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Super-Etendard (SUE)

"Etendard" means "Standard", in the sense of a battle flag. The Super Etendard is a carrier-based single-seat strike fighter first introduced into service in 1978. The naval single-seater combat aircraft, Dassault Super-Etendard, is a modernized version of the Etendard IV M. Main modifications include updating of the weapons system through the installation (a first for a French production aircraft) of a modern navigation and combat management system. The aircraft prototype made its maiden flight 28 October 1974 at Istres (the Bouches-du-Rhône region of France).

The French Navy commissioned the plane for the first time in 1977 and 71 aircraft were in service on the aircraft carriers Foch and Clemenceau. This plane, armed with Exocet missiles and flown by Argentinian pilots (14 aircraft), proved its combat effectiveness during the Malvinas [Falklands] war with Britain in 1982.

With the aircraft carriers "Foch" and "Clémenceau", the Super-Etendard took part in various operations led by France: Olifant in 1983 and 1984 (civil war in Lebanon), Prométhée in 1988 (Iran-Iraq war), Capselle In 1989 (Lebanon), Iraq in 1991 (Iraq), Osprey and Salamander (former Yugoslavia) from 1993 to 1995, Trident (Kosovo) in 1998-1999. Afterwards, it was from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle that the SEM pursued its brilliant career: Héraclès and Agapanthe (Afghanistan) from 2001 to 2010 or Harmattan (Libya) in 2011. On these various theaters, the plane acquired its nickname of "Swiss Army Knife": an aircraft capable of completing all missions, but only one at a time.

The Super-Etendard is an airplane capable of performing various missions: assault against the ground, assault on the sea, fire support of ground troops and air interception, nuclear deterrence, reconnaissance. The Super- Etendard is often affectionately described as the "Swiss Naval Aviation Knife": capable of conducting various missions, but only one at a time. The Rafale M is qualified as opposed to "Multirôle", since it is able to implement several of its capacities simultaneously.

The pre-fhght alignment of the mertial navigation instruments on board Super-Etendard aircraft poses special problems due to the motions of the aircraft carriers from which the Super-Etendard craft are launched. Determination of the true vertical and the north orientation are performed with an advanced alignment method termed ALIDADE, which involved a hybrid mertia/Omega/sillometer aircraft carrier reference system, an infrared link to transmit reference information to the aircraft on deck, and sea alignment systems on board the aircraft. The ALIDADE method became ooerational in the 1980s.

In July 1979 the Argentine junta ordered 14 Super-Etendard to equip the 2nd Aeronaval Escuadra of Puerto Belgrano brought to operate on the aircraft carrier 25 of Mayo being recast for the occasion. The planes were at the national navy standard. The Argentinian pilots acquired a very solid experience on Skyhawk in the 2nd Aeronaval Squadron. They represented the cream of the Argentine Navy and prove it in May 1982 during the Falklands war. While the Skyhawks and the Argentine navy’s four Super Etendards were capable of air refueling, the Daggers and the Mirages were not. Even using two 550-gallon drop tanks to carry extra fuel, the Daggers and Mirages were flying at the absolute limit of their range to reach the British fleet.

The Etendards were significant because they were configured to carry the state-of-the-art Exocet antiship missile.17 The radar-guided Exocet, a large missile that carried a 950-pound warhead, could be fired at nearly 25 NM. It would streak along just above the wave tops at almost Mach 1, and once it acquired its target, it was very difficult to shoot down. If it struck its target, the result was likely to be devastating. The pilots of the 2d Escuadrilla, trained in France in 1980–81, were fully qualified with the aircraft. However, at the time the conflict in the Falklands began, only five of the Super Etendards and five Exocet missiles had been delivered from France. Without the technical help and collusion from the government of France—Britain’s NATO “ally”—it is improbable that Argentina would have been able to employ its most devastating weapon.

SUE 202 and 203 attacked the British ship HMS Sheffield; 203 and 204 were involved in the destruction of the vessel MV Atlantic Conveyor. The Exocet missile that hit the SHEFFIELD was apparently launched from an Argentine French-built Super Etendard fighter-bomber from a point outside 20 miles. The Super Etendard is designed as a carrier based aircraft with an estimated operating range of 400 NM. The aircraft has in-flight refueling capability and can be refueled from a tanker-configured A–4 as well as the KC–135. Fourteen of these aircraft were ordered by Argentina from France in late 1979.

The Super Etendard might never have been born. The Navy contacted American manufacturers (McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk II ) and tested the Franco-British Jaguar (prototype version of the Jaguar Marine exhibited at the Rochefort Museum). But the desire to equip the naval aeronautics of a plane of entirely French construction finally prevails. On January 19, 1973, Michel Debré, then Minister of State for National Defense, made the decision to make Super-Etendard the Navy's multi-purpose weapon to replace the Etendard IV , Crusader and Alizé. It was on November 25, 1977 that the Super Etendard seeded for the first time in Bordeaux-Mérignac. On Friday 28 June, the first delivery to the French Navy took place.

In 1974 Jacques Jesberger took off at the controls of a seriously rejuvenated airplane: a new SNECMA Atar 8K50 reactor, without post-combustion, derived from the 9K50 of the Mirage F1, which has a 500kg top thrust (total thrust of 4800kg) Improves climb performance and room for maneuver. Increased external load carrying. And a system of weapons and navigation revalorized. During this first exit, the Super-Etendard climbed to 13,400 meters and reached Mach 1.18 in a slight dive. The first Super-Etendard 01 which flew October 28, 1974, is actually the Etendard IVM number 68 modified "Super-Etendard."

