May-June 1940 and this single-seat, single-engine monoplane fighter went on to see service with several forces of the period beyond the French Air Force itself.

Back in September of 1938, the first of two "MS.406H" fighters were given to Switzerland for evaluation and to serve as the basic form for a locally-produced, licensed version of the same French aircraft - this to become the "D-3800" in Swiss service. These aircraft were essentially MS.405 airframes and wings carrying the engine (a Hispano-Suiza 12Y31 inline) of the MS.406 production type though with localized changes to suit a standing Swiss Air Force fighter requirement. For example, the original the drum-fed wing machine guns were converted to belt-fed models already in Swiss service and the two-pitch propeller gave way to a controllable-pitch form of local origination. The aircraft production program was headed by Eidgenossisches Konstruktions-Werkstatte (EKW) with the engines coming from Adolph Saurer AG.

The Swiss Air Force contracted for eight pre-production models constructed to the revised Swiss fighting standard and these were built during 1939. Deliveries then followed in January of 1940 and, into late August 1940, some seventy-four production-quality aircraft were built in all. In 1942, with the war already a daily part of European existence, at least two more fighters were built from what were essentially available spares and this was used to further strengthen Swiss Air Force numbers. The following year, the fleet was modernized with the changes enacted to the "D-3801" standard (detailed elsewhere on this site) - this included an ejector-exhaust system to provide additional forward thrust, upgrading the internal control system, and improved engine cooling.

All told, the streamlined fighter could reach a speed of 295 miles-per-hour and had an endurance of 1.75 hours in the air. Rate-of-climb reached 2,685 feet-per-minute, making them suitable interceptors if needed. Empty weight was 4,000lb against a Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) of 5,500lb. Dimensions included a running length of 26.9 feet, a wingspan of 34.9 feet, and a height of 8.10 feet.

With Switzerland's independent stance during the Second World War, the D-3800 fighter was never exposed to actual combat - despite the very real threat of a German invasion. The fleet served out its days as advanced trainers for future generations of Swiss air men and the final forms were given up for good in 1954 as the jet age began to take hold.


General Assessment

Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (295mph).

Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
Graph showcases the EKW D-3800's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production (84)
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.

Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
Ground Attack
Aerial Tanker
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

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