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Dassault Aviation Dassault 1965-1986 - Reorganization

Having seen off all the competition from state-owned companies, the Dassault company had become the Air force's main supplier. Dassault's presence in the combat aircraft field came about as a result of both the quality of the aircraft on offer and produced, and a government choice. On October 18, 1965, Pierre Messmer, the minister for the Armed services, notified Sud-Aviation's chairman that his company was to continue to specialize in the field of transport aircraft, helicopters and missiles, adding that it would be damaging to national interests for military aircraft design offices to be set up or developed while the work load of the most active companies in this sector was not guaranteed. In 1966, the Armed forces ministry, in a concern for industrial rationalization, wanted to continue to specialize companies. Nord Aviation was to devote itself to ballistic missiles, Sud-Aviation to business concerning civil and military transport aircraft and helicopters, and Dassault was to concentrate on combat aircraft and business aircraft.

The Government, worried about the development of the Jaguar program, asked Marcel Dassault to buy back Breguet Aviation. On June 27, 1967, the Société des Avions Marcel Dassault company acquired a 66% share in Breguet Aviation's capital held by Sylvain Floirat and the Penhoet company. On the same day, Breguet Aviation's Board of Directors appointed Benno Claude Vallières as its chairman. A merger deal involving Breguet Aviation taking over the net assets of the Société des Avions Marcel Dassault company was signed on July 21, 1971.

The merging and dissolving of the Société des Avions Marcel Dassault company was finalized on December 14, 1971 (with a retroactive effect dating back to January 1, 1971) as a result of the resolutions adopted by Breguet Aviation's extraordinary general Assembly which approved the merger project, the increase in capital and the resulting statutory modifications. Breguet Aviation's extraordinary general Assembly also decided to change the company's corporate name to Avions Marcel Dassault - Breguet Aviation (AMD-BA). Following Marcel Dassault's death on April 17, 1986, AMD-BA's Board of Directors appointed Serge Dassault as the new chairman on October 29 of the same year.

From the mid 1960s onwards, the State encouraged a general concentration process in order to promote companies able to rival their international competitors. In the airframes field, two companies were still be business at the time: Société nationale industrielle Aérospatiale (SNIAS) and Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation (AMD-BA). As a result of the government directives of the minister of the Armed forces, Pierre Messmer, they became specialized in 1965: Aérospatiale in civil aviation, helicopters, missiles and satellites, and Dassault-Breguet in combat aircraft and business aviation.

In view of these considerations, the Prime Minister, Raymond Barre, announced the State's decision to acquire a minority share (20 %) in AMD-BA's capital, at the 1977 Bourget air show. Two years after the Bourget air show announcement, a decree set up the Société de gestion de participations aéronautiques (SOGEPA) company. As a Société anonyme, it's role was to manage the shares allotted to it by the State in Société nationale industrielle Aérospatiale's capital and in AMD-BA's capital. SOGEPA has a 20% share in Dassault-Breguet's capital and a 25% share in Aérospatiale's capital in which the State kept a direct 75% share.

As the nationalization of AMD-BA was one of the first measures envisaged in the parties of the left's joint Program, François Mitterrand's election as President of the Republic on May 10, 1981, brought about its implementation. Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed on October 8, 1981, Société Centrale d'Études Marcel Dassault (SCEMD) transferred 26% of the shares it held in AMD-BA's capital, to the State free of charge.

As the company's main customer, by way of national defense, the French State was omnipresent as its role was to:

  • define the missions to be carried out by the military aircraft it ordered and thus their main technical features;
  • finance part of development design studies;
  • control the hourly rate used as a basis for billing.
For export sales, the State acted as an essential go-between in relations with foreign countries. CIEEMG (Commission interministérielle d'études des exportations des matériels de guerre), placed under the Prime Minister's direct authority, allowed it to supervise and authorize the Company's relations with foreign buyers of military aircraft.

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