Dassault Aviation

Dassault Aviation

The Dassault Aviation Group is a French aircraft manufacturer founded in 1929 by Marcel Bloch and remains the last aviation group in the world owned by the family of its founder and bearing his name.

It is a multinational company that employs 12,371 people, including 9,700 in France with a fleet of more than 2,100 Falcon business jets in service and more than 1,000 combat aircraft in service in 90 countries.

General Information
Name Dassault Aviation
Key dates 1929: creation of the Société des avions Marcel Bloch
1936: nationalization then the creation of the SA des avions Marcel Bloch (SAAMB)
1990: Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation (AMD-BA) becomes Dassault Aviation
Creation date 1971: Dassault absorbs Breguet Aviation
Founder Marcel Dassault
Legal form Public limited company
Stock Euronext: AM
Slogan Higher Together
Headquarters location Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine)
CEO name Eric Trappier (since 2013)
Activity Aeronautics,
Parent company Dassault Group
Workforce 12 371 (2021)
SIREN 712042456
Website dassault-aviation.com
Turnover €7,200 billion (2021)
Net profit €693 million (2021)

Export accounts for 88% of turnover in 2021.

Its activities, covering upstream (design and development) and downstream (sales and support) are organized around:

  • aeronautics with the creation of a hundred prototypes and the sale of more than 10,000 aircraft since 1945, mainly business jets which represent 30% of activity in 2019 (Falcon) and also military aircraft (Mirage 2000, Rafale);
  • space activities (space vehicle studies, ground telemetry systems and pyrotechnic activities);
  • services (Dassault Procurement Services, Dassault Falcon Jet and Dassault Falcon Service);
  • products and services to aerospace and defense systems (Sogitec Industries).

In the main export business of high-end jet business jets, Dassault Aviation held a market share of 29% in 2012, ranking third in the world behind Canada’s Bombardier and the American Gulfstream Aerospace (a subsidiary of General Dynamics).

Since January 9, 2013, the Dassault Aviation Group has been managed by Éric Trappier. At the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on May 16, 2019, his mandate as Chairman of the company was renewed for four years with directors Charles Edelstenne and Olivier Dassault. Loïk Segalen is confirmed as Deputy Chief Executive Officer.

History of Dassault

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, at the origin of aviation, Dassault Aviation began in the aeronautical world, by designing, producing and producing aircraft. The company has diversified starting with the Hélice Éclair of 1916 arriving at the Falcon 8X in 2015, more than one hundred prototypes have been studied by Dassault Aeronautics.

1918-1945: the origins of Dassault Aviation

Marcel Bloch - around 1914
Marcel Bloch – around 1914

During the First World War, Marcel Bloch, who took the name Marcel Dassault in 1949, formed a team and created the Société d’études aéronautiques (SEA) in 1918. The latter studied and built a two-seater fighter called SEA IV which was ordered 300 copies by the French army.

After an interlude during the 1920s, a new team was formed in 1930 and successively produced a whole series of aircraft ranging from the MB.60 all-metal postal trimotor to the MB.210 heavy bomber via the MB.160 four-engined transport and the MB.152 single-seat fighter.

In 1935, the company, which had social protection, work organization and a pay scale ahead of the rest of industry, granted a week’s paid leave to its workers.

Following the nationalization of the aeronautical companies in 1936 (see Popular Front), the factories of the Marcel Bloch aircraft company, created in 1928, were integrated into the Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du sud-ouest (SNCASO).

Freely disposing of his design office, Marcel Bloch created, on December 12, 1936, the “Société Anonyme des Avions Marcel Bloch (SAAMB)” by pooling its resources in order to design and produce prototypes that will be manufactured by the nationalized companies. But independence does not last. On 17 February 1937, the Air Ministry integrated the design office into SNCASO.

Marcel Bloch, no longer able to build aircraft, then embarked on the manufacture of engines and propellers and built a factory in Saint-Cloud in 1938, another in Thiers and founded Bordeaux-Aéronautique, October 17, 1939.

1945-1986: Industrial Expansion

The Second World War, led to the refusal to collaborate with the invader, the internment and deportation to Buchenwald on August 17, 1944, of Marcel Bloch, the dispersion of his collaborators.

Until mid-1944, the best reconnaissance aircraft in service during the Second World War, the Fw 189 was produced in large quantities, at the Focke-Wulf factory in Bremen and the factory in Bordeaux-Mérignac, in occupied France.

Upon his return in April 1945, Marcel Bloch joined the factories of Saint-Cloud, Boulogne and Talence into the SAAMB. On November 10, 1945, the shareholders adapted it to its new operation by transforming it into a limited liability company called “Société des Avions Marcel Bloch”. He created subsidiaries to facilitate the management of the company: on December 1945, the Saint-Cloud plant became the “Société des Moteurs et Hélices Marcel Bloch” which was renamed on December 12, 1945, “Saint-Cloud Avions Marcel Bloch”. On the same day, Boulogne Avions Marcel Bloch was formed in Boulogne-Billancourt and Talence Avions Marcel Bloch in Talence.

Bordeaux-Aéronautique was dissolved on 21 May 1947; the company resumed its activity and quickly designed, in 1947, for the French Air Force, a twin-engine transport and linker, the MD 315 Flamant, based on the plans of the Ba 30.

Marcel Bloch changed his name to Marcel Dassault, this surname having been, during the war, the pseudonym of his brother Paul, one of the leaders of the Resistance. The “Société des Avions Marcel Bloch” became the “Société des Avions Marcel Dassault” on 20 December 1947.

On 9 May 1949, the Board of Directors of the “Société Talence Avions Marcel Dassault” decided, to prevent a possible closure of the Talence factory located in the city, to open a factory on the Mérignac aerodrome for the assembly and flight tests of the Flamant. Indeed, this is the will of the Air Ministry at the time. At the same time, “Talence Avions Marcel Dassault” became “Mérignac Avions Marcel Dassault”.

On 22 February 1950, Colonel Auguste Le Révérend was appointed Managing Director of the three subsidiaries, because Marcel Dassault wanted to stand in the legislative elections. He retains the technical and industrial management as a consulting engineer.

It was jet aviation, in 1951, that enabled Dassault to make the first exports (India, Israel) of the post-war French aeronautical industry. Indeed, on its own initiative, Dassault embarked on the study of the MD-450 Ouragan, which was the first mass-produced jet aircraft of French design, marking an important milestone in the history of French national aeronautics.

Directly derived from the Ouragan, the Mystère II was the first French aircraft to break the sound barrier and the MD 454 Mystère IV confirmed Dassault’s success when the United States ordered 225 aircraft as part of a NATO agreement. Aircraft from this lineage, the Étendard IV M and its successor, the Dassault Super-Étendard will later equip (in 1962 and 1978) the French aircraft carriers Clemenceau and Foch, as well as the Argentine Navy.

Continuing his policy of creating subsidiaries corresponding to their geographical location, he created the “Société Villaroche base aérienne Marcel Dassault”. Its management was entrusted to Auguste le Révérend and the direction to Pierre Robert. It manufactures aircraft components but above all carries out the development of prototypes on behalf of “Saint-Cloud Avions Marcel Dassault”.

