In the middle of the 1950s some NATO Air Forces searched for a new leightweight and cheap fighter aircraft that is quick to produce. So Dassault started to develop such an aircraft.At first three prototypes were build, which were named II, VI and IV. Development of the prototype called Étendard II was cancelled (first flight 23rd July 1956) because of engine problems, despite that it was a twin engine aircraft it was still not powerful enough to meet the requirements. The single engine Étendard VI (first flight 15th March 1957) was cancelled in favor of the Fiat G.91 leightweight fighter.
But the Étendard IV (first flight 24th July 1956) having greater range and thrust was company funded. Finally, in the year 1956, the French Navy was interested in the design. The aircraft was now redesigned and called Étendard IVM. In the first contract the French Navy ordered a single prototype, which had its first flight on 21st May 1958, and six pre-production aircraft. These pre-service aircraft were modified for carrier-service before. All in all 69 Étendard IVM aircraft have been built. They entered service on the French aircraft carriers Clemenceau and Foch in the year 1962.
Because of the aircraft's great success it was succeeded by the more advanced Super Étendard, a direct development of it. The last Étendard IVM were retired in the year 1991.