The Dassault adventure

How, starting with a wooden propeller designed during the First World War, did a world-class company with expertise in strategic technologies emerge and prosper, to celebrate its 100th anniversary?

1916 1945
Foundations

1945 1975
The magic years

1975 2000
Shaping the future

2000 ...
The story continues

1916 1945

Foundations
The history of Dassault Aviation reaches back to the dawn of aviation at the beginning of the 20th century. It is naturally inseparable from the life of its founder, Marcel Bloch, who was fascinated by both aesthetics and innovation from his early childhood. It was Marcel Bloch, later known as Marcel Dassault, who forged the DNA that still shapes his eponymous company. His experiences during this initial period are the key to understanding his fundamental values and future success.

Our airplanes

1916
Hélice éclair
Éclair propeller
1918
Sea IV
Sea IV
1930
MB 60
MB 60
1932
MB 80
MB 80
1932
MB 120
MB 120
1933
MB 200
MB 200
1935
MB 210
MB 210
1936
MB 220
MB 220
1937
MB 160
MB 160
1938
MB 152
MB 152
1939
MB 174
MB 174

An industrialist during the Great War

Hélice Éclair French ace Georges Guynemer in front of his Spad VII with an Éclair propeller.

Verdun, 1916. The first real air battle in history rages in the skies over Verdun. France’s Nieuport pursuit planes are equipped with an impressive new propeller that is simple, rugged, effective and even beautiful. It’s called the Éclair (“Lightning”), and it was designed by Marcel Bloch, barely 24 years old. The following year, with some 40 propeller manufacturers in France turning out 253 different models, the government selected only

the three best, including the Éclair, which would be used, for example, on the Spad VII flown by French ace Georges Guynemer. This commercial breakthrough marked the start of one of the most striking success stories in the international aviation industry.

‘‘ During recreation period one day in the courtyard of the school, I saw an airplane go by for the first time. It was a Wilbur Wright plane owned by the count of lambert, and it was circling the Eiffel tower. […] I had never seen an airplane, but right then I understood that aviation had entered my mind and my heart. ’’ Marcel Dassault
Marcel Bloch Marcel Bloch, ca 1910

It was at this point that Bloch designed the new Éclair propeller, and had it manufactured by carpenters in Paris. His first experience as manufacturer familiarized him with the wide variety of production issues, and above all gave him vital data about a broad range of airplanes, since manufacturers sent him all the associated technical specifications.

Marcel Bloch was born on January 22, 1892 in Paris, and quickly became fascinated by the daring feats of the pioneering aviators. In 1913, he earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from the École supérieure d’aéronautique. Called up for his military service, he was assigned to the aeronautics laboratory in Chalais-Meudon, near Paris. Shortly after the start of World War I, Marcel Bloch and Henry Potez were chosen to oversee the manufacture of Caudron G-3 reconnaissance planes, with production duties split between several well-known manufacturers.

11ème escadrille The SEA IV deployed by the 11th squadron.

At that point, Marcel Bloch decided to become an aircraft manufacturer himself, in association with his friends Henry Potez and Louis Coroller. They founded the Société d’Études Aéronautiques (SEA) on July 1, 1917, offering their SEA IV twin-seat pursuit and reconnaissance airplane. The French army ordered 1,000 of these planes in late 1917, but with the war ending just after production startup, only 115 were built. Marcel Bloch therefore shifted his focus to real estate and furniture manufacture while waiting for brighter days.

‘‘ The war we had won at such a high cost in human lives was regarded by everyone then as "the war to end all wars" . The government services responsible for airplane production informed us that, if we wished, we could make doors, windows or wheelbarrows, but it would be a long time before any new orders for aircraft were given. And even if someday a government order were to be given, it would be for only a few airplanes, and it would go to the big companies with big factories and reserves of manpower, like Voisin, Breguet, Farman and others. ’’ Marcel Dassault, The Talisman

Return to aviation

L'increvable «The Indestructible»

France created a Ministry of Aviation in 1928, kicking off a policy of developing prototypes to modernize the French military fleet. Marcel Bloch, his enthusiasm rekindled by Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic in 1927, was ready to return to his first love, aviation.

Monsieur Bloch founded his own design office in 1929 and submitted a proposal to the ministry for the construction of a trimotor plane with all-metal construction – an innovative technique at the time – to carry the mail. This aircraft would not enter production, but the French army still needed a three-engine plane to reach the country’s colonies, so they ordered a modified version: the MB-120.

