At the end of World War II in 1945, the French aviation industry was in disarray. The German occupation ultimately hindered and destroyed many pre-war and pre-war plans, while several remaining industrial players were tasked with revitalizing the once prosperous industry.
Founded in 1929 by Marcel Dassault (nee Bloch), Dassault Aviation was one of the contributors to the resurrection of the French aviation industry, with many projects in the post-war period developed around the growing popularity of turbojets.
The concept of a "swing wing" or variable-sweep wing is another product of the postwar period. With this arrangement, the main aircraft, or a portion thereof, can be swept in flight as required. This arrangement proved to be a cornerstone of Cold War (1947-1991) designs such as the American Grumman F-14 Tomcat naval fighter and the European PANAVIA Tornado fighter-bomber (both detailed elsewhere on this page). The ability to "sweep" the wing forward or backward provides different lift and drag characteristics for different parts of the aircraft's flight envelope - low-sweep wings are optimal for low-speed, low-altitude flight, while progressive sweep Wings are suitable for low-altitude flight.
High speed flight is required.
Dassault is one of the few (probably the only) French companies that has made significant progress in this area, with several of its developments based on the "moving wing" concept. One such product at the time was the "MD. 117-33", which most likely appeared as a "paper" airplane in the 1960s. In this proposed fighter/interceptor design, the aircraft has a typical central cylindrical fuselage, rather slender in shape, with extended wing roots to accommodate variable geometry wing controls.
The main aircraft is located amidships aft of the cockpit, which is close to the nose and uses a monoplane vertical at the tail, which also uses a low-level horizontal plane. For ground operations, the aircraft is designed with a modern retractable tricycle landing gear.
The cockpit should have a good view of what is happening around the front of the aircraft, although this will be affected by the raised ridge behind the seats. Ahead of the cockpit is a slender nose cone, likely housing a radar unit.
The canopy is a two-piece design with a lightweight frame and ejection seat, and is likely to be integrated into the aircraft at some point.
One of the most striking physical features of this proposed single-seat twin-engine 3.0+ fighter jet is the pod nacelle with the turbojet housing. They are mounted as close to the fuselage as possible on the sides of the fuselage and under the large wing roots.
Shock cones are present at their inlet ends and venting is done through traditional circular ports.
Despite the promise of this superfast aircraft on paper, the MD seems to have too many design issues to overcome. 117-33 becomes a viable player. Issues of note focus on proper balance, overall airflow, structural integrity of the various components and sections of the hypervelocity aircraft, overall engine positioning and layout of the entire fighter jet, and basic concept coverage of a fighter/interceptor capable of flying above Mach 3. French airspace.
Still, the project doesn't seem to go beyond an official three-view drawing.
- X-Plane / Development
60.37 ft (18.4 m)
47.24 ft (14.4 m)
2,302 mph (3,705 km/h; 2,001 knots)
80,052 ft (24,400 m; 15.16 mi)
MD. 117-33 - Base Project Designation.