STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Fouga - France
OPERATORS: Algeria; Austria; Bangladesh; Belgium; Brazil; Cambodia; Cameroon; El Salvador; Finland; France; Gabon; Germany; Ireland; Israel; Lebanon; Libya; Morocco; Nicaragua; Rwanda; Senegal; Togo; Uganda; Katanga
LENGTH: 32.97 feet (10.05 meters)
WIDTH: 39.90 feet (12.16 meters)
HEIGHT: 9.09 feet (2.77 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 4,740 pounds (2,150 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 7,048 pounds (3,197 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Turbomeca Marbore IIA turbojet engines developing 875lb of thrust each.
SPEED (MAX): 444 miles-per-hour (714 kilometers-per-hour; 386 knots)
RANGE: 575 miles (925 kilometers; 499 nautical miles)
CEILING: 36,079 feet (10,997 meters; 6.83 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 3,345 feet-per-minute (1,020 meters-per-minute)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Fouga CM.170 Magister Twin-Seat Jet-Powered Trainer Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 3/1/2019.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
It becomes much too easy to lose track of French military prowess following World War 2 but the Fouga Magister was a product of the years that followed. Developed towards closing years of the 1940's, the Magister became a principle jet-powered trainer of many-an-air force around the globe after its inception in the mid-1950's. Amazingly, the type has soldiered on into the new millennium (albeit in consistently limited roles) but would nonetheless become a permanent part of the Cold War years. Some Magisters were still in operation as late as 2007 while a total of 929 were believed to be produced in France and through license-production deals elsewhere.
The Magister could trace its origins back to the Fouga CM.130, a jet-powered (Turbomeca Palas types) trainer attempt originating in 1948 under the Air Fouga brand label (Air Fouga subsequently became part of the Potez Corporation and was then absorbed into Aerospatiale). The concept proved somewhat underpowered and was redesigned as the CM.170 with Turbomeca Marbore turbojet engines fitted into an enlarged airframe in an attempt to fill the French requirement for a dedicated jet-powered basic trainer. The resulting aircraft was then evaluated by the French Air Force (the "Armee de l'Air" or simply "AdA") in late 1950 as three CM.170 prototypes with the first such aircraft earning her wings on July 23rd, 1952. This was followed by a pre-production batch order for 10 more aircraft in June of 1953 with a production order coming the following year. The system was officially introduced into service in 1956 as part of the French Air Force. Production was primarily handled at a new Fouga manufacturing plant located in Toulouse-Blagnac.
The Magistar took on a most basic external design approach with the crew seated in tandem in a teardrop shaped fuselage. The student and trainer sat in separate cockpits under individual rearward-hinged canopies. The cockpits made up a good portion of the forward fuselage and was situated behind a very short nose cone assembly. Engines were mounted to either side of the fuselage at the thickest point and also made up the wing roots. The wings themselves were straight-edge, mid-mounted monoplanes with wingtip fuel tanks. The fuselage tapered off to a point forming the empennage to which was affixed the aircraft's distinct "V-tail" assembly showcasing slanted tail surfaces acting as both rudder and elevator (also called "ruddervators"). The undercarriage was wholly retractable and made up of a pair of single-wheeled main landing gear legs and a single-wheeled nose leg. These legs were quite short in length and provided the Magister with a relatively low-to-the-ground profile when at rest. The main landing gears retracted inwards toward the fuselage centerline under each wing. The nose leg retracted rearwards and up into the nose.
Standard armament revolved around a pair of machine guns in either the 7.5mm or 7.62mm caliber (depending on the operator's needs) along with approximately 200 rounds of ammunition per gun. Optional external underwing loadouts could include unguided air-to-surface rockets, 110lb bombs or the Nord Aviation SS.11 anti-tank missile on two hardpoints.
