On this day, in 1977, the Falcon Guardian, the first aircraft to be equipped with two ATF-3 turbofans, flew in Mérignac, with Hervé Leprince-Ringuet at the controls.
In July 1971, the United States Coast Guard launched the HX-XX Medium Range Surveillance (MRS) programme to replace its Grumman HU-16E Albatross seaplane. The aircraft had to be capable of performing surveillance, search and rescue and environmental protection missions along the coastline and over maritime zones under its control.
With the Falcon 20 G, a version of the Falcon 20 F with Garrett ATF-3-6 turbofans in place of the original General Electric CF 700-2Ds, Dassault had a proposal capable of meeting the Coast Guard requirements.
On 5 January 1977, William T. Coleman, US Secretary of Transportation in the administration of President Gerald Ford, signed a contract for 41 Falcon 20 Gs ($204 million) under the designation HU-25 A (serials 2101 to 2141).
The aircraft was certificated by the French DGAC airworthiness authorities on 21 June 1981. Deliveries took place from February 1982 to December 1983.
The medium-range maritime surveillance model derived from the Falcon 20 G was designated HU-25 A Guardian. A total of 41 aircraft were completed in Little Rock. Seven aircraft were fitted with the “Aireye” system, designed to perform scientific and maritime environmental protection missions, particularly locating and monitoring oil spills.
The Guardian was particularly reputed for its reliability and comfort.