On June 27, 1952, the Board of Directors of the “Société Villaroche base aérienne Marcel Dassault” decided to merge with “Saint-Cloud Avions Marcel Dassault”.

The Société des Avions Marcel Dassault specializes. In 1953, the Reactor Department was created. The following year, the Electronics Department moved to Argenteuil.

On February 10, 1954, Bention Grebelsky, who had just changed his name to Benno Claude Vallières (his war name), was appointed second manager of Saint-Cloud Avions Marcel Dassault.

In accordance with government directives encouraging the consolidation of companies, Marcel Dassault decided to concentrate all its aviation companies into one: Saint-Cloud Avions Marcel Dassault. On 24 June 1955, he notified the Management Committee that Benno Claude Vallières would in the future be the manager of all Marcel Dassault, Airframe, Engine and Electronics aeronautical activities.

On 1 January 1956, Générale aéronautique Marcel Dassault (GAMD), whose management was entrusted to Benno Claude Vallières, was created by bringing together the three companies Mérignac Avions Marcel Dassault, Boulogne Avions Marcel Dassault and Saint-Cloud Avions Marcel Dassault.

The first flight of the prototype MD 550-01 took place on June 25, 1955, starting the Mirage III program which marked the transition to Mach 2 and a further increase in export by establishing the Mirage family of aircraft.

In 1957, the Machinery Department was created for the study of air-to-ground and ground-to-ground machines.

Sud-Aviation’s cooperation with Générale aéronautique Marcel Dassault (GAMD), which had begun previously, continued in the 1960s for civil aircraft (Super-Caravelle, Mystère 20 and Mercure) and military aircraft (Balzac, Mirage III V, Spirale). It is repeated with the Concorde, with the British Aircraft Corporation and Sud-Aviation.

The foreign sales department, which was responsible for prospecting and sales, was reorganized on 26 April 1961, separating the two civil and military activities separately.

As Dassault’s electronics business has grown considerably, the Centre d’études et de recherches électroniques (CEREL) is created and settles in Saint-Cloud. On March 31, 1962, it changed its status to be a SARL, Électronique Marcel Dassault, then, on January 28, 1963, a public limited company keeping the same name.

In 1962, a new industrial complex was created in Argonay, Haute-Savoie (then called Argonnex).

The early 1960s marked Dassault’s launch of quality civil aircraft. Technical solutions from the twin-engine Community link coupled with others, taken from the Mystère IV, make it possible to create the Mystère-Falcon 20 business jet, the first aircraft in the Mystère-Falcon family. Once again, the United States brings the consecration to a product of the company since it is Pan Am which, the first, orders this device in series and opens the doors of the American market.

Mirage 5F of 3/13 Auvergne in the 70s
Mirage 5F of 3/13 Auvergne in the 70s

Implementation of electronics

In 1965, Marcel Dassault decided to change the corporate name: the name Générale Aéronautique Marcel Dassault no longer reflected the company’s activity due to the departure of the Electronics Department. It, therefore, returns to its original name: Société des Avions Marcel Dassault.

In 1967, the Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors definitively established the reputation of the quality of Dassault aircraft.

Participation in the French nuclear force through the Mirage IV program enabled Dassault to acquire new techniques, particularly in the field of high temperatures. The diversification of research in vertical take-off (Balzac V) and variable boom (Mirage G) is launched. The swept-wing aircraft programs developed at the same time gave birth to the Mirage F1 which equips eleven air forces in the world.

Civil transport is also tackled with the Mercure, a 150-seat small and medium-haul jet equipped with Air Inter.

On 27 June 1967, at the request of the State, the company bought Breguet Aviation, which retained its legal, technical, industrial and commercial individuality. Its design office works with that of Dassault, but it retains its homogeneity. On April 1, 1971, the two companies came together, resulting in a merger. It was approved on 14 December 1971 (retroactive to 1 January 1971). The company name was also changed to Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation (AMD-BA).

This rapprochement allows a wider opening to international cooperation through the Atlantic and Atlantic 2 maritime patrol aircraft programs, Jaguar attack and support aircraft and Alpha Jet trainer aircraft. Adaptation to advanced techniques continued during the 1970s with the Mirage 2000 delta-wing fighter program and the Mirage 4000 which saw the introduction of technological innovations such as composite materials and electrical flight controls. CATIA’s computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software, marketed worldwide, highlights Dassault’s know-how in the field of high technology.

In 1974, in Little Rock, Dassault Aviation set up its Falcon business jet finishing plant. Transported green (in primer paint) from France (Mérignac), they receive on site all their final equipment, interior fittings and painting according to customer demand.

In the 1960s, technology watch in the space field led to the launch of the MD-620 missile, the study of the TAS 1 and 2 space carriers and a thermal protection project for the American Space Shuttle. Dassault Aviation produces the main elements of the pyrotechnic chain of the European Ariane rocket.

In 1984, AMD-BA acquired a majority stake of 70% in SOGITEC, which became a Dassault subsidiary specializing in training simulation and computerized technical documentation.

1986-2000: Workforce rationalization of Dassault

The Dassault group, which until then had been considered a flagship of French industry, began to suffer from January 1986 violent criticism in the media which often spread the idea that the group was in difficulty, especially because the Rafale would be a financial and commercial failure for many commentators.

Marcel Dassault died on April 17, 1986, and his son Serge became president of AMD-BA on October 29.

Faced with the decline of the world aeronautical market, both in the military and civil fields, it appears that the company’s production potential is far too great and that it must be reduced quickly. Thus, between 1987 and 1992, the number of specific manufacturing staff fell from 6,200 to 3,000 and reached 2,400 at the end of 2000, a decrease of 60%. From 1986 to 1996, the number of employees increased from 16,000 to 9,000. Preparations for the twenty-first century require industrial rationalization and adaptation of civil and military activities.

On October 6, 1987, during the central works council, Serge Dassault announced an industrial recovery plan that provided for a 5% increase in productivity per year for 5 years with the closure of four sites: Sanguinet, Villaroche, Boulogne and Istres factory.

In 1988, 9, Rond-point des Champs-Élysées became the new head office and the Générale de mécanique aéronautique (GMA) was integrated into AMD-BA with the merger of the prototype and series design offices.

In March 1989, the Toulouse-Colomiers site was closed.

On December 4, 1989, Benno-Claude Vallières, honorary president of AMD-BA, died.

On June 19, 1990, AMD-BA became Dassault Aviation.

In 1991, the Rafale C01, Rafale M01 and Mirage 2000-5 made their first flights. The following year, the prototype construction workshop was transferred from Saint-Cloud to Argenteuil and the flight control workshops were transferred to Argonay.

On 17 September 1992, a cooperation agreement was signed with Aérospatiale and on 23 December, a communiqué from the Minister of Defence and the Minister of Economy and Finance announced a structural merger between Aérospatiale and Dassault Aviation and the strengthening of the Société de gestion et de participations aéronautiques (SOGEPA) in their capital. holding company grouping part of the State’s shareholdings in both groups.

