Following the closing of the Sud-Est SE 212 Durandal project in 1958 the company started research into large supersonic aircraft, and the aircraft that eventually became the Le Sahara stems from there. Initially built as a research aircraft for military contracts the airframe impressed the French air staff so much that they placed a limited order for 35 of the aircraft to equip 3 Squadrons in French overseas territories.
Service and UpgradesEditAs initially designed the aircraft only carried free fall weapons and no in flight re-fueling capability, but by its last incarnation the aircraft was fitted with a nose mounted in flight equipment, upgraded electronics, self defence missile hardpoints upon the wingtips for R530f missiles and 2 underwing hardpoints configured for extra fuel and finally the latest version of the De Gaul long range airborne missile.
The 91 disasterEdit
By the time of the 91 disaster the main base for the Le Sahara was at Dakar Ouakam, within Senegal, from where it was able to reach most assigned targets. during the disaster the aircraft flew missions against US and Soviet naval units, against ground targets in Angola and the Middle East.