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 experimented with jet engines. In December 1950, AdA ordered three prototypes, with the first aircraft flying on 23 July 1952.