The main planes that followed included the single-engine MB-81, designed for the transport of wounded soldiers, and ordered in 1931; prototypes of light planes; and the twin-engine warplanes MB-200 (1933), MB-210 (1934) and MB-131 (1936). Marcel Bloch also began the construction of airliners, including the twin-engine MB-220 (1936) and the four-engine MB-160 (1939), later the Languedoc, flown by Air France. In just a few short years he had become the country’s second leading aircraft manufacturer..

MB-220 MB-220, twin engine airliner

Bloch’s success in the combat aircraft sector was especially striking. A total of 750 MB-151, MB-152 and MB-155 fighters were produced. His company also made a light bomber and a twin-engine ground attack plane, the MB-174 and MB-175, respectively. A total of 1,000 were ordered, but the rapid outcome of the war in France limited deliveries.

The production of these different models was distributed among several manufacturers, under license, to give them sufficient workload. The MB-200, MB-210 and MB-152 were exported. A total of about 1,800 Bloch civil and military aircraft were built before the Second World War.

MB-152 The MB-152 was a rugged aircraft, offering a very stable firing platform and excellent damage resistance.
MB IV blueprint Design of the MB-60.
‘‘ You were offering us a beautifully designed airplane, of all-metal construction, and you precisely and efficiently assessed all of its characteristics. You yourself determined, like I still do today, all aspects of its production, which seemed to me emblematic of eminent manufacturer with a great future in aviation. ’’ Albert Caquot, Chief Technical Officer at the French Ministry of Aviation in 1928, talking about the MB-60.

Night and fog

L'usine SNCASO Sheet metal workers building parts of a Bloch MB-152 fighter at the SNCASO factory in Châteauroux-Déols.

As early as 1930, Marcel Bloch had begun to form an outstanding team of young engineers, wholly devoted to the charismatic patron. Concerned about his workers’ wellbeing, Monsieur Bloch gave them a week of paid vacation starting in 1935. His “human resources” policy would always be ahead of that applied by his industry counterparts.

When the aviation industry was nationalized in 1936, Bloch’s factories became part of the new company, Société Nationale de Construction Aéronautique du Sud Ouest (SNCASO). He was named managing director of this company, a position he would hold until January 1940. At the same time, Bloch set up an independent design office to continue working on his own ideas.

Usine Marcel Bloch In the immediate post-war period, the Bloch plant in Saint-Cloud, built in 1938, made engines and propellers.

In October 1940, Marcel Bloch was imprisoned by the Vichy government, and his goods were confiscated. A fervent patriot who refused to work for the occupying force, he was deported to Buchenwald by the Nazis. Although very ill, he managed to survive until the liberation of this concentration camp in April 1945, thanks to help from a clandestine communist organization. Throughout this extremely trying period, Marcel Bloch, who was convinced the Allies would eventually win, never stopped designing his planes. He had a single goal in mind: to resume production after the war.

Marcel Bloc World War 2 Marcel Bloch, his wife Madeleine, and sons Claude and Serge were first confined to the prison at Fort Montluc in Lyon, then the Drancy concentration camp. Steadfastly refusing to collaborate with the occupying force, Marcel was subsequently deported to Buchenwald, where he remained from August 1944 to April 1945.
‘‘ Imprisoned at fort Montluc in 1944, Marcel Bloch seemed as inapt as possible to stand up to this particularly harsh prison, where many people died. But he was a reed with a backbone of steel, tough, flexible and of an exceptional caliber. […] He was phlegmatic, impassive, calm, and throughout the day he would repeat: ‘When things get tough, be strong,’… and he was strong. That was his manner. He was impossible to perturb, and he had a logical optimism, because he really thought that the Germans would lose the war. ’’ André Frossard, writer and member of the french academy.

1945 1975

The magic years
Throughout the 30 years from 1945 to 1975, Dassault established itself as one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. Following the war, the company once again built up its workforce, whose unstinting work enabled it to win most French government contracts open to competitive bidding. Marcel Dassault’s visionary strategy underpinned the company’s design and construction of world-class civil and military aircraft.

Our airplanes

1947
MD 315 Flamant
MD 315 Flamant
1949
MD 450 Ouragan
MD 450 Ouragan
1951
MD 452 Mystère II
MD 452 Mystère II
1952
Mystère IV
Mystère IV
1956
Super Mystère B2
Super Mystère B2
1956
Étendard IV
Étendard IV
1956
Mirage III
Mirage III
1959
Mirage IV
Mirage IV
1962
Balzac V 001
Balzac V 001
1963
Mystère Falcon 20
Mystère Falcon 20
1965
MD 620
MD 620
1966
Mirage F1
Mirage F1
1967
Mirage G
Mirage G
1968
Jaguar
Jaguar
1970
Falcon 10
Falcon 10
1971
Mercure
Mercure
1973
Alpha Jet
Alpha Jet
1974
Super Étendard
Super Étendard

A rich stream of creativity

Europe Falcon Service Europe Falcon Service.

