France was the country that undertook the most serious tests with ramjet technology applied to manned aviation. The Griffon family had its origen in some postwar designs made by Arsenal and later SFECMAS. Originally it was intended to be a posible bi-supersonic fighter, but the 2 prototypes built were completed as research tools only. The program started in a very conservative way with the Griffon I equipped only with a conventional ATAR 101F turbojet. Even in that castrated form the Griffon I achieved a very promising Mach 1.7. The Griffon II was the real deal powered by the turbo-ramjet: an ATAR 101F + a ramjet. It reached Mach 2.19 in 1958 showing clearly its true potential. Sadly, French metallurgy wasn’t up the task to counter the heat generated by this awesome engine. The availability of the simply elegant Mirage III put the last nail into the coffin to this bold adventure.
August drawing of the Griffon II flyin’ high… as it should be.
Artist: Julien Camp