Dassault Group is French aerospace company that designs and builds military aircraft, business jets and space systems. Dassault Aviation, the main subsidiary, is the international aircraft manufacturer of military, regional, and business jets. Dassault’s pioneer digital technologies, especially CATIA™, the 3D CAD/CAM system, has become a global standard.
It was first founded in 1929 by Marcel Bloch, as Société des Avions Marcel Bloch or “MB”. After World War II, Marcel Bloch changed his name to Marcel Dassault, and the name of the company was changed to Avions Marcel Dassault in 1947. In 1971 Dassault acquired Breguet, forming Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation (AMD-BA). In 1990 the company was renamed Dassault Aviation.
The company has created more than 100 prototypes since its inception, with over 10,000 aircraft delivered to 90 countries. Today it has in service 2,100 Falcon jets, 1,000 combat aircraft and employees 11,400 personnel across countries.
In 1954, Dassault established an electronics division (by 1962 named Electronique Marcel Dassault), the first action of which was to begin development of airborne radars, soon followed by seeker heads for air-to-air missiles, navigation, and bombing aids. From the 1950s to late 1970s exports become a major part of Dassault’s business, major successes were the Dassault Mirage series and the Mystere-Falcon.
In 1965 and 1966, the French government stressed to its various defence suppliers the need to specialize to maintain viable companies. Dassault was to specialise in combat and business aircraft, Nord Aviation in ballistic missiles and Sud Aviation civil and military transport aircraft and helicopters.
Dassault Systèmes was established in 1981 to develop and market Dassault’s CAD program, CATIA. Dassault Systèmes was to become a market leader in this field.
Within fifteen years or so, thanks to developments in I.T., the industrial design offices went from using drawing boards to computerized 3D-modelling. Physical models were replaced by virtual digital mock-ups enabling a first version to be produced that is directly operational. This veritable industrial revolution was made possible thanks to PLM software (Product Lifecycle Management) from Dassault Systemes.
“Virtual plateau” technology, allowing all the design offices to work together simultaneously within short deadlines, was deployed for the Falcon 7X trijet program. In this way, for the first time, the primary parts and physical assembly of the first Falcon 7X were produced and carried out at Bordeaux-Mérignac without the slightest adjustment or correction.
Sogitec, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dassault, makes advanced avionics simulation, 3D imaging, military flight simulators, and document imaging systems.