Translated by BabelFish
Two spectacular actions carried out in 1982 during the
war of the Falklands were enough to carry the Super Etendard on the
front of the scene. Raising the marks of Argentinian naval
aeronautics and armed with air-to-surface missiles Aerospace Exocet,
apparatuses of this type managed to run in frozen water of the South
Atlantic two British warships. Other Super Etendard, but
bearing, these, the badges of the Iraqi air force, sent by the bottom,
in the Persian Gulf, several tankers charged with Iranian oil.
As its denomination implies it, the Super Etendard finds its
origins in the Etendard of the Fifties.
Such as it was conceived, the Etendard of origin was an apparatus based with ground intended to answer specifications of the French Air Force and NATO concerning a light plane of attack. Indicated Mystery XXII, the basic model was propelled by two turbojets Turboméca Gabizo. As for the version intended for NATO, it accepted the denomination of Mystery XXVI and was equipped with a Orpheus Bristol-board-Siddeley. To these machines, become respectively Etendard II and Etendard VI are added soon a Etendard IV (Mystery XXIV at the beginning) built on the private funds of the firm Dassault and whose first flight took place on July 24, 1956, with a turbojet SNECMA Atar. The Air Force being satisfied of these apparatuses and NATO having selected in the final analysis the FIAT G-91, Etendard IV was saved only because the Naval Aviation decided to make its next plane of attack of it embarked.
Equipped with a stick of landing and hooks with catapult-launching, Etendard IVM was presented in the form of an entirely metal apparatus of construction and semi-monocoque structure. The drawing of its fuselage answered the law of the surfaces, and the aerofoil, carried out around a box bilongeron, comprised working coatings equipped with internal stiffeners. In front of the shutters were perforated spoilers, and the ailerons, actuated by servos, were provided with an artificial feel unit of the efforts exerted on the handle with brush. Movable slats occupied all the length of the leading edge on the fixed part of the wing. The two air-brakes whose this plane was provided had been established under the central part of the fuselage.
The seven machines of development produced initially by the French manufacturer succeeded, between 1961 and 1962, 69 Etendard IVM and 21 Etendard IVP. Today, some Etendard IVM remain in service within the flotilla of constraint 59S, based in Hyères, where they are employed for the drive with the operations led since terrestrial platforms. The Etendard IVP, whose secondary mission consists in carrying out in-flight refueling with a device carried out by Douglas, steals with the embarked flotilla 16 more F, whose base of fastener is Landivisiau.
When the moment to consider the replacement in the long term Etendard came, the Franco-British SEPECAT Jaguar seemed the most logical solution. Put in competition with McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, the LTV A-7 Crusader and a naval version of Dassault F1 Mirage, the Jaguar M (Navy) progressed until the testing stage on aircraft carrier. For political reasons, the French government however decided not to order this apparatus. Instead of that, it took the resolution to subsidize the development of a sophisticated Etendard IVM, the Super Etendard. Much less expensive than its rivals, this one was to call upon the origin with many elements of its predecessor and was selected like successor with Etendard IVM in January 1973.
Plane of attack embarked
The modifications made to the preliminary draft were so important that the Super Etendard in service at the present time has nothing any more but some common points with Etendard IVM. Existing only in single-seat version, this aircraft is optimized for the missions of air-to-surface attack but can also carry out aerial combats. One of the principal characteristics of the Super Etendard and its new aerofoil, equipped with shutters with double slit and nozzles of tilted leading edges. Gone up in median position, it shows an arrow of 45° and its relative thickness varies from 6 to 5 % between the root and the end. It is made of two covered boxes of panels machined with stiffeners and is folded up to the top, allowing a reduction of the scale of 1,80 m.
