In the early 1920s the United States Navy became interested in a thick aerofoil section cantilever wing United States military observation aircraft developed by the Dutch company Fokker. The Navy's Bureau of Aeronautics designed a three-seat observation monoplane to use a similar wing. Production of the aircraft, designated the MO-1, was contracted to the Glenn L. Martin Company with an order for 36 aircraft. The MO-1 was a shoulder-wing cantilever monoplane with a slab-sided fuselage and a fixed tailwheel landing gear. It had an all-metal structure with a fabric covering and was powered by a Curtiss D-12 engine. In 1924 one aircraft was fitted with a float landing gear for evaluation.