Dassault Aviation is one of the major players in the global civil and military aviation industry. A reasonably sized private international group, with a presence in more than 70 countries across 5 continents, Dassault Aviation has been profitable ever since its creation in 1936. Structured to adapt its production to market cycles, Dassault Aviation encompasses a rich industrial network of high-tech companies in France, Europe, the US and many countries worldwide. Through its engineering design departments, production facilities, the skills of its employees and its product lines, Dassault Aviation offers its customers in-depth know-how, ranging from design to operations, based on strong entrepreneurial values.
Dassault Aviation designs and manufactures Mirage and Rafale jet fighters for militaries, and it leads in the business aircraft market with its Falcon jets. Dassault Aviation is 100 percent privately owned. The French government transferred its 45.7% share to Aerospatiale in 1998. Half of the company is privately owned by the Dassault family. Dassault Aviation has been on the stock market for 28 years, but only four percent is owned by the public.
Mark A. Lorell at RAND noted in 1989 that "Beginning in the 1950s with the introduction of its Ouragan and Mystere fighters, and gaining momentum through the 1960s with the spectacular international marketing success of its highly respected Mirage III series aircraft, Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation steadily built a reputation as one of the Western world's most efficient and successful developers of first-line fighter-attack aircraft. While one after another of Europe's aerospace firms were succumbing to government imposed takeovers and mergers and were forced to seek international collaboration in response to static defense budgets and sky-rocketing development and procurement costs, Dassault remained defiantly-and profitably-independent. Indeed, by the 1970s Dassault remained the only developer of truly all-national world-class fighter- attack aircraft located outside the United States and the Soviet Union... In the eyes of many authoritative acquisition specialists, Dassault has traditionally represented and exhibited the best attributes of the strategy of early, austere pre-FSD airframe prototyping."
The company that became Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation [AMD-BA] was founded by Marcel-Ferdinand Bloch who was born in Alsace on January 22, 1892. As a schoolboy in Paris Bloch viewed his first airplane, built by the Wright Brothers, making a low pass over the city and then circling the Eiffel Tower. As a young man, still fascinated with aviation, Bloch attended the Ecole Supérieure de l'Aéronautique, France's first school for aeronautical engineering. He established a factory in a converted garage, and convinced his father-in-law to finance his small aeronautical business. During World War I Bloch developed a variable pitch propeller for the Spad fighter which gave French pilots the ability to outmaneuver their German adversaries. The Spad propeller made a great deal of money for Bloch who, after the war, went into housing construction.
Bloch began to manufacture airplanes again in the early 1930s when French military contracts were once more available. But the complexion of French politics changed abruptly in 1936 when the Socialist-Communist "Popular Front" government of Léon Blum came to power. On January 1, 1937 Bloch's aircraft factories were nationalized by the Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques de Sud-Ouest (S.N.C.A.S.O.), one of six state-controlled aeronautic factories. Bloch was retained as a civil servant and invested the compensation he received for his company in a variety of North American securities. After the Popular Front fell from power, Bloch founded a new aircraft company which later produced the highly successful Bloch 152 fighter.
Since 1945, Dassault has delivered more than 7,000 civil and military aircraft to 73 countries, logging some 15 million hours in flight to date. This vast experience has allowed Dassault Aviation to build up considerable expertise in the design, development, production, sale and support of all types of aircraft. Dassault Aviation has staked out a solid reputation as industrial architect for complex airborne systems. Several key assets underpin this global success : expertise in emerging technologies ; an in-depth understanding of the customer's technical, operational and financial requirements ; and a comprehensive systems approach to meet cost, deadline and performance goals.
Dassault Aviation is organized in multidisciplinary teams, a critical advantage in the management of complex programs. From design and development, to production and testing of airborne systems, Dassault Aviation deploys the full array of resources needed,covering both methods (concurrent engineering, risk management, early perception of finished products) and systems (numerical models, hybrid electronics integration center, anechoic chambers, dedicated flight test center control room, etc.).
Dassault Aviation is a subsidiary of the Dassault Group. Continuing its work as an innovative company, the Dassault Group has extended its activities over the last 50 years to new areas of technology, including industrial IT systems and communication. Since its creation in 1981, Dassault Systèmes has revolutionized the design and development of industrial products. 35 years ago, the company began to use 3D technology to design complex forms and create the first digital models. Today, Dassault Systèmes is anticipating on the industrial processes of the future, offering a 3D perspective on the entire lifecycle of a product, from its initial design to maintenance, via production and implementation.
Beyond Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Dassault Systèmes’ collaborative solutions make it possible to improve the real world through the use of virtual environments. Bernard Charlès, Dassault Systèmes Managing Director, summarizes the vision of the Group, constantly renewed for nearly a century. “We have evolved the V6 platform with our customers over the last few years. The addition of intelligent information search-based technologies, social innovation capabilities and realistic 3D virtual experiences made us ready to pioneer a new technological wave: a 3D EXPERIENCE Platform to serve the social enterprise of the 21st century. I am convinced that within this century, people will invent and innovate more than ever before. We must provide businesses and people with holistic 3D experiences to imagine sustainable innovations capable of harmonizing products, nature and life.”
The family-owned Dassault Group had in 2014 appointed Charles Edelstenne as eventual successor to Serge Dassault, saying at the time that the succession would be automatic. Edelstenne is currently CEO of the group.
The 90-year-old billionaire industrialist and French senator Serge Dassault faced court in July 2016 over allegations that he hid millions of euros in Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. Dassault, member of the center-right party Les Républicains, is CEO of the Dassault Group, which holds a majority stake in commercial and military aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. It also owns the popular right-wing newspaper Le Figaro.
French authorities raised suspicions about Dassault's assets as early as 2014. The country's High Authority for Transparency and Public Life, which monitors the income of elected officials, questioned "the exhaustivity, exactitude and sincerity" of his filings.
His accountant also reportedly claimed to investigators in 2014 that he had delivered 53 million euros ($59.6 billion) in plastic bags to Dassault over a stretch of years. That same year Dassault was charged with vote buying and other abuses of fiscal regulations while campaigning for the mayorship of the French suburb Corbeil-Essonnes, an office he had held since 1995. That case resulted in Dassault being stripped of the immunity accorded to French parliamentarians. Dassault has to date denied all charges.
French billionaire and politician Serge Dassault was fined two million euros on 02 February 2017 and banned from public office for five years for money-laundering and tax evasion. The senator and boss of Dassault Aviation and Le Figaro newspaper was found to have hidden over 40 million euros in foreign bank accounts but was not sent to jail because of his age.
Dassault could appeal against the sentence and so is unlikely to have to give up his seat in the French Senate, where he represented the mainstream right Republicans party whose presidential candidate, François Fillon, faced his own troubles, before the next election in 2017. At 91, he was the oldest member of the Senate and his age saved him from going to jail, even though the size of the fraud and the length of time it continued would have merited imprisonment in the judges' view.
Dassault’s legal team said, in his defence, he had inherited many of the financial tax structures at the centre of the case from his father, and had since rectified his situation with French tax authorities.
Serge Dassault, chairman and CEO of the parent company of iconic French business aircraft and fighter jet manufacturer Dassault Aviation, died 28 May 2018 after suffering heart failure at his office in Paris. He was 93. The son of company founder Marcel Dassault, he was for decades a leading figure in French aviation. Though he had long ago turned over leadership of Dassault Aviation to Charles Edelstenne, Serge Dassault continued to lead parent company Groupe Dassault
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|