The ailerons are actuated by hydraulic controls developped at the point by Dassault and the leading edge of the wings presents a setback integrated in the fixed part. As for the shutters with double slit, they have a race more important than those of Etendard IVM. All the efforts of the French engineers were directed towards the need for preserving at the Super Etendard a handiness being equivalent to that of the Etendard IVM, and this in spite of its higher weight. When it is catapulted, the Super Etendard reaches a mass of almost 12 000 kg, that is to say 1100 kg more than its predecessor. With the landing, the addition of weight is 300 kg, that is to say a total mass of 8100 kg. The bearing pressure of the aerofoil is of a capital interest for the embarked planes. The fact that, for a constant mass of 7800 kg, the speed of approach to the landing is of 250 km/h, whereas that of the Super Etendard at this time criticizes is only of 230 km/h, can give an idea of the way traversed in this field.
Of semi-monocoque steel construction, the fuselage of the Super Etendard answers the law of the surfaces. The pilot replaces on an ejector seat Martin Baker SEMMB CM4A installed in an armoured and pressurized cockpit. He has a three-wheeled landing gear Messier-Hispano equipped with tires with low pressure, characteristic unusual enough for an embarked plane. The undercarriage is equipped with shock absorbers with long race and the pilot can use a brake chute installed in a careenage on the drift for the landings.
The good performances posted by the Super Etendard return partly to 500 kg of push additional which confers to him compared to the Etendard its turbojet SNECMA Atar 8K50. It is acted in fact of an engine comparable with the 9K50 assembled on the F1 Mirage but protected from corrosion and equipped with an increased conduit and not with a channel with afterburning. Less greedy while carburizing than the engine of Etendard IVM, Atar 8K50 offers to the Super Etendard an operating range higher than that of its predecessor. The autonomy of the plane can be increased by the use of releasable tanks under aerofoil. Armed with a missile AM39 Exocet and equipped with a tank under aerofoil with 1100 L as well as one with 600 L under fuselage, the Super Etendard can operate with nearly 900 km of its base. For this operating range, it is advisable to add the range of Exocet, about 60 to 70 km, and the possibility of an in-flight refueling.
The Super Etendard of the French Naval Aviation can carry a nuclear bomb tactical AN-52 of 15 kt, the classic armament being composed of two guns DEFA 552 installed under the air intake and supplied at a rate of 125 blows each one. The four pilônes under aerofoil and the pylon under fuselage can receive very varied loads. For a mission of attack, the Super Etendard is equipped with four rocket launchers LR 150 with 18 rockets of 68 mm each one, of six bombs of 250 kg or four bombs of 400 kg. For the operations of defense of the fleet, the carried armament is composed of missiles Matra R550 Magic with infra-red guidance on each pylon external of aerofoil and a tank of 600 L under fuselage. In condition of being equipped with two additional tanks of 1100 L under aerofoil, the Super Etendard is able to operate to 1200 km on mission of interception.
For each mission in sight of which it was conceived, the French embarked plane has a radar Thomson-CSF/ESD Agave in band I installed in the nose. Optimized for the air and sea fight, this radar is able to detect a ship located at 110 km when it works in mode of air-to-surface research, or a plane flying to 30 km in air-to-air mode. The other possibilities of this equipment are the continuation or telemetry in air-to-surface combat, the cartography or the illumination of objectives at the time of attacks by means of Exocet. Supplementing the Sisal plant, the system of navigation and attack Sagem-Kearfott ETNA is a help with invaluable navigation for the long flights above the ocean and comprises in particular an inertial platform SKS 602. In addition to a collimator high head Thomson-CSF VE120, the Super Etendard comprises a display system Crouzet 97 intended for navigation, a control panel of armaments, a case of selection, a calculator of data of flights Crouzet 66, an altimeter radio operator TRT and a TACAN LMT. Programmed by laser before takeoff starting from data provided by the aircraft carrier, the system of ETNA navigation appears of a very high degree of accuracy. Since 1988, the Super Etendard can carry the nuclear missile to inertial guidance ASMP of 150 kt. Of a range of 100 km, this machine is installed on the pylon of external aerofoil right, the side balancing of the plane being ensured by a fuel tank of 1100 L placed under the left wing. To divert defenses of the adversary, the Super Etendard armed with ASMP are equipped with an ejector with spangles Philips-Matra Phimat and with an ejector with thermal lures Matra Sycomor. The apparatus can also have a tank under fuselage of 600 L which increase its insuperable distance on mission hi-lo-hi to 850 km. On the whole, 53 Super Etendard were modified in order to receive the ASMP.
