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The European Fouga Users; Kleine-Brogel, July 18, 2002

The Fouga CM170 Magister, part 2; Text and Photograph's by Alex van Noye

The Fouga Magister could be equipped with various weapons for training purposes. Eventually, the aircraft was also used several times in a conflict in Israel and El Salvador. In Europe, several countries, such as France, Germany and Finland, used the Magister for the training of pilots as preparation for the heavy jets.

The standard armament of the Magister consists of two machine guns of 7.5 mm or 7.62 mm. The choice of these machine guns dependents on the customer's wishes. The Fouga Magister has a capacity of 200 rounds per machine gun. Under the wings optional weapons can be carried like unguided missiles to attack ground targets. The Magister can carry 110lb bombs or the Nord Aviation SS11 anti-tank missile. These weapons can be mounted under the wings on the suspension points. The French company Nord Aviation was mainly a builder of aircraft. The company produced several aircraft between 1944 and 1962. The SS11 was largely a wire-guided missile with four fins and was developed by this company. The rocket was designed as an anti-tank missile. Because the missile was a wire-guided missile, the pilot had to steer the missile until the impact on its target. This missile was therefore limited in its use, because the pilot needed its targets visually at all times. The missile was introduced in 1953 and was for the first time on the market as a modern design. The weapon would be used until the mid-80s. In total there are more than 180,000 missiles of the type SS11 been built and sold. The missile was widely sold around the world. The United States would be a major customer of this weapon. In the United States, the weapon was designated as the AGM-22. The Americans tried the system in 1958 and took the missile officially in use in 1961 as the AGM-22A.

The main customer of the Fouga Magister was the French Air Force. The French AdlA bought a total of over 397 aircraft. The Magister is recognized worldwide as the first jet trainer produced on a large scale. In France, the aircraft was used primarily as a trainer. In other countries, the aircraft was also used as a light attack aircraft. The Magisters were also used in France in the famous display team Patrouille de France. At the end of the 70s the Fougas were phased out at the AdlA. The French air Force had developed the Dassault Dornier Alpha-Jet in the meanwhile. This aircraft would

become the primary trainer in France and Germany. Germany became the first export customer for the Fouga Magister. The German Luftwaffe decided to purchase 62 aircraft from Fouga. The deal was agreed that the remaining 188 planes would be built in Germany. The aircraft were built by Flugzeug Union Süd; this was a consortium of Heinkel and Messerschmitt. The Israeli Air Force also decided to purchase the Fouga Magister. The Israeli version of the Fouga would be built under license by Israeli aircraft IAI Tzukit. Despite the Fouga was purchased for the role of jet trainer, the aircraft was deployed during the Six Day War. Aircraft from the 147 Squadron performed as a close air support aircraft. The Fougas destroyed several targets on Egyptian side during the first days of the war. The more capable aircraft on the Israeli side were used against Arab airfields. The Magister proved in a conflict that it was a high-performing aircraft in the close air support role. IAI built 36 aircraft for Israel.

El Salvador purchased nine Fouga Magisters second hand from Israel. The aircraft were used in the country in the role of trainer and ground attack fighter. During the Civil War in El Salvador, the Magister was used during the operations. The aircraft dropped bombs and performed attacks with its 7.62 mm machine guns. There were no Fouga aircraft lost in this war. The Finnish Air Force was a major customer of the Fouga Magister as well. Finland abolished in the period of 1958 and 1959 more than 18 Fougas from France. At the same time a license was arranged to build more planes in Finland. The Finnish Valmet aircraft would build the Magister in the period from 1958 to 1967. A total 62 Fougas were built under license for the Finnish Air Force. The French-built Fougas had the registrations FM-1 until FM-18 and the Finnish-built aircraft FM-21 until FM-82. The Fouga Magister served as a jet trainer in the Finnish Air Force from 1958 until 1988. The Fouga Magister was replaced from 1988 by the BAe Hawk in the role of trainer. In total 21 Magisters were lost during various accidents in which six were fatal for the pilots. At the Finnish Air Force, the Fouga Magister was nicknamed Kukkopilli (Roosters Whistle). This has everything to deal with the characteristic whistle which is produced by the Turbomeca Marboré turbojet of the Magister. The Irish Air Corps took advantage of six Fouga Magisters from 1975 until 1999. These aircraft were all stationed at Baldonnel near Dublin. Four of these planes were part of the Silver Swallows display team.

The last major user of the Fouga Magister in Europe was Belgium. The Belgian Air Force ordered in 1958 a series of 45 aircraft for the Belgian Air Force for the training of pilots. The first produced Fougas were delivered in the Belgian Republic of Congo in January 1960. The major part of these aircraft was initially deployed at Kamina. This airbase is located in the former Belgian Congo and is part of the GVS (Advanced Flying School) of the Belgian Air Force. After the outbreak of the war of independence in Congo the aircraft were transferred to the Belgian airbase Brustem, in Sint-Truiden in 1960. The Belgian and Dutch air forces started here together the training of fighter pilots. In a period of 9 months, more than 150 hours were flown on the Fouga by pupils and the VVO (Continuing Flying Training) was completed. The theoretical part of the training took place in the "Completion Center" Safraanberg which is situated next to Brustem. In 1970 another five aircraft were purchased from the German Air Force. The Belgian air component is the last air force in the world where the aircraft is still in operational service. Worldwide, there were 929 aircraft built and more than 20 countries have flown with the Magister in the past. Between 1965 and 1977, the aircraft became known to the public when the aircraft was used in the Belgian display team the Red Devils. Today, the last still flying Fougas are stationed at the Belgian airbase Beauvechain. The Fougas fly there at the 7 Squadron.

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