From 1945 to 1975, Dassault’s design office, prototype shop and assembly lines worked without letup. The company produced some 20 different types of aircraft, not to mention numerous derivatives and prototypes that never entered production.

Dassault tested many different solutions, and was in fact the only company in the world to have developed so many different prototypes.

Mirage III Mirage III.

Dassault’s pragmatic technical approach, a clever balance of audacity and realism, bore fruit. Innovation was a constant, but applied on a proven basis: a new aircraft would use a proven power plant, for instance, while a new engine would be fitted to an airframe with well-known characteristics. This method resulted in the creation of different aircraft families, with long production runs.

Marcel Dassault carved out a strong position in military aviation, starting with the Ouragan and Mystère fighters, then the legendary Mirage family.

‘‘ I named my mirage III plane ‘mirage’ because of the plane’s qualities of attack and evasion, its ability to escape enemy thrusts most of the time. The mirage is as invulnerable to an enemy’s blows as the desert mirage is elusive to the desert traveler. ’’ Marcel Dassault, The Talisman
Mystère 20 Mystère 20, Pan Am visit.

Applying the company’s long-standing dual production policy, Dassault re-entered the civil aviation market in the burgeoning business jet segment. The Falcon family would signal his grand return to the civil market, with the development of a complete range of “bizjets” following the impressive initial success of the Falcon 20, chosen by Charles Lindbergh for Pan Am.

‘‘ I think the ‘Mystère 20’ has extraordinarily fine lines. From the standpoint of appearance, it would do credit to the Pan American insignia. I was tremendously impressed by it during the short time I was at the factory. I was also impressed by the factory in general, and by the men I met there. It was, possibly, the best french establishment of this kind I have ever seen. ’’ Charles Lindbergh, Letter from Charles Lindbergh to Juan Trippe, founder and chairman of Pan Am, dated may 12, 1963
Pan American Airways Archives, University of Miami

Cutting-edge technology

Balzac v 001 Balzac v 001.

Dassault was a pioneer in the use of the latest electronic systems in its aircraft, especially radar. The company also expanded its scope of business in the post-war years. Increasing aircraft speed meant that manual flight had become too hard for pilots,

who now needed hydraulic power assistance. Marcel Dassault decided that his company would have to design and build its own flight controls, which would play a key role in the success of the following models.

Fabrique de radars Aïda The production shop for the Étendard IV’s Aïda radar, in Saint-Cloud.

As early as 1970, Dassault began to invest in computer-aided design (CAD). This was a visionary approach. By developing software for three-dimensional design, Dassault was already imagining production directly from drawings.

Several state-of-the-art aircraft were built as prototypes, but did not enter production, such as the vertical-takeoff Mirage III V, or the variable geometry Mirage G. But the knowledge acquired through these efforts would later be incorporated in aircraft that did indeed go into production.

The first fly-by-wire controls appeared on the Mirage IV in 1959. Dassault’s understanding and application of this technology, highly envied by its competitors, became one of the symbols of the company’s outstanding technical capabilities. Dassault also carried out constant R&D and testing on new materials to reduce weight while maintaining or enhancing strength.

Mirage G8 Mirage G-8 01 and G-8 02.

A pivotal role in the aircraft industry

Etendard IV Hydraulic flight controls, the first to enter production in France, were made at the Saint-Cloud plant. They would become one of the company’s key areas of expertise and a critical aspect of Dassault’s renowned flight safety.

Dassault bravely funded several combat aircraft projects on its own, such as the Mirage III and the Mirage F1, designed and built in partnership with engine and equipment manufacturers. Once all design risks had been removed, the French government made its investment.

Dassault won virtually all French government contracts for combat aircraft, largely because of the technical quality and competitive pricing of its aircraft. Orders flowing in also helped generate work for both the state-owned prime contractors and private subcontractors.

