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Dassault Super Etendard Carrier-based Navy Strike Fighter Aircraft

The French Dassault Super Etendard naval strike fighter was a further development of the original Dassault Etendard IV strike platform.

 Updated: 5/5/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

The Dassault "Super Etendard" was a further development of the original French Dassault Etendard IV strike fighter introduced in 1962 and seeing 90 examples built. The line was retired in 1991 and gave the French Navy solid service over its tenure. Introduced in 1978, the Super Etendard added to the lineage and eventually was operated by the Argentina Navy and the Iraqi Air Force. Production of the new model spanned from 1977 to 1983 with totals reaching 85 examples. The aircraft line would see combat action in the Falklands War with Argentina and Britain. iraqi Air Force Super Etendards were used in anger against Iranian targets in the bloody Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

The Super Etendard became a highly-modified and modernized version of the Etendard IV with changes that included a greater payload capability, improved performance, and overall refinements to the airframe. The aircraft also brought along a nuclear-capability and could carry the Aerospatiale ASMP bomb in French Navy service. Power was served through a sole SNECMA Atar 8K-50 turbojet engine of 11,025 lb thrust output providing a maximum speed of 735 miles per hour, a range out to 1,130 miles, a service ceiling up to 44,900 feet, and a rate-of-climb nearing 19,700 feet per minute. Speeds were aided by swept-back wing surfaces as well as a low profile, streamlined design. The aircraft sat one pilot.

The Super Etendard came to be known for its accurate and powerful anti-shipping service particularly during the aforementioned Falklands War and, later, during the war between Iran and Iraq where Iraqi Etendards assaulted Iranian shipment in the Persian Gulf. Armed with the deadly French-made "Exocet" anti-ship missile, the Super Etendard dealt stealth-like blows to unsuspecting and unprotected convoys. The aircraft also carried 2 x 30mm DEFA 552 series internal cannons for close-in work and sported six hardpoints for carrying up to 4,600 lb of external stores. This went on to include missiles, rocket pods, and conventional drop bombs.

While still operational with the French Navy (2014), the final Super Etendards are expected to be replaced by the Rafale M advanced multirole fighter. Final forms are expected to be removed from service in 2016. The French Navy procured some 71 total Super Etendards in all. Argentina was handed fourteen and the Iraqi Air Force operated some five total of the type.

July 2016 - The French Navy has officially given up use of the Super Etendard. These have been replaced on French carriers by the Dassault Rafale.

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Dassault Super Etendard Technical Specifications

Service Year: 1978
Type: Carrier-based Navy Strike Fighter Aircraft
National Origin: France
Manufacturer(s): Dassault Aviation - France
Production Total: 85

Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

Operating Crew (Typical): 1
Overall Length: 46.95 feet (14.31 meters)
Overall Width: 31.50 feet (9.60 meters)
Overall Height: 12.66 feet (3.86 meters)

Weight (Empty): 14,330 lb (6,500 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 26,455 lb (12,000 kg)

Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

Propulsion: 1 x SNECMA Atar 8K-50 turbojet with afterburner developing 11,025 lb of thrust.

Maximum Speed: 749 mph (1,205 kph; 651 knots)
Maximum Range: 404 miles (650 km)
Service Ceiling: 44,948 feet (13,700 meters; 8.51 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 19,685 feet-per-minute (6,000 m/min)

Armament / Mission Payload

2 x 30 mm internal cannons

Mixed ordnance of mission-specific weaponry includes:

Rocket Pods, dumb bombs, laser-guided bombs, Magic air-to-air missiles, 1 x Exocet anti-ship missile and 1 x ASMP stand-off nuclear missile.

Global Operators / Customers

Argentina; France (retired); Iraq (retired)

Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

Etendard IV - Base Etendard Production Model on which the Super Etendard is based on.
Etendard IVM - Super Etendard Prototypes of which three were produced.
Super Etendard - Improved naval carrier-borne strike fighter.