The first flights of the Rafale B01 and the Falcon 2000 were made in 1993.

In 1995, the first flight of the Falcon 900EX took place and Falcon Jet Corporation became Dassault Falcon Jet.

On October 16, 1998, the inauguration of the new Dassault Falcon Jet plant in Little Rock was held.

In 1999, for the first time in the company’s history, the share of civil activity in the company’s turnover was higher than the share of military activity (68% compared to 32%).

2000-2015: Start of computer design

On April 4, 2000, Charles Edelstenne succeeded Serge Dassault as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Wilmington-based Atlantic Aviation Deleware was purchased in October 2000.

On December 18, 2000, Dassault Aviation became the first French company to be certified ISO 9001/2000 by the BVQI.

In about fifteen years, thanks to the development of computer science, industrial design offices have moved from the drawing board to the computer modeling volume: the physical model has disappeared in favor of the virtual digital model to produce a first directly operational object. This true industrial revolution was made possible by Dassault Systèmes’ Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software.

The “virtual platform” technology, allowing all design offices to work together and simultaneously in a short time, has been deployed for the Falcon 7X tri-jet program.

Thus, for the first time, the primary parts and physical assembly of the first Falcon 7X, in Bordeaux-Mérignac, were carried out without any adjustment or catch-up.

Dassault Aviation was one of the five creators, in 2009, of BoostAeroSpace, the European aeronautical digital hub.

Reaching the age limit of 75 years, Charles Edelstenne is replaced on January 9, 2013 by Eric Trappier.

Since 2016: Issuance of a stamp for a first century of activity

Dassault Falcon 8X
Dassault Falcon 8X

Marcel Dassault’s first mass production, the Hélice Éclair, proved effective in defending the skies over Verdun 100 years ago, in 1916. On this occasion, on 14 October 2016, La Poste issued a commemorative stamp.

For this centenary, a large-format show was presented at the Grand Palais in April 2016.

Commercially, 2016 will continue to be marked by two major events:

  • a new success of the Rafale with the sale of 36 Rafale to India,
  • the first delivery of a Dassault Falcon 8X, on October 5, 2016, following its certification in June 2016 by the EASA and the FAA.

In May 2017, the Dassault Falcon 8X, a very long-range trijet, was approved to operate at London City Airport, one of the most difficult airports in the world.

In the first half of 2021, the French aircraft manufacturer announces that it has achieved consolidated revenue of €3.1 billion, driven by Rafale sales.

For the full year 2021, Dassault announces the doubling of its net profit compared to 2020, for a total amount of €605 million. Positive figures in line with the increase in the number of orders (especially for Rafale), multiplied by three to 12.1 billion euros.

Paradise papers

At the end of 2017, the company was mentioned in the Paradise Papers tax fraud scandal (among many French international companies). For its part, it reacts by declaring that it complies with all its tax obligations and as such it pays its taxes in the countries where it carries out its industrial activity.

On the company’s website, a November 7 press release reads: “No tax optimization structure has been set up by the Company to avoid French tax or French VAT.” Further on, it specifies that it would comply with the laws in force, laws and regulations. Under the control of the French authorities.

Falcon 6X

On February 28, 2018, two months after the cancellation of the Falcon 5X, Dassault Aviation presented the Dassault Falcon 6X capable of traveling 10,200 kilometers non-stop and accommodating 16 passengers. The first flight is scheduled for 2021 and entry into service in 2022.

Inventor of the computer-aided design software, CATIA (“Applied Interactive Three-dimensional Assisted Design”) which allowed the creation in 1981 of Dassault Systèmes to ensure its development and maintenance, Dassault Aviation adopts at the end of May 2018 the 3DEXPERIENCE platform of Dassault Systèmes to replace all PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) solutions for civil and military aircraft programs.

At the end of April 2018, Dassault Aviation and Airbus joined forces to develop the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), which will complement and replace the Eurofighter and Rafale aircraft currently in service between 2035 and 2040.

Serge Dassault died suddenly at his office at the headquarters of the Dassault group, located at the roundabout of the Champs-Élysées-Marcel-Dassault, in Paris, on May 28, 2018, of heart failure. His funeral was celebrated on June 1, 2018, at the Invalides.

On June 12, 2018, Dassault Aviation, Thales and Safran (GIE Rafale International) signed a partnership agreement with Thales Belgium to develop “an industrial center of excellence in cybersecurity” in Belgium. […] This agreement is part of the Franco-Belgian strategic partnership proposal on combat aircraft.”

Activities of the Dassault Aviation Group


The Falcon business jet range accounted for 30% of the Dassault Aviation Group’s business in 2019. More than 2500 Falcons are operated worldwide and the fleet has exceeded 16 million flight hours.

With 40 new Falcon aircraft delivered in 2019 (41 in 2018), Dassault Aviation occupies the position of No. 3 worldwide with a market share of 15% against the new American leader Gulfstream Aerospace (a subsidiary of General Dynamics) and its Canadian challenger Bombardier.

The top 3 manufacturers in turnover – Year 2016
Manufacturers Units Produce Sales in $
Bomber 163 Learjet, Challenger 300, Global 5000, Express XRS 5 873 000 000
Gulfstream Aerospace 115 G150, G350, G450, G500, G550, G650 6 235 800 871
Dassault Falcon Jet 49 Falcon 2000, Falcon 900, Falcon 7X 2 170 000 000

With a position of 2 European players, Dassault Aviation military aircraft are used by more than twenty countries around the world around two combat aircraft:

  • Mirage 2000 sets the standard for availability, maintenance, interoperability and performance. 470 Mirage 2000s are in service with nine air forces around the world and the Mirage 2000 fleet has more than 1.8 million flight hours.
  • Rafale is the first delta-wing aircraft with a close-up canard empennage designed to land on an aircraft carrier. 147 Rafale units were delivered to the French armed forces out of a total of 199 Rafale delivered worldwide at the end of 2019.

Dassault builds maritime patrol aircraft based on Falcon business jets.

Dassault is the prime contractor for the Neuron, a European combat drone demonstrator that made its first flight on December 1, 2012, and foreshadows the future combat air system, a combat drone that should be operational in 2030.

The group is also associated with Airbus Defence and Space and Finmeccanica (from 2016 Leonardo-Finmeccanica) for the realization of the MALE 2020, a drone flying at medium altitude and long autonomy for the French, German and Italian armies. In 2018, the system specification review was passed and a scale 1 model was presented at the Berlin International Airshow. On April 26, 2018, Airbus, Dassault Aviation and Leonardo reaffirmed their total commitment to the first 100% European MALE drone program, with a contract scheduled for completion in 2019.

