Marcel Dassault


The Dassault company was founded straight after the war by Marcel Dassault. He had been born Marcel Bloch, adopted the nom de guerre of Dassault (some sources say it was his brother who was actually given this name) while in the French Resistance (for which he was sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp, being liberated in March 1945), and then took on this name officially.

Proceeding at first without any government aid, in 1947 he started work on a jet fighter - the Ouragan. A contract from the government for three prototypes followed, and the aircraft first flew in February 1949.

The French government eventually ordered 350 Ouragans, and they were first delivered in 1952, replacing the De Havilland Vampire. These Ouragans were themselves phased out from early 1955 (until 1961) in favor of the Mystere IV. (the straight-winged Ouragan was the first French jet fighter to attain production).

Dassault Mystere, North East Aircraft Museum
Photo courtesy of Tony Oliver

Mystere I & Mystere II


By analogy with the later Mirage, the name Mystere was adopted as a generic designation for a series of swept-wing fighters which were not necessarily too closely connected (as well as for corporate jets).

The Mystere I first flew in 1951 by mating swept-wings (of 30 degrees), and a modified tail to an Ouragan fuselage. Three Mystere I prototypes lead directly to Mystere II protypes and production versions. The Mystere II was Western Europe's first swept-wing aircraft to enter production. The Mystere IIC was the first all-French jet fighter (including the engine) and was able to break Mach 1 in a dive (the first West European fighter capable of this). The Armee de l'Air ordered 150 Mystere IIs, delivery starting in late 1954, but development was moving so fast that the Mystere IV became available almost as soon as the Mystere II became operational.

(There was only one Mystere III ever built.)

Mystere IV


Dassault Mystere, North East Aircraft Museum

Although similar in appearance to the Mystere II, it had thinner wings, which were swept back to 32 degrees, and the engine was more powerful. It was almost a completely new design.

It entered service with the French Air Force in 1955, and initially 225 were delivered. These were actually bought for the French Government by the United States as part of the NATO Military Assistance Program. Later, the French would buy 100 themselves.

The engine, the Hispano 350, was an uprated version of the Tay 250 - earlier versions of the Mystere (including the first 50 production Mystere IVs) had been powered by the Tay built under license by Hispano-Suiza (the Ouragan had been powered by license-built Nenes).

French Mystere IVAs fought in the 1956 conflict with Eygpt, as did Mysteres IVAs of the Israeli Air Force.

It remained in front-line service with the French Air Force until the early 1960s, being replaced by the Mirage IIIC. It remained as a ground-attack aircraft until 1975, being replaced by the Jaguar. It further remained as an operational trainer until 1980, being replaced by the Alpha Jet.

The Mystere IVB was almost a new aircraft, with afterburning engines. This however did not enter production because of the development of the Super Mystere, which first flew on 2. March 1955. On 4. March this aircraft broke the sound barrier, making the Mystere the first West European production aircraft capable of exceeding the sound barrier in level flight.




Supplied to India from 1957. This was India's second non-British aircraft and approximately 110 served until they were finally phased out in 1973. During the 1956 War with Pakistan, they were used in a close air support role.


Delivered to Israel in 1956 and participated in the war of that year. Apparently overshadowed by the Mig, it was used in a support role. It was also used in the 1967 war, in a ground-attack role. Altogether 59 were supplied.



Other Mystere pages on the Internet,