- Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard
Super Étendard A Super Étendard in 1988. Role Attack aircraft National origin France Manufacturer Dassault-Breguet First flight 28 October 1974 Introduction June 1978 Status Active Primary users French Navy
Iraqi Air Force
Produced 1977–1983 Number built 85 Developed from Dassault Étendard IV
The Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard (Étendard is French for "battle flag") is a French carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft designed for service with the French Navy. The aircraft entered service in June 1978 and was first used in combat by Argentina during the 1982 Falklands War.
Design and development
The Super Étendard is a development of the earlier Étendard IVM that was originally to have been replaced by a navalised version of the SEPECAT Jaguar (the Jaguar M), until this plan was stalled by political problems, together with problems with operating the Jaguar aboard ships, including handling problems when flying on a single engine and poor throttle response that made landing back on a carrier after an engine failure difficult. Instead, Dassault proposed an improved version of the Étendard IVM, with a more powerful engine, a new wing and improved avionics. This proposal was accepted by the French Navy in 1973 as the Super Étendard.
The Super Étendard is a small, single-engined, mid-winged aircraft with an all-metal structure. Both the wings and tailplane are swept, with the folding wings having a sweepback of about 45 degrees, while the aircraft is powered by a non-afterburning SNECMA Atar 9K-50 turbojet with a rating of 49 kN (11,025 lbf). It is fitted with a Thomson-CSF Agave radar, closely integrated with the new air-launched version of Aérospatiale's anti-shipping missile, the AM 39 Exocet, which forms the main anti-ship armament of the aircraft. French Étendards could also carry tactical nuclear weapons.
The first of three prototypes, a IVM modified with the new engine and some of the new avionics, made its maiden flight on 28 October 1974. The French Navy initially ordered 60 of the new model, with options for a further 20, but budget cuts lead to only 71 being purchased in the end, with deliveries starting in June 1978, while the Argentinian Navy ordered a further 14. Production was completed in 1983.
The Argentine Naval Aviation decided to buy 14 Super Étendards in 1980, after the United States put an arms embargo in place—due to the Dirty War—and refused to supply spare parts for their A-4Q Skyhawks. Assigned to 2nd Naval Air Fighter/Attack Squadron, Argentine pilots used French flight trainers between November 1980 and August 1981 in France, but at the time of the Falklands War, they had received only 45 hours of actual flight time in the aircraft. Between August and November 1981, five Super Étendards and five Exocets were shipped to Argentina. All five of the missiles were used during the conflict, with one missile hitting the British destroyer HMS Sheffield and two the merchant aircraft transporter Atlantic Conveyor. Two missiles were used in each of those attacks.
The fifth missile was launched in an attack intended to strike against the British aircraft carrier HMS Invincible but the attacking aircraft failed to find their target. Once the conflict was over, Super Etendards performed qualifications on aircraft carrier ARA 25 de Mayo until the ship's final retirement  From 2001, qualifications are made on Brazilian Navy carrier São Paulo  and/or touch-and-go on US Navy carriers during Gringo-Gaucho maneuvers when they are in transit within Argentine coastal waters.
Deliveries of the Super Étendard to the French Navy started in 1978, with the first squadron, Flotille 11F becoming operational in February 1979. In total, three operational squadrons and a training unit were equipped with the Super Étendard.
The first operational missions took place in Lebanon during Operation Olifant. On 22 September 1983, French Navy Super Étendards operating from the aircraft carrier Foch bombed and destroyed Syrian forces positions after a few artillery rounds were fired at the French peace keepers. On 17 November 1983, the same airplanes attacked and destroyed an Islamic Amal training camp in Baalbeck after a terrorist attack on French paratroopers in Beirut.
France's Super Étendards were modified to carry the ramjet powered Air-Sol Moyenne Portée air-launched nuclear missile. From 1991, the original Étendard IVMs were withdrawn from French service, (although the reconnaissance version of the Étendard IV, the IVP remained in service until July 2000) and the Super Étendards underwent a series of upgrades throughout the 1990s to better suit them to modern warfare. These modifications included a new Thomson-CSF Anemone radar, with nearly twice the range of the previous Agave radar, the ability to carry and target the latest generation of laser-guided bombs and missiles, improved self defence ECM systems and the ability to carry a reconnaissance pod. These uprated aircraft, designated Super Étendard Modernisé (SEM) participated in NATO's Allied Force operations over Serbia in 1999, flying over 400 combat missions with 73% of the assigned objectives destroyed : the best performance of all the air forces involved in the missions over Serbia. The SEM also flew strike missions in Operation Enduring Freedom.
Mission Héraclès starting 21 November 2001 saw the deployment of the Charles de Gaulle and its Super Étendard in Afghanistan. Operation Anaconda, starting on 2 March 2002 saw extensive use of the Super Étendard in support of French and allied ground troops. Super Étendard's returned to operations over Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. One of their main roles was to carry laser designation pods to illuminate targets for Dassault Rafales.
