Even before the war in Iraq, spearheaded by the US military, began in 2003, Dassault Aviation was feeling the impact of decreased sales in the military jet business. Dassault Aviation, which is France’s only manufacturer of military warplanes, lost several orders to large US-based companies in the past decade. Such orders include a $4.4 billion, 40-jet order in South Korea in Spring of 2003, which was won by US aerospace giant Boeing.Dassault also lost a $3.5 billion, 48-jet contract to US defense giant Lockheed Martin, which was chosen by Poland.
For countries such as France and Germany, which opposed to the US war in Iraq, this led to a decrease in sales as a result of America cutting these contractors out of the enormous American arms market. Even for countries such as Great Britain, which supported the US in the Iraq war, it proved more difficult to work with European partners in developing weapons systems that required efforts from multiple countries. With this being said, Dassault Aviation is aware of its struggles and trying to move away from dependence on military contracts. Just ten years ago, arms sales composed 70% of Dassault’s revenue, whereas today it is composed 70% of corporate jet sales.
Dassault Aviation is a French manufacturer of both military, regional, and business jets and operates as a subsidiary of Dassault Group, a collection of French-based companies. Reported revenues are 4.593 billion euros, with 487 million euros in net income annually. The company employs 11,600 people. It was originally founded in 1929 as Societe des Avions Marcel Bloch, which was later changed to Avioncs Marcel Dassault. It was renamed Dassault Aviation in 1990. The company’s most successful military jet models are the Mirage and Rafale jet series. Their civilian jets are all part of the Falcon Family, with the Falcon 900 being one of the most popular.
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