Dassault Space activities

  • Ground telemetry systems contribute to each launch of the European Arianeet Vega or Russian Soyuz launchers from French Guiana.
  • The development of the MD-620 missile made it possible to start an activity of studies of space vehicles such as the TAS (1964-1966) and STAR-H (1986-1992) reusable launchers, vehicles returning from orbit with participation in the Hermès European space plane program (1985-1993) and NASA’s X-38 program (vehicle shape definition and flight tests). Based on the work carried out for these 2 programs (Hermès Space Plane and the X-38 carrying body), Dassault Aviation is studying projects for reusable and airborne, unmanned (VEHRA family) and manned (VSH) suborbital vehicles. Vehra could place, in an intermediate version called Medium, satellites of 250 kg in low orbit while the VSH is planned for the transport of six passengers to the edge of space.
  • Dassault Aviation continues to promote the use of weapons aircraft to airlift mini launchers (MLA project) intended to place small satellites in low orbit.
  • Pyrotechnic activities are applied to contribute to crew safety (ejection seat initiation systems, inter-seat sequencing systems for two-seater combat aircraft, and canopy embrittlement and cutting devices) and to many components for the Ariane-5 and Vega launchers, and the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) refueling vehicle.

Client Services and Support

Dassault Aviation has developed a global network of service centers, spare parts availability, AOG support and training services and has been named the business jet market leader in product support.

  • Dassault Falcon Jet, located in the United States (general management in Teberboro / New Jersey and industrial sites in Wilmington / Deleware and Little Rock / Arkansas), markets Falcon aircraft and carries out their fittings. In 2016, Dassault Falcon Jet employed 2,453 people and generated sales of €1,100 million.
  • Dassault Falcon Service, located at Paris-Le Bourget airport in France, is the world’s largest service station dedicated to Falcons for maintenance operations and also for the rental of Falcon as part of a public passenger transport activity. In 2016, Dassault Falcon Service employed 600 people and generated sales of €165 million.
  • Midway in the United States overhauls and repairs civil aeronautical equipment for French equipment manufacturers, suppliers for Falcons or other aircraft.
  • Dassault Falcon Jet was approved as a member company of the International Aerospace Environmental Group (IAEG) in January 2012, in recognition of its commitment to environmental protection, in the spirit of the UN Global Compact.

Aeronautical and defense systems

Sogitec Industries, founded in 1964 and a 100% subsidiary of Dassault Aviation since 1984, provides armed forces and civil aircraft operators with a full range of simulation, training and support products and services.

In 2017, Sogitec achieved a turnover of €95 million, 50% of which came from exports, and devotes 10% to research and development. Its main customers are French and foreign forces, the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA), Dassault Aviation, Eurocopter, Lockheed Martin, Thales, BAE Systems and CAE.

Located in France in Suresnes, Mérignac and Bruz, Sogitec employs 400 people and operates in the fields of simulation and technical documentation for aeronautical and defense systems around the following technologies:

  • image generation systems and mastery of geographic databases;
  • innovative optical image presentation systems;
  • Distributed simulation architectures
  • exploitation of PLM data (product lifecycle management solutions) and improvement of tools for the development and exploitation of technical documentation.

Economic data

Shareholders of Dassault

Here is the list of the Dassault shareholders on December 31, 2019.

Marcel Dassault Industrial Group 62,2%
Airbus 9,91%
T. Rowe Price International 2,79%
DNCA Finance 1,75%
Bestinver Gestión 1,40%
BlackRock Investment Management 0,61%
Deka Investment GmbH 0,79%
The Vanguard Group 0,83%
Norges Bank Investment Management 1,02%
International Value Advisers LLC 0,58%

In November 2014, Dassault Aviation acquired 8% of its shares held by Airbus Group for €794 million, strengthening GIM Dassault’s share and the share of the free float. In March 2015, Airbus announced the sale of 15% of Dassault Aviation to increase its stake from 42% to 27%. At the same time, Dassault Aviation announces the purchase of a maximum of 5% of its own shares as part of this sale. Airbus also announces the sale of an additional 10% of Dassault Aviation shares for June 2015.

In June 2016, Airbus Group announced the sale of its 23.6% stake in Dassault Aviation for €2.7 billion. Since 2014, the gradual sale of Airbus’ stake has been underway, at 45.3%.

Thus, 2016 was marked by Airbus Group’s continued withdrawal from Dassault Aviation’s capital, leading to a further strengthening of the historical and majority shareholder, Groupe Dassault (GIMD).

Program Funding

Dassault has self-financed and launched the development of the following with private funds:

  • prototypes of combat aircraft (e.g. Mirage III and Mirage F1), designed and built with the technical cooperation and industrial participation of engine and equipment manufacturers,
  • civil aircraft (for example: Mystère-Falcon 20 and 10).

These self-financing development initiatives have led to important programs, but some have not been crowned with mass production (titles in italics correspond to discontinued programs).

  • Flamingo: In October 1946, Dassault launched the MB 301 and MB 303, ordered by the State with the Béarn engine, and an aircraft, almost identical, the MD 315, launched on own funds, and equipped with the Snecma 12 S Argus. It is the latter that is ordered in series under the name of Flamant.
  • The MD-30 reactor: In February 1953, Marcel Dassault, noting that the French engines planned for future light combat aircraft would not be ready at the same time as the airframes, took the license of the English Armstrong Siddeley Viper engine that his company developed on own funds under the designation MD-30.
  • SMB-1: Continuing the development of the Mystère family, the Company designed the Super-Mystère B 1 from its own funds from its own funds.
  • Mirage III: At the end of 1955, he decided to launch, on his own funds, a single-engine Snecma Atar version that kept the wing of the MD 550 02, which had never flown for lack of engines, and adopted the law of areas for the fuselage. The new study is called Mirage III.
  • MD 800: In May 1964, in order to participate in a new NATO program for the Navies of the Atlantic Alliance, Dassault decided to study, on its own funds, a twin-engine aircraft with a variable sweep wing: the MD 800.
  • Mirage III E 2: In mid-1964, Marcel Dassault, aware of the impasse where large engine aircraft, too expensive for export, lead, had his Company study, on its own funds, a small bisonic aircraft, the Mirage III E 2.
  • Mystère-Falcon 20: GAMD launches the Mystère 20 program with private funding.
  • Hirondelle: In May 1967, the Mérignac design office began the study and development, with private funds, of a new aircraft equipped with two Turboméca Astacou turboprops, directly derived from the Community and Spirale: the MD 320 Hirondelle.
  • Falcon 30: Dassault-Breguet continues the development of the Mystère-Falcon range with the Falcon 30, an extrapolated version of the Falcon 20, capable of carrying 30 passengers. This device is adapted to the needs of commercial lines of low traffic. The prototype, built on its own funds, made its first flight on May 11, 1973, in Mérignac, piloted by Jean Coureau and Jérôme Résal.
  • Mirage 2000: During the drafting of the 4th military programming law, it appeared that the Air Force could not acquire the 250 multipurpose ACF it would need. In 1973, the Company studied a new project with its own funds that could accommodate the budget and proposed it to the Ministry of Defence, which kept it in an emergency in the event of a shutdown of the ACF. In 1975, without waiting for the result of the “market of the century”, Marcel Dassault had learned the lesson and had a new aircraft studied, on his own funds. On 18 December 1975, in the Defence Council, the President of the Republic, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, decided to abandon the Future Combat Aircraft program. In anticipation of this cancellation, Dassault had proposed two aircraft: a delta-wing jet (future Mirage 4000) which would be financed by the State and, for export, a single-engine delta-wing engine (future Mirage 2000) financed by the Company’s own funds. The President of the Republic believing that it is preferable to equip the Air Force with the single-engine, it is the Mirage 2000 that is ordered.
  • Mirage 2000-5: The Mirage 2000-5 is the new generation multirole version (5 versions), equipped with a new fire control and weapons management system as well as a multiple visualization and management system. Launched with equity by Dassault-Breguet and Thomson-CSF in 1984, this version is intended to revive the export of the Mirage 2000 and modernize the Mirage 2000 C. As far as exports are concerned, the government’s wish is that they will allow the maintenance of the load plan of the French aeronautical industry and, consequently, normal operating results for the industrialists concerned. To facilitate Mirage 2000 exports, manufacturers have agreed to take over part of the financing of the national program.
  • Mirage 4000: The Mirage 4000 is developed and built on the own funds of the French aeronautical industrialists, in particular Dassault which ensures the realization of the airframe and the integration of the equipment. The reactors were loaned by the State according to the terms defined on 21 June 1978 by the Minister of Defence: the Snecma M 53s were taken from the stock of the Mirage 2000 program.
  • ACX Prototype: Based on the F 404 and M 88 reactors, the Company plans to launch a prototype for single-engine customers with its own funds. It would be a delta-wing aircraft with a surface area of 30 m, equipped with ducks and a reduced weight, thanks to the use of new materials, allowing it to achieve performance much higher than those of the Mirage 2000, with an empty weight of 6 tons.

