Design work on a twin-engined light transport started in 1946 with the MD 303, a development of an earlier project for an eight-seat communications aircraft, the Marcel Bloch MB-30. The prototype MD 303 first flew on 26 February 1947 powered by two Béarn 6D engines, designed to meet a French Air Force requirement for a colonial communications aircraft. A re-engined version was ordered into production at the new Dassault factory at Bordeaux-Mérignac. The production aircraft was a low-wing monoplane with twin tail surfaces and a tricycle undercarriage, powered by two Renault 12S piston engines.
Three main versions of the aircraft now named Flamant (Flamingo in French) were produced. The MD 315 ten-seat colonial communication aircraft (first flown on 6 July 1947), the MD 312 six-seat transport aircraft (first flown on 27 April 1950), and the MD 311 navigation trainer (first flown on 23 March 1948). The MD 311 had a distinctive glazed nose for its role as both a bombing and navigation trainer.
The first Flamant was delivered to the French Air Force in 1949 and deliveries of all versions were completed by 1953
The aircraft was used for pilot training, navigation training, light transport, maritime surveillance and light ground attack. During the Algerian War of Independence the plane was used for light attack with the Nord SS.11 and AS.11 antitank missiles or with machine guns, bombs, and rockets. The Flamant MD 311s (which were based in Algeria to train pilots and navigators at first) were the first aircraft in history to fire one of the world's first wire-guided antitank missiles in anger, using French Army SS.11 antitank missiles, in a combat experiment to get at fortified caves located in deep mountain gorges, in 1956 from an aircraft based with the special unit of the French Air Force in Algeria, GOM.86. The SS.11 attacks proved extremely successful and the French Army which had provided the missiles, began an experiment which resulted in the world's first attack helicopters firing antitank missiles. The Flamant stayed in service until 1981. In addition to the French air force, the Flamant served in Cambodia, Madagascar, Tunisia, and Vietnam.MB 30-1
Original proposals for a bombing and navigation trainer.
Original proposals fora medical and colonial roles.
Original proposals for a liaison and training aircraft.
Prototype, one built, powered by two 310 kW (410 hp) Béarn 6D engines.
Bombing, navigation and photography training aircraft, 39 built, powered by two 310 kW (410 hp) SNECMA 12S engines.
Six-seat transport and communications aircraft, 142 built, powered by two 310 kW (410 hp) SNECMA 12S engines.
Experimental version with heavier loaded weight, one built, powered by two 310 kW (410 hp) SNECMA 12S engines. Used later for Mirage IV radar development.
Ten-seat utility transport aircraft, 137 built, powered by two 310 kW (410 hp) SNECMA 12S engines.
One prototype fitted with a single-finned tail, and two 600 kW (800 hp) Wright R-1300-CB7A1 Cyclone radial piston engines.
One MD 315 aircraft fitted with two 610 kW (820 hp) SNECMA 14X Super Mars radial piston engines.
Cambodian Air Force (MD 315)
Cameroon Air Force (MD 315)
French Air Force (MD 315, MD 312, MD 311)
French Navy (MD 312)
Khmer Air Force
Madagascar Aeronaval Force (MD 315, MD 312)
South Vietnam Air Force (MD 312, MD 315)
Tunisian Air Force (MD 312)
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1953–54
General characteristicsCrew: two
Capacity: ten passengers
Length: 12.50 m (41 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 20.70 m (67 ft 10 in)
Height: 4.50 m (14 ft 9 in)
Wing area: 47.2 m² (508 ft²)
Empty weight: 4,250 kg (9,350 lb)
Max. takeoff weight: 5,800 kg (12,760 lb)
Powerplant: 2 × Renault 12S 02-201 inline piston, 433 kW (580 hp) each
PerformanceMaximum speed: 380 km/h (205 knots, 236 mph)
Cruise speed: 300 km/h (162 knots, 186 mph)
Range: 1,200 km (648 nmi, 745 km)
Service ceiling: 8,000 m (26,240 ft)
Rate of climb: 5.0 m/s (985 ft/min)