The Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard (Étendard is French for “battle flag”, cognate to English “standard”) is a French carrier-borne strike fighter aircraft designed by Dassault-Breguet for service with the French Navy.
The aircraft is an advanced development of the Étendard IVM, which it replaced. The Super Étendard first flew in October 1974 and entered French service in June 1978. French Super Étendards have served in several conflicts such as the Kosovo war, the war in Afghanistan and the military intervention in Libya.
The Super Étendard was also operated by Iraq (on a temporary lease) and Argentina, which both deployed the aircraft during wartime. Argentina’s use of the Super Étendard and the Exocet missile during the 1982 Falklands War led to the aircraft gaining considerable popular recognition.
The Super Étendard was used by Iraq to attack oil tankers and merchant shipping in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq-Iran War. In French service, the Super Étendard was replaced by the Dassault Rafale in 2016.
The Super Étendard is a development of the earlier Étendard IVM which had been developed in the 1950s. The Étendard IVM was originally to have been replaced by a navalised version of the SEPECAT Jaguar, designated as the Jaguar M; however the Jaguar M project was stalled by a combination of political problems and issues experienced during trial deployments on board carriers.
Specifically, the Jaguar M had suffered handling problems when being flown on a single engine and a poor throttle response time that made landing back on a carrier after an engine failure difficult. In 1973, all development work on the Jaguar M was formally cancelled by the French government.
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 8K-50 turbojet with a rating of 49 kN (11,025 lbf). Its performance was not much better than the Étendard IV, but its avionics were significantly improved.
The main new weapon of the Super Étendard was the French anti-shipping missile, the Aérospatiale AM 39 Exocet.
The aircraft had a Thomson-CSF Agave radar which, amongst other functions, was essential to launch the Exocet missile. One of the major technical advances of the Super Étendard was its onboard UAT-40 central computer; this managed most mission-critical systems, integrating navigational data and functions, radar information and display, and weapons targeting and controls.
First flight: 1974
Crew: 1 pilot
Motor: 1 Snecma ATAR 8K 50
Max. speed: 1.3 mach
Ceiling: 13 700 m
Street exhibition model (№2)