Markets and customers

Military aircrafts

Dassault Mirage IV
Dassault Mirage IV
Dassault Rafale
Dassault Rafale
Marcel Bloch Aircraft Dassault aircraft
Lightning Propeller, 1916 MD 315 Flamingo, 1947
SEA IV, 1918 MD 450 Hurricane, 1951
MB 80-81, 1932 MD 452 Mystère II, 1951
MB 200, 1933 MD 453, 1952
MB 210, 1934 MD 454 Mystère IV, 1952
MB 120, 1933 MD 550 Delta Mystery, 1955
MB 130, 1935 Super Mystère B1, 1955
MB 211, 1935 Super Mystère B2, 1956
MB 131, 1936 Mirage III, 1956
MB 150-157, 1937 Standard II, 1956
MB 170, 1938 Standard IV, 1956
MB 500, 1938 MD 410 Spiral, 1960
MB 174, 1939 Mirage IV, 1960
MB 135, 1939 Balzac V001, 1962
MB 480, 1939 Mirage F1, 1966
MB 134, 1939 Mirage 5, 1967
MB 175, 1939 Mirage G, 1967
MB 700, 1940 Milan, 1968
MB 161, 1939 Mirage G-4/G-8, 1971
MB 162, 1940 Alpha Jet, 1973 (in cooperation with Dornier)
MB 800, 1941 Jaguar, 1973
  Super-Étendard, 1974
  Future combat aircraft/G8A, 1974
  Falcon Guardian, 1977
  Mirage 2000, 1978
  Mirage 4000, 1979
  Mirage 50, 1979
  Atlantic 2, 1981
  Falcon Gardian, 1981
  Rafale, 1986
  Neuron, 2012

Civil aircrafts

Marcel Bloch Aircraft Dassault aircraft
MB 60/61, 1930 MD-80, 1950
MB.80 and MB.81, 1932 Mystère-Falcon 20, 1963
MB 90/92, 1932 MD 320, 1968
MB 120, 1932 Falcon 10, 1970
MB 300, 1935 Mercury 100, 1971
MB 220, 1936 Falcon 30, 1973
MB 161, 1937 Falcon 50, 1976
  Falcon 900, 1984
  Falcon 2000, 1993
  Falcon 900EX, 1995
  Falcon 50EX, 1996
  Falcon 2000EX, 2001
  Falcon 7X, 2005
  Falcon 900DX, 2005
  Falcon 2000DX, 2007
  Falcon 2000LX, 2007
  Falcon 900LX, 2009
  Falcon 2000LXS, 2014
  Falcon 8X, 2016
  Falcon 5X, canceled at the end of 2017
  Dassault Falcon 6X, 2022
  Dassault Falcon 10X, 2025

Criticisms and Controversies about Dassault

Participation in a VAT fraud scheme

In November 2017, as part of the Paradise Papers, several media affiliated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (including Radio France, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Le Monde, and Cash Investigation) revealed that Dassault Aviation (like Airbus) had knowingly participated in a value-added tax (VAT) fraud scheme used by some of its wealthy customers.

Instead of selling a private jet directly to its customer, Dassault Aviation sells it to a shell company created by the customer, a shell company that then registers the jet in the Isle of Man and then rents it to the customer (the latter therefore rents the jet to himself, since he owns the shell company), sometimes with other intermediate shell companies. As the jet is exported, the customer (via his shell company(s)) benefits from an exemption from VAT in France. Such an exemption must be accompanied by payment of VAT in the country of destination of the product. But the use of shell companies allows the shell company to attest to commercial use of the jet (it offers it for hire, officially), which allows it not to pay VAT in the country of destination, the Isle of Man.

Le Monde presents the example of Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkoff who was able to save 18.5 million euros in total, during the successive purchase of three private jets from Dassault Aviation. A total of 109 Dassault aircraft were registered on the Isle of Man.

In response, Dassault Aviation states that it respects its tax obligations, affirms that no tax optimization structure has been put in place by the company to avoid French tax or French VAT and adds that “the places of registration and operating regimes of the aircraft delivered are exclusively the choice of the customers”. In addition, Dassault Aviation explains that it has set up seven finance leasing companies in the Isle of Man, only between 2008 and 2012, “to meet the financing needs of customers” in the context of the financial crisis.

The UK Treasury’s review of how the Isle of Man administers aircraft and yacht tax found no evidence of value added tax (VAT) avoidance, although it recommended additional post-registration compliance checks.

Suspicions of corruption

The investigative website Mediapart claims that the French anti-corruption agency has “covered” Dassault. A damning inspection report conducted by his office in 2019 reportedly points to five violations of the law and corruption indices in India, but the agency has not proposed any sanctions and has not alerted the judiciary.

Candidate Registration

In December 2022, Politico revealed that Dassault Aviation had used the services of Eric Leandri’s reputation management company, Altrnativ, to profile candidates, in particular, because of their religious beliefs.

