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Dassault Aviation Dassault 1945-1965 - Exports

From 1945 to 1960, various international conflicts and the tensions between the Eastern and Western blocks brought about new developments in the aviation sector. It was during this period that Dassault came to the forefront on a world-wide level. The combat aircraft had become an instrument of foreign policy.

The cold war made its mark on the international context and characterized the world aviation industry:

  • the all-powerful United States industry;
  • the British industry, still taking advantage of its industrial ability, arising out of the war, to carry out satisfactory programs;
  • the European industry (excluding the United Kingdom), unable to meet civil and military needs, and France being the only place in which a serious revival was beginning to take shape.

The combat aircraft had become an instrument of foreign policy. During the 1950s, a number of relatively developed countries, notably including India and Israel, wanted to break free from the control of the great powers, and found in France a new style of relations, directed more at assisting their own development.

In December 1958, general de Gaulle was elected as President of the Republic after enacting the constitution of the 5th Republic in October. French combat aircraft programs formed part of his national independence policy. Export had by now become one of Dassault's main lines of business.

From the 1950s to the end of the 1970s, the company expanded mainly through exports, as follows:

  • the average export percentage over the first 15 years (1952-1977) was 58%;
  • this percentage increased to 66% (1972-1977) over the last five years;
  • the average over the period 1976-1977 even exceeded 75%.

The Mirage III, Mirage F-1 and Mystre-Falcon aircraft were all export successes. The company never began building an aircraft that had not been ordered, just to meet the demands of its customers more rapidly. On the other hand, it would anticipate long cycle procurement orders and began building the ordered aircraft at a rate faster than needed to meet contractual deadlines. This would allow it to shift manufacturing, as and when needed, onto export aircraft. This method received the approval of partners (Snecma et Thomson) which would begin their manufacturing on the lines of the company's schedule.

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