Dassault split production between its various factories and several subcontractors. For example, the Biarritz plant manufactures the front part of the fuselage, the pilot bucket and the vertical empennage. Toulouse Colomiers is responsible for the rear of the fuselage and the section between the pilot bucket and the The Boulogne plant provides the half-wing, the Argenteuil plant, the central wing box, the lier box, the horizontal empennage, Hurel-Dubois (Vélizy) produces the central section of the fuselage. Fuselage, SILAT (Latécoère), air intakes and Reims Aviation provides various elements such as landing gear traps and air brakes. All these elements then converge towards Bordeaux-Mérignac where the rear part of the fuselage is manufactured, The chassis-guns and where the final assembly is made. All Super- Etendards were built between 1978 and 1981.

The year 1974 marked the first edition of the festival of the comic strip of Angouleme. In the year of the Super- Etendard's birth , the Abba group won Eurovision with its Waterloo. At the same time, Volkswagen launches the Golf and Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is elected President of the French Republic. In 1974, India became the 6th nation to have the atomic bomb, and breaks out the Watergate scandal in the United States. Not enough to destabilize Björn Borg, who became the youngest player to win Roland Garros at the age of 18.

In July 1975, after the training on the simulated track-side landing (ASSP) of the four pilots (Jacques Jesberger and Pierre Varaut for Dassault, CC Jean-Pierre Robillard, brand officer and LV Maurice Argouse for the Flight Test Center ), the first tests of landing and catapulting of prototypes 01 and 03 took place aboard the Clémenceau. The first aircraft to be landing is the 01, piloted by Pierre Varaut. No fewer than 9 test campaigns were carried out on board the Clémenceau and the Foch between 30 June 1975 and 8 July 1982.

Beginning in 1978, the Super-Étendard replaced the Étendard IVM within the airborne group of aircraft carriers Clémenceau and Foch. Apart from the second Argentinian squadron, the Super-Etendards armed Flotilla 11F (1978 to 2011), 14F (1979 to 1991) and 17F (since 1980), and the 59S squadron (1991-1997) Training of fighter pilots).

The first operational fleet was the 11F in Landivisiau on September 4, 1978. Then came the "Pirates" on 14 F. The flotilla 14F abandoned its Crusader to be declared operational on Super-Étendard (SUE) on 1 June 1979, still in Landivisiau. Finally, the 17F of Hyères was declared operational on September 5, 1980. The operational transformation squadron 59S also released its Étendard IVMs to pass on SUE in 1991. From then on the Navy had about 45 SUE on line in three operational fleets, plus a so-called squadron of servitude.

Dassault-Aviation delivered one airplane per month and on November 24, 1978, Super-Étendard took part in their first test campaign on the Foch. The arrival of the Super-Etendard meant for the two aircraft carriers an overhaul on the modernization of electronic countermeasure equipment, workshops, ammunition bunkers (storage of Exocet and AN 52).

The first embarkation of the Super- Etendard took place on the Foch from 4 to 8 December 1978, essentially to qualify ten pilots to the day-landing. The novelty was to use the viewfinder instead of the mirror and a decking chart was painted on deck consisting of two white cross bars.

In January 1980, CF Argouse, Pacha of the 11F, and his second, the CC Feuilloy carried out the first night landing of Super-Etendard. On 17 April 1980, Super-Etendard No. 36 of the 14.F crashed. On the 25th of July of the same year, the Super-Etendard n°21 was damaged. The series of accidents continues, with the crash of Super-Etendard n ° 36, on June 16, 1982. Finally, on February 16, 1983, the Super-Étendard n ° 22 of the 14.F was damaged during a landing at night with fire on the deck of the carrier Foch. The pilot, PM Grossetête of the 11F were safe.

In February 1983, to become familiar with the Mirage F1 EQ5 complex weapon system it had just ordered, the Iraqi Air Force asked for Super-Etendards on loan. In May 1983, five aircraft were taken from the Navy's stock and shipped to Iraq (65 to 69). Only four returned home, one of them (67) having been shot down in flight on 2 April 1984 by an Iranian F-4E.

On January 20, 1987, a Super-Étendard of the 14.F realized the 100,000th landing on the Clemenceau. On 11 May 2004, Charles de Gaulle recorded the 10,000th landing on board. On 27 November 2010, the aircraft carrier experienced its 24,000th landing. It was again a modernized Super-Etendard that had the honor of crossing this threshold.

On May 4, 2005, the carrier group formed around the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle departed Toulon's military port for a two-month mission in the Atlantic and the English Channel. During this deployment, interactions between carrier groups were planned with the US Navy in continuity with the exercises and operations carried out in recent years. Training was also being conducted with the Canadian Navy, which deployed a significant number of vessels and aircraft. Stops were scheduled in the United States, Norfolk from May 27 to June 1 for aircraft carriers and submarines, and New York May 27 to June 2 for other vessels. The group then travelled to Canada for a stopover on June 8-13 in Halifax. On 2 June, Nine Super-Etendard and one E-2C Hawkeye were baffled due to weather conditions that prevent them from joining the carrier. Constrained to divert to land, the French aircraft issued an emergency call but were denied permission to land at the Maguire military base in New Jersey. They eventually get permission to land on the Atlantic City Civil Airport, to the delight of the local population and media. A team of mechanics was then dispatched from Charles de Gaulle aboard a Puma helicopter of the Army, to proceed with their re-route.





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