Management of the Dassault Aviation Group

Executive History (President and CEO)

  • Marcel Bloch/Dassault: 1928-1950
  • Auguste Le Révérend : 1950-1955
  • Benno-Claude Vallières : 1955-1986
  • Serge Dassault: 1986-2000
  • Charles Edelstenne: 2000-2013
  • Éric Trappier: Since January 9, 2013

Board of Directors

As of April 12, 2021, the Board of Directors is composed of:

  • Charles Edelstenne, Honorary President
  • Éric Trappier, Chairman of the Board
  • Besma Boumaza,
  • Thierry Dassault, replacing his brother Olivier Dassault, who died
  • Marie-Hélène Habert
  • Mathilde Lemoine
  • Henri Proglio
  • Lucia Sinapi-Thomas
  • Stéphane Marty (Director representing employees)

Executive Committee

As of August 29, 2022, the Executive Committee comprises:

  • Éric Trappier, President and CEO
  • Loïk Segalen, Deputy Chief Executive Officer
  • Bruno Coiffier, General Manager of Purchasing
  • Carlos Brana, Director General of Civil Aircraft
  • Bruno Chevalier, Director General of Military Support
  • Denis Dassé, Chief Financial Officer
  • Jean-Marc Gasparini, Director of Military and Space Programs
  • Bruno Giorganni, Secretary of the Executive Committee, Director of Public Affairs and Security
  • Valérie Guillemet, Director of Human Resources
  • Richard Lavaud, International Managing Director
  • Ary Plagnol, General Manager of Industrial Operations
  • Florent Gateau, General Manager of Total Quality
  • Gérald Giordano, Sales Director
  • Nicolas Mojaïski, Technical Director General
  • Frédéric Petit, Director of Falcon Programs
  • Jean Sass, Chief Information Officer and Chief Digital Officer
  • Stéphane Fort, Director of Communications


Since its creation, Dassault Aviation has developed its know-how in the field of advanced aeronautical technologies.

First flights

World first European first French first Company first
1962: prototype of the only vertical take-off aircraft to reach Mach 2, Balzac V001 1955: First aircraft to pass Mach 2, Mirage III 1949: First mass-produced and exported jet fighter, MD 450 Ouragan 1916: Marcel Dassault’s first aeronautical achievement, Hélice Éclair
1970: First business jet to receive a three-dimensional wing, Falcon 10 1956: First supersonic level aircraft with afterburner produced in series, Super Mystère B2 1951: First aircraft to break the sound barrier in a dive end, MD 452 Mystère II 1918: first aircraft built in series by Marcel Dassault, SEA IV
1976: First business jet to be equipped with a supercritical wing, Falcon 50 1967: First ballistic missile, MD 620 1952: First mass-produced supersonic aircraft, Mystère IV 1932: First all-metal medical aircraft, MB 80-81
1979: First oil-containing composite drift aircraft, Mirage 4000 1971: Prototype of variable sweep aircraft whose G8 version reached Mach 2.34, Mirage G-4/G-8 1956: First French embarked jet fighter, Étendard IV 1932: First passenger aircraft, MB 120
1983: First aircraft with automatic terrain tracking capability, Mirage 2000 N 1978: First cooperatively built commercial jet transport aircraft, Mercure 1959: First bomber of the Strategic Air Forces, Mirage IV 1933: First bomber ordered and mass-produced, MB 200
1986: first technological demonstrator of a multipurpose combat aircraft for the Air Force and the Navy, Rafale A 2012: First aircraft with operational artificial stability, Mirage 2000 1974: First carrier-based combat aircraft to have a modern weapons system, Super-Étendard 1936: First mass-produced commercial transport aircraft, MB 220
1991: Air single-seat development aircraft for the first omnirole combat aircraft, Rafale C 01 2012: Europe’s first technology demonstrator for an unmanned stealth combat aircraft, Neuron 1991: First multirole combat aircraft, Mirage 2000-5 1938: First mass-produced fighter aircraft, MB 152
1992: Marine single-seat development aircraft of the first omnirole combat aircraft, Rafale M 01   2000: First aircraft with avionics including a modular information processing package, Mirage 2000-9 1939: first reconnaissance aircraft, piloted by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, MB 174
1993: two-seat Air development aircraft of the first omnirole combat aircraft, Rafale B 01   2012: First European combat aircraft in service with active antenna radar, Rafale F3.3 1947: First mass-produced aircraft after World War II, MD 315 Flamant
1993: First business jet built without a physical mock-up, Falcon 2000     1963: First business jet, chosen by Charles Lindbergh for Pan Am, Mystère Falcon 20
2002: First business jet with advanced avionics and intuitive cockpit, Falcon 900EX EASy     1966: First aircraft with integrated digital weapons system, Mirage F1
2005: First digital flight control business jet, Falcon 7X 2017: First ultra-wide cabin twin-engine business jet (2.58 m wide and 1.98 m high), Falcon 5X   1973: First cooperative trainer, Alpha Jet

Space activities

Aerospace Vehicles Pyrotechnics Telemetry
1962: Development of a two-stage solid missile MD620 1962: Start of the Pyrotechnics activity 1992: Realization of the ground-based telemetry system of Ariane 5 in Kourou, Ariane 5
1964: First reusable launcher studied by the Company, Aéro Spatial Transporter 1979: First pyrotechnic equipment produced for a launcher, Ariane 1,2,3 & 4 2008: CNES awards Dassault Aviation the contract to develop the SCET multi-launcher, SCET-M
1983: Deputy prime contractor for the aeronautics of the Hermès space plane, Hermès 1997: Pyrotechnic equipment for the Ariane 5 launcher, Ariane 5 2011: Commissioning in Kourou of a specific ground telemetry system using the Ethernet network, Soyuz
1986: Reusable horizontal take-off space transport system studied by CNES, STAR-H 2003: Fairing separation system of a version of the American Atlas V launcher, Atlas V 2012: Adaptation of the ground telemetry system in Kourou, Vega
1997: Modified the shapes of the X-38 for NASA, X-38 2008: Development of a shear dedicated to the separation between Ariane 5 and the ATV freighter, Ariane 5  
1998: Study of a family of Airborne Reusable Hypersonic Vehicles, VEHRA 2012: Development of the vertical cap separation system, Vega  
2002: Study of a concept of Suborbital Manned Vehicle allowing the transport of 6 people, VSH    
2005: Participation in the work for an atmospheric re-entry demonstrator, IXV    
2005: Study of a Micro Airborne Launcher under Rafale for the launch of small payloads into low orbit, MLA    

Artificial intelligence

The “Man-Machine-Teaming” (MMT) Upstream Study Plan aimed at developing the artificial intelligence technologies necessary for the combat aviation of the future, was notified to manufacturers by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) in January 2018 and was launched in March 2018. It was awarded to Dassault Aviation (air combat system agent) and Thales (co-contractor, part of the Human/System Interface and Sensors). It will take place over three years.

The principle of the CMM is to provide the various machine systems with more autonomy and artificial intelligence in the service of an expanded and redesigned human-machine relationship:

  • Define future cockpits and autonomous systems.
  • Advance innovative technologies in the field of human and machine crew within the cognitive aerial system, especially in decision-making autonomy and machine learning.
  • Advance concepts and technologies in the field of smart sensors/learners.

