The Morane-Saulnier M.S.733 Alcyon (Kingfisher) was a French basic trainer that also served as a counter-insurgency aircraft in French and Moroccan service.
Development of the M.S.733 began with the M.S.730 of 1949. This was a low-wing single engine monoplane, with a fixed undercarriage, powered by a Mathis 8G.20 inverted V-8 engine. The M.S.730 made its maiden flight on 11 August 1949. It was then re-engined with a war surplus Argus As 10 engine and made its maiden flight in the new designation in November 1949, now as the M.S.731.
This aircraft was followed by two M.S.732s. This time the aircraft was powered by the Potez 6D.30 inverted inline engine and had a retractable undercarriage. The two M.S.732s were tested early in 1951, and were soon followed by the M.S.733.
The first M.S.733 made its maiden flight on 16 April 1951. A total of five pre-production and 200 production aircraft were built. Fifteen of these went to the Cambodian Air Force. Forty went to the French Navy, where they served on the shore bases of the Aeronavale. The remaining 145 went to the Armée de l'Air, where 70 were given machine guns for use as gunnery trainers and 75 remained unarmed and were used as basic trainers.
In the mid-1950s some of the gunnery trainers were converted into counter-insurgency aircraft. They were given a reflector gun sight and hard points for anti-personnel weapons or rockets. These aircraft were then used in combat in Algeria from 1956 until 1959. These counter-insurgency aircraft were given the designation M.S.733A. After they were withdrawn from frontline service most reverted to use as trainers, but some were sold to Morocco, where they continued to be used as counter-insurgency aircraft.
Engine: Potez 6D.30 inverted inline piston engine
Crew: 2 or 3
Wing span: 37ft 0in
Length: 30ft 7in
Height: 7ft 11 1/4in
Empty Weight: 2,778lb
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 3,682lb
Max Speed: 162mph
Service Ceiling: 15,750ft
Range: 572 miles
Armament: Two 7.5mm MAC 1934/ M39 machine guns on gunnery training and M.S.733A only
Bomb-load: Two hardpoints for anti-personnel bombs on M.S.733A