Dassault Etendard II
|STRIKE FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Dassault|
In the mid 'fifties, the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) issued a specification for a lightweight strike fighter powered by a single Orpheus turbojet. In France, the Ministere de l'Air drew up a parallel specification for an aircraft which differed essentially from that called for by NATO in having paired lightweight turbojets. Dassault prepared a basic design to meet both requirements, and, being of the opinion that the officially-backed specifications would result in underpowered aircraft, evolved a third version of the design as a private venture. The three versions of the aircraft were designated Etendard (Standard) II, IV and VI, and the first to commence its flight test programme was the Etendard II. Three prototypes had been ordered by the French government and the first of these flew on 23 July 1956. Competing with the Breguet 1100, the Etendard II was powered by two 940kg Turbomeca Gabizo turbojets and proposed armament included two 30mm cannon which were to be installed as a pack interchangeable with one containing 32 Matra 105 68mm rockets. It was intended to fit the Gabizo engines with afterburners, but as these were producing 160kg less dry thrust than promised and aircraft performance was, in general, disappointing, the programme was discontinued in November 1956, the second and third prototypes being cancelled. The second prototype was to have had 1200kg SNECMA R-105 engines.