In March 2011, Étendards were deployed as a part of Task Force 473, during France's Opération Harmattan in support of UN resolution 1973 during the Libyan conflict. They were paired again with Dassault Rafales on interdiction missions.
All Super Étendards are expected to be retired from French service by 2015, to be replaced from 2006 onwards with Dassault's Rafale M.
Five Super Étendards were loaned to Iraq in 1983 while the country waited for deliveries of Agave equipped Dassault Mirage F1s capable of launching Exocet missiles that had been ordered, arriving in Iraq on 8 October 1983. These aircraft used Exocets with some success against shipping (particularly tankers) sailing to and from Iranian ports, 51 attacks in total in the Persian Gulf before being returned to France in 1985. At least two were shot down during the spring and summer of 1984 by Iranian F-14s, while Iran claims to have shot down a third one. Of the two aircraft destroyed one was indeed shot down, the other was only damaged but crashed whilst trying to return to base. Only three aircraft were returned to France.
- Argentine Naval Aviation received 14 aircraft, eleven are still in service.
- Iraqi Air Force was lent five French aircraft between 1983 and 1985. Only three returned. The other two were lost during the Iran-Iraq war
Accidents and incidents
- 1 August 1989, 0760 3-A-210. Pilot Lt Carlos Manchinelli died.
- 11 December 1989, 0762 3-A-212. Engine stopped. Pilot Lt Félix Médici ejected safely.
- 29 May 1993, 0754 3-A-203 ( Falklands veteran aircraft ). Pilot Lt Sergio Marquez died.
- On 27 May 1982, a Super Étendard crashed off the coast of Toulon; the pilot was killed.
- In September 1986, a Super Étendard crashed into the Mediterranean Sea; the pilot ejected.
- During the night of 2 April 1987, a Super Étendard disappeared during a training flight north of the Île Vierge lighthouse off the northwestern coast of Brittany. Neither the aircraft nor the pilot were found.
- In July 1987, a Super Étendard crashed in a forest in Ille-et-Vilaine; the pilot ejected.
- During the night of 17 July 1988, Super Étendard 54[specify] crashed during a carrier landing on the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau; the pilot was killed.
- On 31 May 1990, a Super Étendard pilot ejected 110 km off the coast of Hyères. He was rescued by a Dauphin helicopter from the French Navy's squadron 23S
- On 27 March 1994, Super Étendard 5 from the French Navy's flotilla 11F crashed in the Adriatic Sea; the pilot was rescued from the water by a helicopter from squadron 23S.
- On 26 January 1996, a Super Étendard crashed off the coast of La Ciotat; the pilot ejected.
- On 14 April 2004, Super Étendard Modernisé 35 from the French Navy's flotilla 17F missed a landing on the French aircraft carrier Charles De Gaulle, crashing on the runway; the pilot was unharmed.
- On 7 December 2005, Super Étendard Modernisé 45 from the French Navy's flotilla 11F (registered F-XCKA) was lost at sea in the Gulf of Ajaccio after its engine ingested a bird. The pilot ejected and was only mildly injured.
- On 21 March 2006, a bird shattered the canopy of Super Étendard Modernisé 3 from the French Navy's flotilla 11F, over Pontorson. The pilot made a forced landing in a field in Dinard.
- On August 24, 2006, around 18:30 (local time), Super Étendard Modernisé 43 from the French Navy's flotilla 11F landed hard at BAN Landivisiau and was damaged; there were no injuries.
- On 21 March 2008, a Super Étendard Modernisé from the French Navy's flotilla 17F was lost at sea south of Cavalaire-sur-Mer during a training flight. The pilot ejected safely.
- On 1 October 2008, at 17:10 (local time), two Super Étendards Modernisés (numbers 38 and 49) from the French Navy's flotilla 11F collided over the bay of Lannion, about 27 km north of Morlaix. They were conducting a training flight originating from BAN Landivisiau. Both pilots ejected, but only one was rescued alive. The minesweeper Lyre (M648) was not able to locate the wreckage in over 60 m of water, and the rescue attempts for the second downed pilot (lieutenant de vaisseau Sébastien Lhéritier) were called off the next day at noon. On October 17, wreckage and the missing pilot's body were found 20 km north of Île de Batz with the assistance of robotic submersibles.
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1982-83 
- Crew: 1
- Length: 14.31 m (45 ft 11½ in)
- Wingspan: 9.60 m (31 ft 6 in)
- Height: 3.86 m (12 ft 8 in)
- Wing area: 28.4 m² (306.7 ft²)
- Empty weight: 6,500 kg (14,330 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 12,000 kg (26,455 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × SNECMA Atar 8K-50 turbojet, 49.0 kN (11,025 lbf)
- Maximum speed: 1,000 km/h (637 knots, 733 mph) at low level
- Range: 1,820 km (983 nmi, 1,130 mi)
- Combat radius: 850 km (460 nmi, 530 mi) with one AM39 Exocet missile one wing pylon and one drop tank on opposite pylon, hi-lo-hi profile
- Service ceiling: 13,700 m (44,900 ft)
- Rate of climb: 100 m/s (19,700 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 423 kg/m² (86.3 lb/ft²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.42
- Guns: 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) DEFA 552 cannons with 125 rounds per gun
- Hardpoints: 4× underwing and 2× under-fuselage with a capacity of 2,100 kg (4,600 lb) maximum
- Rockets: 4× Matra rocket pods with 18× SNEB 68 mm rockets each
- Bombs: Conventional unguided or laser-guided bombs, provision for 1 × AN-52 free-fall nuclear bomb, provision for "buddy" air refuelling pod
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- List of fighter aircraft
- List of military aircraft of France
- ^ Jackson 1992, p. 77.