The France-based Nord Aviation firm served primarily as an aircraft manufacturer in their own right and produced various aircraft models from 1944 into 1962. The SS.11 became a large four-finned wire-guided anti-tank missile - meaning it had to be manually guided by an operator to the target via line-of-sight, with course corrections being sent through a connected wire (hence the term "wire-guided") - which was designed in 1953 and produced from 1956 well into the mid-1980s totaling some 180,000 units produced. The missile was fielded extensively for other nations across the globe including the United States, where it fell under the designation "AGM-22". The US trialed the missile system in 1958 and officially accepted it into service in 1961 as the AGM-22A for use on its UH-1B Huey gunships. The combination Huey/AGM-22 served in the Vietnam War beginning in 1966 but was phased out of service by 1976 with the arrival of the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank system.
Fouga CM.170 Magister (Cont'd)
Twin-Seat Jet-Powered Trainer Aircraft
Magister variants were few and far between. The CM.170 were used to categorize the three prototypes and the follow-up ten pre-production airframes. The CM.170-1 became the first production version and fitted a pair of Turbomeca Marbore II turbojet engines. An impressive total of 761 systems were ultimately produced with license-production handled in Germany, Israel and France making this the definitive Magister model.
The CM.170-2 "Super Magister" fitted uprated Marbore IV turbojet engines of 1,055lbf to which some 137 examples were ultimately produced. The CM.171 "Makula" was a one-off prototype fitting the Turbomeca Gabizo series engines into an enlarged frame. The engines produced whopping 2,422lbf for the light airframe though this prototype was lost to an accident on March 20th, 1957. The CM.173 "Super Magister" fitted Marbore Super VI series turbojet engines of 1,080lb thrust each. This model also featured ejection seats for both crew but was only produced in a single flyable prototype example (detailed elsewhere on this site). The Fouga 90 and similar 90A were failed attempts at modernizing the Magistar, each fitting a slightly different version of the Turbomeca Astafan engine. In addition to the updated engines, these Magistars were also given facelifts to their canopies and avionics suites. Neither form secured any contracts.
The Magister existed in a dedicated naval form as the CM.175 Zephyr, a carrier-capable basic trainer variant serving with the French Navy's Aeronavale for a time. Outwardly the system maintains a similar appearance to its land-based counterpart though an arrestor hook, nose-mounted light, revised canopies and reinforced undercarriage were all new to the Zephyr. Of note for this Magister variant is the lack of ejection seats for the crew. The prototype first flew on July 31st, 1956 under the early designation of CM.170M Esquif. Thirty-two such aircraft were delivered to the Aeronavale.
Magisters and the Globe
Magisters earned a relatively strong production total thanks to their sale in the world market. Beyond France's 397 examples, the aircraft was purchased by nations in Africa, South America and Europe. Of note were the 50 Magisters delivered to Belgium, the 52 becoming a part of the Israeli Air Force (36 were license-production airframes) and the 80 serving the Finnish Air Force. Germany was the other major operator totaling 250 production examples. Morocco utilized at least 21 of the type at a later date, these delivered as "used" from France and Germany.
The Magister saw combat with the Israeli Air Force in the 1967 Six Day War versus Jordan. This particular version of the Magister was in fact a license-production model under the IAI Tzukit designation. Though fielded in some number, the Tzukit was essentially outmatched leading to unacceptable losses for the IAF. Other combat experience of note came in Katanga where rebel forces waged a campaign against the communist government. Like the Israeli experience, these systems fared equally as poor.
The Fouga Magister is often credited with becoming the first purpose-built twin-seat jet-powered trainer. However, other systems fitting this same description managed to become airborne some time before the Magister leading some to question the claim.
French use of the Magister ended in the 1970's after the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet was selected to become the air forces next jet trainer.
Of the hundred or so Fouga Magisters in Finnish service, at least 20 of these were lost to accident with six causing loss of lives.
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Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
This entry's maximum listed speed (444mph).
Graph average of 375 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Fouga CM.170 Magister N300FM's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units