Mirages F1 Ecuadorian Mirage F1s.
Mirages IV Mirage IV

According to Pierre Messmer, French armed forces minister from 1960 to 1969, “I wasn’t really bothered by the heated debate on the civil/military production work split. For me, the most pressing concern was to encourage specialization, or to merge the state-owned planemakers to get the sector in shape. The warplanes made by Dassault were so superior that the selection was only natural. Sud-Aviation had ambitious goals in this sector, but they had lost the habit,

so we no longer gave them the chance to build fighters. If Marcel Dassault won these orders, it’s because he was the best.”

From that moment on, Dassault played a pivotal role in the French aircraft industry. Furthermore, it led an entire ecosystem of high-tech companies, including Snecma, Thomson-CSF, Matra, etc.

Alpha Jets Patrouille de France Alpha Jets flying over Versailles.

The importance
of exports

Usine de Mirages III The Mirage III production line in Mérignac, near Bordeaux.

When General Charles de Gaulle was named head of the government in 1958, he applied a policy of national independence. Dassault’s warplanes became one of the tools in his foreign policy. At the time, the buzzword was “Mirage diplomacy”.

The Mirage IV nuclear bomber was built by Dassault as prime contractor, leading a number of other companies, both private and state-owned. As the airborne component of France’s nuclear deterrent force, it ensured real strategic independence for France.

To Mr. Marcel Dassault, in memory of our combat, and as an expression of my high esteem for your contribution to France’s standing. In friendship, C. De Gaulle, nov. 11, 1954. Signature by General de Gaulle in a copy of his book Mémoire de guerre that he sent to Marcel Dassault
Mirages III et IV Mirage III and Mirage IV on the ground.

The Mirage III multirole fighter not only gave the French air force a state-of-the-art warplane, it was also offered to countries that did not want to depend solely on the United States or the Soviet Union.

Contrat Mirage III avec l'Australie Signing the contract for the sale of Mirage III fighters to Australia

Export sales became a vital part of Dassault’s business, outpacing its production for the domestic market and helping France’s balance of trade by generating income in foreign currencies. International sales, which extended aircraft production runs, enabled the French government to buy its own aircraft at more reasonable prices.

The benefits for the national economy were obvious, as explained by Benno-Claude Vallières: “Take the case of the Mirage III. The amount invested by the government to purchase this plane, plus production tooling, in relation to export revenues, comes to only 1.58%. In other words, for every 1.58 francs invested, France saw 100 francs in exports.”

1975 2000

Shaping the future
Dassault quickly adapted to the evolving political and economic environment because of its broad skills base, coupled with proven flexibility and forward planning. Following the oil shock of 1973-74, then the Iranian crisis in 1979, the global economy felt the impact of rising raw material prices. In France it was the end of the “Trente Glorieuses” (the “thirty glorious” years of strong growth after the war). Dassault bolstered its fundamentals by developing exports of civil and military aircraft, against a backdrop of increasingly fierce international competition.

Our airplanes

1976
Falcon 50
Falcon 50
1978
Mirage 2000
Mirage 2000
1979
Mirage 4000
Mirage 4000
1981
Atlantique 2
Atlantique 2
1983
Mirage 2000 N
Mirage 2000 N
1984
Falcon 900
Falcon 900
1986
Rafale A
Rafale A
1991
Mirage 2000-5
Mirage 2000-5
1991
Rafale C01
Rafale C 01
1991
Rafale M 01
Rafale M 01
1993
Rafale B 01
Rafale B 01
1993
Falcon 2000
Falcon 2000
2000
Mirage 2000-9
Mirage 2000-9

Ubiquitous high technology

Simulateur de vol du Mirage 2000. Mirage 2000 flight simulator.

From 1975 to 2000, fewer and fewer aircraft prototypes actually entered the test flight phase, with nearly all types of aircraft having already been tested. It was no longer a question of test pilots “taking her out for a spin” to see what needed to be improved, as in the exploratory phase of the 1950s and 60s.

The digital revolution meant that engineers could design and test the optimum characteristics for each model well before the first flight.

Marcel Dassault, initiation au dessin numérique Marcel Dassault, 88, tries his hand at digital design, with the help of Dominique Calmels and Francis Bernard, during the development of the Mirage 2000 in 1980.
Le bureau d’études de Saint-Cloud, dans les années 1980. The design department in the 1980s.

Powerful new computer programs developed by Dassault enabled engineers to design aircraft structures right on their screens. At the same time, they could develop production orders for these parts, using new numerical control (NC) machine tools. Their work marked the genesis of Dassault’s CATIA 3D design software and also the creation of Dassault Systèmes, under the impetus of Charles Edelstenne. With the increasingly widespread use of light and strong composite materials, plus fly-by-wire flight controls, aircraft offered more and more performance and maneuverability.

