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French Super Etendard carrier-borne strike fighter was retired from active service

Posted by Dylan Malyasov on

On Jul. 12, 2016, the French Super Étendard Modernise of the Marine Nationale (French Navy) was retired from active service, 42 years after the subsonic attack jet performed its first flight.

The aircraft, an advanced development of the Étendard IVM that made its maiden flight in October 1974 and entered the active service in June 1978 has taken part to almost all the conflicts that have seen the French Navy participation in the last 40 years: Lebanon, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

During nearly four decades, the jet underwent a series of upgrades: the pure attack Étendard IVMs were retired from French service whilst the SEM became the French Navy’s primary maritime strike and reconnaissance aircraft, capable to deliver PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions).

The aircraft undertook its final carrier launch with the French Navy on 17 March 2016, ahead of its withdrawal from service on 12 July 2016.

Overall, the operation was built 85 such aircraft.


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