Augmented reality in Dassault

DassaultAir3D is an augmented reality (AR) application that allows you to:

  • view a selection of Dassault Aviation aircraft in 3D,
  • take a seat in the cockpit of a Rafale.

Dassault Aviation Group in France

Employer attractiveness

Dassault Aviation ranks second in the 2018 Randstad Awards, becoming the preferred company of 56% of French people.

This study, which measures the attractiveness of employers to the general public, is carried out by the independent institute TNS and focuses on the 250 largest employers located in France. Dassault Aviation had already been ranked “favorite company of the French in 2016” with 57% of respondents wishing to work at the aircraft manufacturer.

Industrial outreach

The manufacture of the aircraft structure is carried out in France:

  • Falcon’s annual production represents 7,600 direct and indirect jobs;
  • A Rafale means 7,000 direct and indirect jobs, 30% of which are in small businesses;
  • Dassault Aviation is a partner of competitiveness clusters;
    • Astech, around the all-electric aircraft and eco-design,
    • System@tic, on system design tools,
    • Aerospace Valley, on materials and production chains,
    • Pegase, on test means,
    • EMC2, on advanced production technologies and materials processing processes.

Dassault industrial plants in France

10 establishments are present in France:

  • Saint-Cloud (Hauts-de-Seine):
    • Staff: approximately 2,900 people
    • Activities: are grouped all the general divisions (Design Office, Falcon and Military Aircraft Support, Quality, Purchasing…), the Programs Department and the General Management of Dassault Aviation
  • Mérignac (Gironde)
    • Staff: approximately 1,600 people
    • Activities: assembly, testing and flight of all aircraft; Fitting out of special aircraft; Receipt of aircraft by Customers
  • Argenteuil (Val-d’Oise)
    • Staff: approximately 1,000 people
    • Activities: assembly and fitting out of fuselages of military aircraft; Assembly section before Falcon aircraft; Piping; Pyrotechnics
  • AngletBiarritz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)
    • Staff: approximately 980 people
    • Activities: Production of composite elements; Assembly and joining of the fuselages of Falcon aircraft
  • Martignas (Gironde)
    • Staff: about 460 people
    • Activities: wing assembly for all civil and military aircraft
  • Seclin (North)
    • Staff: about 270 people
    • Activities: production of structural parts (frames, spars, etc.)
  • Poitiers (Vienne)
    • Staff: about 120 people
    • Activities: Production of glass roof military aircraft; Pyrotechnics
  • Argonay (Haute-Savoie)
    • Staff: about 470 people
    • Activities: Production of mechanical and electronic equipment for flight control systems for all aircraft
  • Istres (Bouches-du-Rhône)
    • Staff: about 550 people
    • Activities: Integration and bench testing of aircraft systems; Development flight tests and certification of all aircraft
  • Cazaux (Gironde)
    • Staff: Staff integrated into that of Istres
    • Activities: Armament Integration and Test – Military Aircraft Test Shooting Centre

Relations with the French State

Nationalization of 1936

Resulting from the victory of the Popular Front in May 1936, the government of Léon Blum wanted to control the manufacture of war materials for the needs of National Defense. On 26 June 1936, a nationalization bill was submitted to the Chamber of Deputies. It provides for the expropriation with compensation, in whole or in part, of certain companies that manufacture war materiel and to limit itself to the normal needs of National Defence. Aeronautics is primarily concerned, because the government wants to make this sector one of the models of its industrial and social ambitions. The law was passed on July 17, 1936.

Six semi-public companies are created with a capital of 100,000 francs each (approximately 69,500 euros in 2011), two-thirds of which belong to the State. As a State shareholder, it appoints a managing director at the head of each. It intends to reserve the production tool, but wishes to leave the possibility to firms that wish to retain complete freedom for the work of studies and the realization of prototypes, with the vagaries that these activities entail.

Industrial mass production is the responsibility of national companies, which also retain a vocation for the development of products born in their own design offices.

The Minister of Air, Pierre Cot, understood that he would mortgage the future by depriving himself of the collaboration of existing manufacturers. Moreover, he did not have in his ministry cadres qualified enough to take the helm of a national society. He, therefore, offered these positions to expropriated industrialists. Henry Potez and Marcel Bloch are the only builders to agree to sign an amicable agreement with the State.

Henry Potez receives 38 million francs in compensation (about 26.4 million euros in 2011). Marcel Bloch receives 27.2 million francs (approximately 18.9 million euros in 2011). He agreed to administer the Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Ouest (SNCASO) in which he invested 5 million francs (about 3.5 million Euros in 2011). It received in expropriation compensation (buildings, equipment and tools) 15.4 million for Courbevoie, 10.7 million for Châteauroux, 1.1 million for Villacoublay, for a total of 27.2 million francs (about 6.46 million euros in 2011). In addition, he shares 9.3 million with Henry Potez for SASO (Bordeaux and Mérignac).

On 16 December 1936, Marcel Bloch was informed that his factories in Courbevoie and Villacoublay, his factory and his land in Châteauroux-Déols had been expropriated to form the bulk of SNCASO.

As his aircraft manufacturing company was nationalized, Marcel Bloch no longer had the right to build aircraft in series. He then decided to create a new company that managed his license fees and could engage in other industrial activities such as engines.

On December 12, 1936, under the terms of a deed under private signature, the statutes of a public limited company were drawn up. On December 15, Marcel Bloch filed with a notary in Paris, the articles of association and the certificates of subscription and payment of the shareholders.

State intervention in 1977

On 1 June 1977, a little less than a year after the beginning of the Vathaire affair, the Council of Ministers decided to acquire a minority stake by the State in the capital of Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation.

On June 8, at the Paris Air Show, Raymond Barre, Prime Minister, confirmed the State’s stake. This operation, he says, is a measure to rationalize the aviation industry. However, the State does not wish to assume the management of the enterprise, which it considers technologically and commercially efficient.

The Prime Minister charged Jean Blancard with a coordination mission between SNIAS and AMD-BA with a view to setting up a holding company combining the State’s participation in these two companies, but without affecting their autonomy or identity.

The Senate Finance Committee even questions the appropriateness of this takeover, stating that, given the amount of state contracts, it is not clear how AMD-BA could have an industrial policy that does not go in the direction of the government’s objectives.

In the explanatory memorandum to the bill, the State considers that, as it has important functions in the aeronautical sector, it should provide itself with the means to ensure cohesion in the design and monitoring of the results of its policy. A stake in the capital of the Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation aircraft company ensuring a blocking minority is therefore essential.

The interpenetration of production between Dassault and SNIAS, its main subcontractor, is one of the arguments invoked by Raymond Barre to institutionalize the merger of the two groups.

The negotiations allow the State to acquire a blocking minority of 20% after two years, without disbursement of funds and by canceling public debts, i.e. 540 million francs. These public claims relate to advances made by the State to AMD-BA for the development of civilian programs such as the Falcon 50 and the settlement of royalties owed by the company to the State under study contracts and agreements.