Le bureau d’études de Saint-Cloud, dans les années 2000. The design department after the turn of the 21st century.

At the crossroads

Atterissage sur porte-avion On April 30, 1987, Yves Kerhervé carried out the first approaches for a deck landing on the Foch aircraft carrier, at the controls of the demonstrator from the ACX program.

The year 1986 would be pivotal in Dassault’s history. It saw the first flight of the technology demonstrator for the Rafale, a state-of-the-art fighter that would open exciting new perspectives. The Rafale was designed to replace seven different types of aircraft deployed by the French air force and navy.

The year 1986 also saw the death of Marcel Dassault and the departure of Benno-Claude Vallières, followed by the arrival of the new Chairman and CEO, Serge Dassault, who would take the reins of the company and lay foundations for the transition to the 21st century.

Dassault 94 ans Marcel Dassault passed away on April 17, 1986 at the age of 94.

The company also implemented a firm, but consensual restructuring policy so that the focus could shift from military aircraft to business aircraft when the market began to recover in the late 1990s.

Subsequently, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 marked the start of an upheaval in the international environment. The end of the East-West standoff led to cuts in defense budgets, while the downturn in the global economy discouraged new civil and military aircraft purchases. The drop in orders would eventually lead to a decrease in production.

Dassault Aviation nonetheless maintained its industrial capabilities and a state-of- the-art design department to cope with the crisis in the aviation industry under the best possible conditions.

Usine de Falcon Jet Falcon Jet Corporation’s plant in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Planes are like souls, they have wings and prolong life. Mine will still be flying when I am no longer here. Marcel Dassault

A successful redeployment

Usine Mirage III Robotized assembly of falcon wings in Martignas

Dassault Aviation’s production policy integrated the complete product life cycle, from design to end of service life. This new approach to production reinforced

Dassault Aviation’s skills as an industrial architect, while significantly reducing costs and enhancing quality.

Dassault is a long-standing expert in integrating the many complex systems that go into modern aircraft. Responsible for the overall design, as well as ensuring consistency and tracking all upgrades, Dassault guarantees the quality, reliability and flight safety of its aircraft, based on a proactive approach to continuous innovation. Dassault Aviation draws on its corporate culture, anchored in a subtle balance between audacity and realism, plus technological excellence, to continuously strengthen its position as one of the highest performance aerospace companies in the world.

Usine à commandes numériques The numerical control machine tools at the Seclin plant simultaneously produced parts for the Mirage 2000. This drawing was part of a portfolio put together to show Falcon customers the production facilities used to make their aircraft.

2000 ...

The story continues
Dassault Aviation holds a very special place in today’s global aerospace industry, as the only company still owned by the founding family. Upholding the principles that have forged its success during the first hundred years, Dassault keeps pace with changes in its markets. Dassault plays a pivotal role in new European aircraft programs, and drives the development of the advanced technologies that will shape tomorrow’s world.

Our airplanes

2002
Falcon 900EX EASy
Falcon 900EX EASy
2004
Rafale Marine
Rafale Marine
2005
Falcon 7X
Falcon 7X
2006
Rafale Air
Rafale Air
2009
Falcon 2000LX
Falcon 2000LX
2010
Falcon 900LX
Falcon 900LX
2011
Falcon 2000S
Falcon 2000S
2012
nEUROn
nEUROn
2012
Rafale (standard F3.3)
Rafale (standard F3.3)
2013
Falcon 2000LXS
Falcon 2000LXS
2013
Rafale F3-R
Rafale F3-R
2013
Annonce du Falcon 5X
Announcement of Falcon 5X launch
2014
Système de combat aérien futur (FCAS)
Future Combat Air System (FCAS)
2015
Falcon 8X (1er vol le 6 février)
Falcon 8X: first flight on February 6
2015
Contrats Rafale export
Rafales export contracts
2015
Falcon 2000 MRA
Falcon 2000 MRA

A new industrial revolution

Maquette numérique The digital model is the design, production and support standard for Dassault aircraft, used at every stage in the plane’s life.

Mérignac, February 15, 2005. It’s a uniquely moving moment for the audience, who are wearing 3D glasses. They are flabbergasted by the realistic digital model of the Falcon 7X No. 1, which is being projected on an object in the shadows. As the virtual image fades to reveal the actual Falcon jet, many of them can’t

believe their eyes – they’re still under the spell. But when the ground crew pivots the aircraft to show its other side, the guests realize that they are really looking at the 7X. Many of them must be thinking, “We’re not in the 20th century any more!”.

virtual reality Center The digital model is the design, production and support standard for Dassault aircraft, used at every stage in the plane’s life.

