On this day, in 1957, the Étendard VI made its first flight at Melun-Villaroche, piloted by Gérard Muselli.
The Mystère XXVI, renamed Étendard VI, spun off the Étendard IV. This single-seater single-engine aircraft was designed especially for ground strikes, and to meet NATO competition targets. NATO awarded a contract to build three prototypes on November 2, 1955. Two of them were finally built.
The first Étendard VI flew on March 15, 1957, out of Melun Villaroche. The second did so on September 14. Gérard Muselli flew them both. Deputy flight test director Jean Robert and test engineer Bernard Sigaud monitored the aircraft.
NATO’s competition was the Dassault team’s first opportunity to work under an international technical committee. The competition took place in Brétigny, from September 16 to October 5, 1957. Dassault pitched the Étendard IV and VI.
Political reasons then cut the Orpheus-powered Étendard VI out of the race for the contract which finally went to the Fiat G 91.