- ^ a b c d e Grolleau 2003, p.40.
- ^ a b Taylor 1982, pp. 65–66.
- ^ a b Taylor 1982, p.65.
- ^ Michell 1994, p.65.
- ^ USMC: Offensive Air Operations of The Falklands War
- ^ Huertas 1997, pp. 22–29.
- ^ Video
- ^ ARAEX ops
- ^ Gringo-Gaucho Ops
- ^ Armada Argentina[dead link]
- ^ MinDef news: Francia cooperará en la modernización de aviones navales de ataque Super Etendard
- ^ "L'Argentine pourrait reprendre les Super Etendard français"("Argentina could take over the French Super Étendards"), retrieved 2010-03-02
- ^ Jackson 1986, p.66.
- ^ Grolleau 2003, p.39.
- ^ Grolleau 2003, pp. 39–40.
- ^ Grolleau 2003, pp. 40–41.
- ^ Goebel, Greg (2007-04-01). "Rafale into service". www.vectorsite.net. http://www.vectorsite.net/avrafa.html#m3. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- ^ EMA. "Libye : première mission aérienne pour la TF 473". French Ministry of Defense. http://www.defense.gouv.fr/operations/autres-operations/operation-harmattan-libye/actualites/libye-premiere-mission-aerienne-pour-la-tf-473. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- ^ EMA. "Libye : point de situation opération Harmattan n°6". French Ministry of Defense. http://www.defense.gouv.fr/operations/autres-operations/operation-harmattan-libye/actualites/libye-point-de-situation-operation-harmattan-n-6. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- ^ Jackson 1986, p.69.
- ^ Ejection History Website,Chronological Listing of Iraqi Losses & Ejections - retrieved 23rd October, 2009
- ^ (French)"Disparition d'un pilote aero en 1987". air-defense.net. 2007-03-30. Archived from Disparition d'un pilote aero en 1987 the original on 2007. http://archive.wikiwix.com/cache/?url=http://www.air-defense.net/Forum_AD/index.php?topic=8001.0&title=Disparition%20d%27un%20pilote%20aero%20en%201987. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
- ^ a b (French) Net Marine
- ^ (French) Public report of the technical inquiry performed by the Bureau d'enquêtes et d'analyses de la Défense, number M-2004-009-IA, December 2004
- ^ (French) Accident aérien survenu à un Super Etendard Modernisé de la Marine Nationale, le 7 décembre 2005, dans le golfe d'Ajaccio
- ^ (French) Public report of the technical inquiry performed by the Bureau d'enquêtes et d'analyses de la Défense, number M-2005-019-A, June 22, 2006
- ^ (French) Public report of the technical inquiry performed by the Bureau d'enquêtes et d'analyses de la Défense, number M-2006-007-I, June 28, 2006.
- ^ (French) Public report of the technical inquiry performed by the Bureau d'enquêtes et d'analyses de la Défense, number M-2006-016, April 25, 2007.
- ^ (French) Un Super Etendard perdu en mer
- ^ (French) "Accident aérien de 2 Super-Étendard de la Marine nationale", defense.gouv.fr (Ministère de la Défense français), 2008-10-01, http://www.defense.gouv.fr/marine/base/breves/accident_aerien_de_2_super_etendard_de_la_marine_nationale, retrieved 2008-10-01 [dead link]
- ^ (French) Jean-Dominique Merchet (2008-10-02), "Crash d'un Super-Étendard: plus d'espoir de retrouver le pilote vivant", Libération, ISSN 0335-1793, http://secretdefense.blogs.liberation.fr/defense/2008/10/crash-dun-super.html, retrieved 2008-10-02
- ^ (French) "La Marine localise des débris de Super-Étendard au nord de l'île de Batz", Ouest-France, 2008-10-15, OCLC 405970499, http://www.ouest-france.fr/La-Marine-localise-des-debris-de-Super-etendard-au-nord-de-l-ile-de-Batz/re/ofdernmin/_-723325--BKN----_actu.html, retrieved 2008-10-16
- ^ (French) "Recherche du pilote et des Super Étendards disparus en mer", defense.gouv.fr (Ministère de la Défense français), 2008-10-17, http://www.defense.gouv.fr/marine/base/breves/recherche_du_pilote_et_des_super_etendards_disparus_en_mer, retrieved 2008-10-18 [dead link]
- ^ Flight International 25–31 May 2004, p.53.
- ^ Donald and Lake 1996, p.142.
- ^ Jackson 1986, p.62.
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