The Europe nations of NATO wanted a replace such aircraft as the US-built Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star and French-built Fouga Magister in the early 1960s. The result of this collaboration, the SEPECAT Jaguar, proved to be an excellent aircraft, but its definition had changed in the interim, and the type emerged as a full-sized, nuclear-capable strike fighter. The need for an non-atomic ground attack\strike plane remained and the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet was the result of this requirement being for-filled.
In 1990, four Alpha Jets of the Nigerian Air Force were deployed in support of Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) forces stationed in Liberia, which were engaged in combat with the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) following an international intervention in the Liberian Civil War. In a series of strikes, these aircraft targeted and launched successful attacks upon Charles Taylor's HQ, rebel convoys and shipping, and gun emplacements at Roberts International Airport; the results of their intervention was judged by the New York Times to have given ECOMOG forces a decisive advantage in fire power.
In 1992, six Nigerian Alpha Jets were placed directly under ECOMOG command, and employed against the NPLF in an extensive campaign of air strikes, road interdictions missions, anti-shipping sorties, and night raids (a task which the Alpha Jet was not normally equipped to perform). They were even employed to deny access to key bridges in order to give ECOMOG ground forces time to capture them before they were sabotaged. In total, Alpha Jets flew approximately 3,000 combat missions in support of ECOMOG, sustaining no losses but incurring some damage from anti-aircraft artillery.
Swiss firm RUAG Aviation offers full support services for the Alpha Jet in cooperation with Dassault Aviation; services provided includes recommissioning, servicing, inspections, system upgrades integration work, along with technical and logistic support.
Abbatare Inc. of Arlington, Washington, under the name of "Alpha Jets USA", has imported a number of Alpha Jets into the United States, the firm modifies and sells individual aircraft in the civilian market.
Canadian aviation specialist Discovery Air has a military division, Discovery Air Defence, which operates a fleet of Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and Alpha Jets as adversary aircraft in air combat training exercised; these are often operated under contract for various military clients.
Multiple civil aerial display teams have procured Alpha Jets, such as the Flying Bulls and Mustang High Flight Aerobatics teams.
H211, a private company which manages the planes owned and leased byGoogle execs Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt, operates a single Alpha Jet, based at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. It is reportedly equipped with scientific instrumentation and used for research purposed.
Considerable foreign sales were expected for the Alpha Jet, with the type becoming available before its main rival, the United Kingdom's BAE Systems Hawk. The two types, being relatively similar in role and specifications, ended up competing for many of the same contracts. This competition led to aviation commentator stating of the two aircraft:
- "What Europe must avoid is the kind of wasteful competition that has the Hawker Siddeley Hawk and Dassault-Breguet/Dornier Alpha Jet battling against each other in the world market."
- — John W. R. Taylor, Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1975-1976.
Several other nations also obtained the Alpha Jet E, including the Ivory Coast (7), Morocco (24), Nigeria (24), Qatar (6) and Togo (5). All of these machines were from French production except for the 24 Nigerian aircraft, which were from W. German production.
Also see- http://againstallodds.wikia.com/wiki/Dassault/Dornier_Alpha_Jet for an interesting alternate history story (Against All Odds\Hearts of Iron II) about the jet.