The SEPECAT Jaguar is an Anglo-French ground attack
aircraft in service with the Armée de l’Air, the Royal Air Force and
several export customers, notably India. It was the product of the world's
first bi-national military aircraft program.
The Jaguar program began in the early 1960s, in response to a British
requirement for an advanced supersonic jet trainer, and a French need for
a cheap, subsonic dual role trainer and attack aircraft with good short
field performance. From these apparently disparate aims would come a
single and entirely different aircraft: relatively high-tech, supersonic,
and optimised for ground attack in a high-threat environment. It was
planed as a replacement for the RAF Hawker Hunter and the Armee de l'Air
F-100 Super Sabre.
Cross-channel negotiations led to the formation of SEPECAT (the Société
Européenne de Production de l'Avion d'Ecole de Combat et d'Appui Tactique)
in 1966 as a joint venture between Bréguet (the design leader) and the
British Aircraft Corporation to produce the airframe, and a separate
teaming of Rolls-Royce and Turboméca to develop the Adour afterburning
The first of 8 prototypes flew on September 8, 1968. It was an orthodox
single-seat, swept-wing, twin-engine design with a maximum take-off weight
in the 15 tonne class, a wingspan of 8.7m, and overall length of 16.8 m.
Combat radius on internal fuel was 850 km, maximum speed Mach 1.6 (Mach
1.1 at sea level) and hardpoints were fitted for an external weapons load
of up to 10 tonnes.
The Armee de l'Air took delivery of the first production Jaguar in 1973:
one of an eventual 160 single-seat Jaguar As. For type conversion
training, France also took 40 of the two-seat Jaguar B. The RAF accepted
delivery of the first of 165 single-seat Jaguar GR.1s (or "Jaguar S") in
1974. These were supplemented by 35 two-seat trainers, the Jaguar T2 (or
"Jaguar B" according to the manufacturer's designation). The proposed M
variant, a carrier launched version, was cancelled.
Jaguars were also sold on the export with some success, the largest single
customer being India, which built around 100 under license. Other Jaguar
operators are Ecuador, Nigeria and Oman.
The aircraft has been updated several times and remains in front-line
service with Britain and France. It is now replaced by the Eurofighter
Typhoon and the Rafale.