Dassault MD.450 Ouragan (Hurricane) Fighter / Fighter-Bomber Aircraft
The Dassault MD.450 Ouragan jet-powered fighter helped to re-establish the once-powerful aviation industry of France in post-World War 2 Europe.
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The Dassault MD.450 "Ouragan" (meaning "Hurricane") became France's first home-grown operational, jet-powered, military combat fighter, eventually being produced in several hundred examples during her active tenure. While not a wholly exceptional "fighter" when compared to her contemporaries, the type served particularly well in the fighter-bomber role and saw extensive combat actions with India, El Salvador and Israel. Though she was eventually superseded by improved platforms, her impact on the re-established French aviation industry was permanent and gave rise to the respected Dassault name.
France in Post-War Europe
At the end of World War 2, France found itself a decimated and occupied country, bereft of its aviation industry since the opening days of the German invasion some years before. While other nations - particularly Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States - all evolved their aviation industries to replace their piston-powered fighters with new-fangled jets, France struggled through a post-war period of staleness, often resorting to outright purchases of new or used (yet proven) foreign equipment to number her front-line inventories.
One of those leading the charge to bring back the forgotten French aviation industry was Marcel Dassault. Dassault began private development of a single-seat, jet-powered fighter aircraft in November of 1947. The jet was highly utilitarian in nature with seemingly little to recommend herself but she proved a viable product nonetheless. The design was submitted to the French government for consideration and further development was encouraged. The product took on the designation of MD.450 (the "MD" portion of the designation attributed to its designer, "Marcel Dassault"). Three prototypes were ordered in late 1947 with construction beginning in the spring of 1948 at Saint-Cloud. The selected powerplant became the Rolls-Royce "Nene" 102 turbojet engine, a centrifugal-flow system used primarily in the British Hawker Sea Hawk and Supermarine Attacker though eventually replaced by Rolls-Royce by the improved "Avon" series turbojet. The first MD.450 prototype (MD.450-01) was made airborne on February 28th, 1949 - though lacking major components such as armament and pressurization - under the designation nickname of "Ouragan". Initial performance proved impressive and development pressed on.