In 1962, Dassault designed a ballistic missile on behalf of the State of Israel, called the MD 620 Jericho.
Efforts to expand its lines of business led the company to look into the missiles its aircraft could carry and, on September 15, 1957, to open Missile department in Saint Cloud. In 1962, the French government approached Dassault to develop a ballistic missile on behalf of the State of Israel. That sparked work on the MD 620 Jéricho. The MD 620 needed to transport a warhead over 500 km.
The first shot of a single-stage missile took place on February 1, 1965, in the Mediterranean sea, from Levant Island. Tests on a dual-stage missile in March 1966 proved successful. The MD 620 was France’s first ballistic missile featuring an airborne digital computer.
This program was aborted in January 1969 following a full weapon embargo on Israel. However, thanks to it, Dassault Aviation and Dassault Electronics could count on experienced missile-specialized teams that understood the aerodynamic and thermodynamic phenomena associated to speeds of up to Mach 6, as well as missile steering and inertial guidance.