France was the country that undertook the most serious tests with ramjet technology applied to manned aviation. The Griffon family had its roots in some postwar designs made by Arsenal and later SFECMAS. Originally it was intended to be a posible bi-supersonic fighter, but the two prototypes built were completed just as research tools. 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 speed of 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, the 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 flying high, as it should be.
Artist: Julien Camp.