The Fouga CM.170 Magister is a 1950s French two-seat jet trainer. The related CM.175 Zéphyr was a carrier-capable version for theFrench Navy.
Design and development
The first CM.170M development aircraft for the Aéronavale
at the Paris Air Show
in May 1957
Ex French Air Force CM170R privately operated from Boeing Field
Seattle in 1998
In 1948, Fouga designed a jet-powered primary trainer called CM.130 for the French Air Force (Armée de l'Air, AdA) to replace piston-engined Morane-Saulnier MS.475 aircraft. When AdA found the aircraft lacking in power from the two Turbomeca Palas turbojets, Fouga enlarged the basic design and used the more powerful Turbomeca Marboré engine. The distinctive V-tail of the new CM.170 Magister originated on the CM.8 (Aka Castel-Mauboussin 8) glider Fouga was using to experiment with jet engines. In December 1950, AdA ordered three prototypes, with the first aircraft flying on 23 July 1952. A pre-production batch of 10 were ordered in June 1953 followed by the first production order for 95 aircraft on 13 January 1954. Fouga built a new assembly plant at Toulouse-Blagnacto produce the aircraft. The aircraft entered service with AdA in 1956.
The Fouga Magister 170R was designed in 1949 by Robert Castello and Pierre Mauboussin. The first prototype flew on 23 July 1952 and the first one sold to AdA flew for the first time in February 1956.
Due to different industrial mergers, the aircraft has been known as the "Fouga CM.170 Magister", "Potez (Fouga) CM.170 Magister", Sud Aviation(Fouga) CM.170 Magister" and "Aérospatiale (Fouga) CM.170 Magister" depending on where and when they were built.
The French Navy's Aéronavale adopted a derivative of the Magister, the CM.175 Zéphyr, as a basic trainer for deck-landing training and carrier operations. These were preceded by two "proof of concept" prototypes designated the CM.170M Magister, which made their first flights in 1956/57.
An improved version of the Magister designated the CM.170-2 Magister was produced from 1960. It used a more powerful Turbomeca Marboré IVengine. Production of the Magister stopped in France in 1962 but it continued to be built in Finland up to 1967.
The development of the aircraft came to an end when the French Air Force selected the Alpha Jet as their new jet trainer.
After retirement, a number of Magisters were bought by private-owner pilots in the USA and are operated in the experimental category.
The first export customer was Germany who ordered 62 aircraft from Fouga, and Flugzeug Union Süd (a consortium of Heinkel andMesserschmitt) license-built a further 188 aircraft. In addition the CM.170 was built under license by Valmet in Finland, and Israel Aircraft Industries in Israel, with a total of 929 built. Of these 286 were completed under license.
The Israeli Air Force operated a license-manufactured version, the IAI Tzukit. While principally a trainer, it was used in the 1967 Six Day War by147 Squadron as a close support aircraft, attacking targets on the Egyptian front during the first day of the war, when Israel's more capable combat aircraft were deployed on Operation Focus against Arab air bases. They were then deployed against Jordanian forces, including armour, on theWest Bank. The Magister proved effective at the close-support mission albeit with heavy casualties, with six being lost.
9 former Israeli and 3 French Magisters were acquired by the Salvadoran Air Force and used as both trainers and ground attack aircraft in theSalvadoran Civil War using bombs and nose-mounted 7.62mm machine guns. None are recorded as being lost to enemy fire, but only five were in operational condition by the end of the war.
In 1958-1959, Finland purchased 18 Fouga Magisters from France. At the same time they also obtained a manufacturing license. The Finnish aircraft manufacturer Valmet later built 62 Fouga aircraft between 1958–67. The French built aircraft carried the designations FM-1...-18 and the Finnish built FM-21...-82. The aircraft served as a jet trainer in the Finnish Air Forcebetween 1958–1988 until superseded by BAe Hawks. A total of 21 Fouga Magisters were destroyed in accidents, six with fatal outcome. The usual Finnish Air Force nickname for the aircraft was Kukkopilli (Ocarina) because of the unique sound of the Turbomeca Marboré turbojet.
The Belgian Air Force operated 50 Magisters as primary trainers. The aerobatic team The Red Devils also used them as display aircraft. A small number of Magisters remained in use until September 2007, as flight maintenance aircraft for senior officers. The Belgian Air Force was the last country that used Magisters for full duty.
During the Congo Crisis, the pro-secessionist Katangese Air Force (FAK) purchased nine newly built Magisters, set aside from a Belgian order. Only three were actually delivered to Katanga, in February 1961. One of these was used against the ONUC in the September 1961 fighting, flown by a Belgian and armed with two machine guns and two locally made light bombs. It destroyed two DC-4s and a DC-3 on the ground and made numerous attacks on ground targets. The aircraft was not used again after 1961.
The Moroccan Air Force received 25 Magisters from France between 1956 and 1970, some of which were employed in the Western Sahara Waragainst Polisario forces . The loss of several in action lead to the Magister's retirement from combat duties in the 1980s.
The Irish Air Corps operated six Fouga Magisters from 1975 to 1999, four of which equipped the Silver Swallows display team.
The Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) used the Fouga Magister in their aerobatic display team, the Esquadrilha da Fumaça, from 1968 until 1975. Their aircraft were numbered T-24 in the trainer series of FAB type designations.