A long career
The development of the Super Etendard was accelerated by the transformation of three Etendards IVM. The first of them accomplished its initial flight with its aerofoil of origin, October 28, 1974. The second, although identical to the precedent, had a complete system of navigation and attack, and the third comprised the fuselage of a Etendard IVM and the wings of the new plane. At the end of the initial output tests, the aerofoil was dismounted and installed on the first prototype of the Super Etendard, which took the air on October 3, 1975. Two years later, November 24, 1977, the first of the 71 specimens of series intended for the Naval Aviation flew above the Dassault factory of Bordeaux. The deliveries began in June 1978 and the first unit to be taken into account the embarked apparatus was flotilla 11 F, September 4 of the same year. As for the first cruising at sea, it occurred two months later, December 4. Because of a certain increase in costs, the program of 100 planes envisaged in the beginning could not be respected, so that the two other flotillas only could be formed (14 F and 17 F). The national Navy had to preserve a unit of Etendard IVP is one of its two flotillas (12 F) of LTV F-8E(FN) Crusader.
The Super Etendard operates regularly starting from the aircraft carriers of 23 700 T Foch and Clemenceau. During a stay along the Lebanese littoral, in support of the force of international interposition, four planes of this type attacked successfully of the artillery Druses positions on September 22, 1983. Such an event is however not very important compared to the operations which had carried out, one year before, during the war of the Falklands, the 2a Escuadrilla Aeronaval de Caza y Ataque of Argentinian naval aeronautics.
Component of the 3a Escuadra Aeronaval, based in Puerto Belgrano, this formation had received, before the conflict does not begin, five of the 14 Super Etendard of its normal equipment and five Exocet missiles. Operating from Rio Large, these apparatuses damaged seriously British frigate HMS Sheffield on May 4, 1982 and the container ships MV Atlantic Conveyor the 25 of the same month (two missiles were drawn with each one of these occasions). Fifth Exocet was released without result five days later and the 2a Escuadrilla did not take any more share with the engagements. It was only at the end of 1982 that France took again its deliveries of missiles and planes, and the first of these new machines carried out a bridging on the Veinticinco aircraft carrier of Mayo on April 18, 1983.
Having no aircraft carrier, Iraq did not use of it less Super Etendard: in 1983, the French Navy delivered to him two of its planes with an important stock of Exocet missiles. Officially rented for two years, its planes arrived on the Iraqi territory in October 1983, after their pilots had been trained in France. They were mainly employed for touching or running tankers charged with Iranian crude in the Persian Gulf, in order to ruin the economy of Iran. These operations, which worried the international opinion highly, fitted in the all-out war which the two countries concerned had decided to deliver. Some results having been obtained with from Exocet released since of the Super Frelon, the Super Etendard continued to maintain the pressure until the appearance of F1 mirage equipped with machine with this type.
The first intervention of this kind which Iraq recognizes took place on March 27, 1984 and caused important damage with a Greek tanker. The Super Etendard played then a part determining in the 51 attacks launched against tankers in the Persian Gulf, in 1984. The majority of the ships reached managed to escape, the crude oil which they contained not igniting when the missile exploded. When the F1 Mirage were engaged in these missions, in February 1985, the Super Etendard prepared to regain France (one of them had been destroyed quite different to damage by an air-to-air missile Sidewinder).
A very small number of current planes were used as many times at the combat the Super Etendard. In spite of certain deficiencies, the successor of the Etendard constitutes a fighter embarked of very great quality.