Starting in 2000, Dassault Aviation launched a new industrial revolution to reduce the costly and time-consuming steps needed to make an aircraft, from design all the way to entry into service. The 21st-century revolution was built on the powerful computer systems and software developed by Dassault Systèmes, allowing the instantaneous exchange of design and production data between contributors located thousands of kilometers apart. Design, production, support and customer relations data is all integrated in a single shared database, which is constantly updated throughout the life of the product.

At the same time, so-called “digital factories” enhance competitiveness by improving product quality and employee efficiency. Robots are widely used for routine, arduous and dangerous tasks. They also increase accuracy when machining primary parts, while facilitating work on complex parts by bolstering the technical skills of trade workers.

We, the French were […] pioneers in the industrial revolution. Throughout our history we have had men like Denis Papin, Clément Ader, Gustave Eiffel and Marcel Dassault, our great inventors and captains of industry, plus thousands of anonymous workers who wrote some of the most impressive pages in the history of France and created french industry. Nicolas Sarkozy, French President, in his concluding remark at the industry summit in Marignane on March 4, 2010

Dual expertise

nEUROn The nEUROn combat drone has shown remarkable performance, confirming Dassault Aviation’s ability to manage an innovative joint European program, while keeping costs under control and meeting deadlines.

Dassault Aviation has always leveraged its dual (civil-military) expertise, which is the foundation of its balanced business and an integral part of its DNA. The complementary nature of civil and military markets is a very effective bulwark against fluctuating political and economic conditions. A single design department and the same plants produce Dassault’s military aircraft (Rafale and drones) and business aircraft (the Falcon family). Sophisticated technologies developed for defense applications are subsequently applied to the civil sector, while the latter contributes a number of production innovations. Because of these synergies, Dassault Aviation sustains a level of competitiveness that far exceeds the scope of just the French or European market alone. Dassault’s business model has no equivalent in the aerospace

Falcon Falcons are the most fuel-efficient premium business jets in the world.

Dassault’s business model has no equivalent in the aerospace industry. It is of course underpinned by exports, which account for 75% of the company’s sales, on average. This business is equally important for national industry: some 500 French companies contribute to the Rafale program.

Rafales Égyptiens The Rafale’s dispatch reliability, versatility and operational effectiveness are decisive factors in its export success. This photo shows two Egyptian Rafales.

Inspiring the future

Véhicule suborbital lanceur de satellite vehra Vehra, a suborbital launch vehicle. For a number of years now, Dassault Aviation has studied advanced space vehicles calling on its aeronautical expertise.

Dassault has lived through just about all developments in the history of aviation. It has studied all aircraft configurations and built up a unique store of expertise, which means that Dassault understands and applies the strategic technologies needed to uphold its position among the global leaders in aerospace.

Dassault Aviation continuously invests in cutting-edge production facilities, with innovative solutions that enhance productivity on current programs and increase competitiveness on programs to come.

Dépose automatisée d’une nappe de tissu de carbone Automated layup of a carbon fabric on a Rafale wing, at the Biarritz plant.

Building on these solid foundations, Dassault Aviation has developed a singular corporate culture. The people who form the soul of the company are all proud to be part of an enterprise capable of imagining and building beautiful airplanes. With their eyes firmly focused on the future, they embody a dream shared by millions of people: to fly!

Collection de maquettes This collection of models at Dassault Aviation headquarters in the Paris suburb of Saint-Cloud symbolizes the company’s many successes and its long history, starting with the Éclair propeller.

But building the airplanes that enable us to live this dream also implies responsibilities. The future of our planet is not subject to negotiation. Dassault Aviation designs products that are increasingly respectful of our environment, from development all the way to end of life. The company applies a continuous improvement policy that will help make aviation even “greener” in the future.

To address the needs of upcoming generations, Dassault fully identifies with the upcoming challenges in air and space. The company’s long-term viability is built on its ability to renew its skills base against the backdrop of a world continually on the move, with increasingly complex products, structures and organizations. For example, Dassault is developing a far-reaching policy of teaming up with educational institutions.

Like a contrail high in the sky, the first century of aviation is fading away. But our dreams have not changed.
The story of Dassault is only beginning.

Your task in not to foresee the future, but to enable it. Saint-Exupéry
19161945
Foundations
19451975
The magic years
19752000
Shaping the future
2000...
The story continues