The Breguet-Dassault-Dornier TA501 was declared the winner of a design competition on 23 July 1970, with full development approved in February 1972. Two prototypes were built by Dassault in France and two were to be built by Dornier in Germany. The first French prototype performed its first flight at Istres on 26 October 1973, with the first German prototype following from Oberpfaffenhofen on 9 January 1974.
The French Air Force decided to use the Alpha Jet primarily as a trainer, and the first production Alpha Jet for the French performed its first flight on 4 November 1977. The French variant was known as the Alpha Jet E or Alpha Jet Advanced Trainer/Light Attack aircraft. Initial deliveries to France for service trials were in 1978, leading to introduction to line service in May 1979, replacing the Canadair T-33 and Fouga Magister in jet training and the Dassault Mystère IVA in weapons training. The Patrouille de France, air demonstration team of the French Air Force, fly the Alpha Jet.
The Luftwaffe decided to use the Alpha Jet mainly in the light strike role, preferring to continue flight training in the United States on American trainers, although Germany also used Alpha Jets based at Beja, Portugal for weapons training. The first production German Alpha Jet performed its maiden flight on 12 April 1978, with deliveries beginning in March 1979. It was designated the Alpha Jet A or Alpha Jet Close Support variant.
Manufacture of Alpha Jet sub-assemblies was divided between France and Germany, with plants in each country performing final assembly and checkout.
N12AU served the German Luftwaffe until approximately 1998.
|Date of Manufacture
|Light attack / Trainner
|Dornier Alpha Jet
|7320 lbs (clean config)
|540 gal (internal) / 704 gal (with externals)
|Snecma Larzac 04
|540 KTAS (level) / 550 KIAS / 0.95 IMN
|Rate of Climb
|480 KTAS at FL280
|Number of Crew
|1 or 2
|27mm Mauser BK-27 Revolver cannon in centerline pod
|5,500 lb of payload on five hardpoints, including bombs, rockets and missles
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