Thus, the State takes 20% of the capital through SOGEPA (Société de gestion de participation aéronautique) with double voting rights limited to these shares from 1 March 1982 and this first step involves the appointment of four representatives of the State to the Board of Directors: Jean Blancard, Jean-Étienne Sriber, Claude Grigaut and André Valls.

1981 negotiations

When the Mirage IV entered service in 1964, François Mitterrand believed that the State must ensure direct control of the manufacture of this equipment, including bomb-carrying aircraft. The autonomous Régie that he proposes would be a public establishment of an industrial and commercial nature endowed with civil personality and financial autonomy, placed under the authority and control of the Minister for the Armed Forces.

In 1972, the Socialist Party and the Communist Party placed Dassault at the head of the groups to be nationalized when drawing up a common government program.

Negotiations began in August 1981 with the new socialist government. The State is represented by the Prime Minister, Pierre Mauroy, assisted by his advisor, Jean Peyrelevade, Chief Engineer of Civil Aviation as well as by Georges Lemoine, Secretary of State to the Minister of Defence assisted by his Chief of Staff, the Comptroller General Jacques Barthélemy.

On the Dassault side, the first interlocutors are the president of the company Benno Claude Vallières, assisted by the secretary general, Charles Edelstenne. The real negotiation then began with Marcel Dassault, assisted by Pierre de Bénouville.

The negotiations with Marcel Dassault represent a unique case, as it escapes classic industrial and financial standards as well as political prejudices.

Marcel Dassault understands that the government makes its nationalization a question of principle and that it cannot avoid it, he then proposes to modify the modalities of takeover by the State.

On Thursday, October 8, 1981, at the Hôtel Matignon, the two parties signed an agreement with the original formula: Marcel Dassault donated to the State 26% of the shares of AMD-BA, which allowed the latter to have a majority at the general meeting thanks to the 20% already acquired with double voting rights.

1992 – 2000, the evolution toward private shareholding

On 23 December 1992, a press release from the Minister of Defence and the Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance announces the structural merger between Aerospatiale and Dassault Aviation and the strengthening of their capital of the Société de gestion et de participations aéronautiques (SOGEPA), a holding company grouping together part of the State’s shareholdings in the two groups.

On 21 February 1996, the President of the Republic, Jacques Chirac, announced the effective rapprochement between Aerospatiale and Dassault Aviation, interrupted by the dissolution of the National Assembly and the coming to power of a Socialist government in April 1997.

Following the transfer to Aerospatiale of the shares held by the State (45.76%) (14 May 1998), the creation of Aerospatiale Matra (1999) and then of the private European group EADS, Dassault Aviation found itself, on 4 September 2000, in the situation of a company owned by two private shareholders (Dassault Group: 49.93% and EADS: 45.76%).

Relations with the client State

  • The creation of the Ministry of Air and the Marcel Bloch aircraft company

The creation of the Air Ministry in September 1928 gave Marcel Bloch (who would take the name Marcel Dassault in 1949) the opportunity to return to the aviation he had abandoned in 1918. In order to revive French aeronautics, it was decided to create a Technical and Industrial General Department entrusted to Albert Caquot. The latter launched a policy of prototypes intended to catch up with French aircraft.

From 1928 to 1932, Marcel Bloch hired engineers in the Société des Avions Marcel Bloch, including Henri Deplante, Paul Deplante and Benno-Claude Vallières. Quickly, their prototypes of military and civilian aircraft are chosen and ordered by the state. Faced with the abundance of work, Marcel Bloch organizes, rationalizes and subcontracts as much work as possible to relieve his design office as much as possible.

The secret of its success is simple. By anticipating their needs, he was able to win the trust of the three major customers: the Navy, the Air Force and Air France.

  • The State chooses Dassault for combat aircraft.

In 1966, the public authorities wanted to restructure the aeronautical industry. Pierre Messmer, Minister of the Armed Forces from 1960 to 1969, wanted to continue to specialize companies: Nord Aviation was to devote itself to ballistic devices, Sud-Aviation to activities concerning civil and military transport as well as helicopters and Dassault to combat aircraft. He says: “The controversy over civil/military division didn’t bother me much. The urgency for me was to specialize or merge the national aircraft manufacturing companies to put things in order. As far as weapons aircraft were concerned, there was such a superiority of Dassault aircraft that the choice was obvious. Sud-Aviation had ambitions, but had lost control, so they were no longer given the opportunity to make weapons planes. If Marcel Dassault won, it was because he was the best.”

The government then asked Marcel Dassault to buy the company Breguet Aviation founded in 1911 by Louis Breguet and owned by Sylvain Floirat since 1955. The latter believes that Breguet does not bring enough money, he wants to part with it to develop his activities in Matra and in the media.

  • State control of military contracts

On French territory, any activity of trade, manufacture or intermediation of war materials, weapons and ammunition is subject to prior authorization from the State. For export, a special procedure applies not only to war materials, weapons and ammunition, but also to similar materials. The transfer of technology, know-how and sensitive information also falls within this framework.

Ordinance No. 2004-1374 of 20 December 2004 (legislative part of the Defence Code) establishes the principle that the export of war material is prohibited unless authorized. This authorization is issued by the Ministry of Defence after an investigation by various services. The examination of applications for export authorization of war materials and so-called defense firearms (4 category), has as a prerequisite, the issuance of a Manufacturing and Trade Authorization (AFC) by the Ministry of Defense.

The regime for controlling exports of war materials and similar materials is specified by the decree of 2 October 1992. The decision-making authority is the Prime Minister, on the advice of the Interministerial Commission for the Study of War Material Exports (CIEEMG). Chaired by the Secretary General of National Defence and National Security, it is composed of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The CIEEMG expresses its opinions within the framework of the general directives approved by the political authorities.

Visual identity and communication of Dassault

Lobbying the institutions of the European Union

Dassault Aviation is registered in the transparency register of interest representatives with the European Commission. In 2016, the company declared annual expenses of less than 300,000 euros for this activity.

Identity and logo

Dassault Aviation logo - 1990
Dassault Aviation logo – 1990

Experience has shown that it is desirable to simplify the name of Société Avions Marcel Dassault – Breguet Aviation, as its length is impractical, particularly in commercial and international relations.

On June 19, 1990, the Board of Directors replaced the name Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation with Dassault Aviation. This amendment is accompanied by the possibility, for each subsidiary or sister company, to associate its name with that of Dassault as well as a term representative of its specialty that immediately identifies it within the group.

The Corporation also receives a logotype, selected following an internal competition launched in September 1988, which symbolizes:

  • the Company’s momentum into the future;
  • the aerodynamic shape with the appearance of a “delta” name which, moreover, in the aeronautical radio code, suggests the initial D of Dassault;
  • the four-leaf clover, Marcel Dassault’s talisman that he would have found in a field during the August 1939 holidays, would have brought him luck and allowed him to return alive from his deportation to Buchenwald;
  • the opening of the delta which orients towards new ideas, towards cooperation.

Since 2014, the Dassault Aviation logo has been used in 1 color (monochrome): metal (preferred), gray, white or black, to make it more legible, more visible and more modern.

References (sources)