In January 1997 Aerospatiale and Renault Sport formed a jointly owned subsidiary, Societe de Motorisations Aeronautiques (SMA), to develop a new generation of light aircraft piston engines; Snecma became a one-third shareholder in 2000; marketing name for the engines is Snecma-Renault. Their first application is a new range of Socata Morane aircraft, based on the current piston-engined TB series. Two engines are planned, sharing common core components; 169 kW (227 hp) SR305, and 221 kW (296 hp) SR 460. The SR 305 achieved French DGAC certification in late April 2001. The SR 460 engine will also be certified for aerobatic use.
The engines are four-cylinder, horizontally opposed, turbocharged diesels with 19:1 compression ratio, designed to run on jet fuel. They feature single-lever power control, electronic management and integral recording and checking systems, and are significantly quieter and more fuel-efficient than existing aero-engines, with estimated fuel consumption 30 to 40 per cent less than for comparable light aircraft power plants.
Engine began ground running trials in mid-1997 and, by early 2001, had logged 3,000 hours in test rigs. A single TB 20 Trinidad served as flying testbed for both engines; this aircraft was rolled out on 24 January 1998 and first flew (F-WWRS) with a Snecma-Renault MR 200 (now SR305) on 3 March 1998.
At the Paris Air Show in June 1997, Socata announced a range of light aircraft to be powered by the Snecma-Renault engines. The aircraft revive the Morane title of the former Morane-Saulnier company. Three types planned initially (MS 200FG. 200RG and 300) as developments of TB 20 and TB 30 Epsilon and an initial description was published. MS 200, described below where it differs from corresponding TB series, selected as launch version, but no launch date announced by mid-2003. Brief details of the Morane range are given below, where these differ from corresponding TB-series models.
MS 200: Previously MS 250. Socata TB 20 Trinidad-derived retractable landing gear tourer with SR305 engine. Mockup displayed at Paris Air Show in June 1997.