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Mirage III

The Mirage-III was developed in the latter half of the 1950's, with its experimental prototype making the first flight in November 1956. The aircraft was produced in several versions, with the primary ones presently being: theMirage-IIIE tactical fighter, Mirage-IIIC fighter-interceptor, Mirage-IIIR reconnaissance aircraft and Mirage-IIID operational trainer.

The Mirage-IIIE Tactical Fighter was developed in 1961, with deliveries to French Air Force line units beginning in 1964. A total of some 530 such aircraft were built and they were in the inventory of the air forces of 13 countries, including Argentina, the ARE [Arab Republic of Egypt], Australia, Brazil, Spain, Pakistan, YuAR [Republic of South Africa] and Switzerland. It is designed in a tailless configuration with a low-set delta wing having a sweptback on the leading edge of around 61. The wing is fitted with ailerons controlled with the help of hydraulic drives. Airbrake flaps are located on the upper and lower wing surfaces. There is a tricycle landing gear with air pressure in the main-wheel tires of 6-10 kg/cm2. There is a braking parachute on the aircraft to reduce the length of the landing run.

The power plant consists of one Atar 9C TRDF [turbojet engine with afterburner] with a thrust of 6,200 kg during boost. The engine air intakes are laterally placed and controllable. To improve acceleration characteristics the fighter can be fitted with a suspended rocket booster accommodated beneath the fuselage and developing a thrust of 1,500 kg. The total capacity of the aircraft's internal fuel tanks is 3,000 liters. In addition, two jettisonable fuel tanks, each of 625, 1,100, 1,300 or 1,700 liters, or two 500 liter non-jettisonable tanks designed for supersonic flight speeds, can be suspended beneath the wing.

A Martin-Baker RM4 ejection seat is installed in the fighter which allows the pilot to leave the aircraft on the ground at a speed of around 170 km/hr. Two independent hydraulic systems operating at a pressure of 210 kg/cm2 provide for operation of aircraft controls, landing gear and brakes. The DC power sources are a storage battery and a 26.5 volt dc generator. A transformer and one 10 kilovolt-amp generator produce 200 volt 400 Hz alternating current.

The basic electronic components include a UHF communications radio, TACAN radio navigation system gear, Doppler meter for ground speed and drift, Cyrano-2 fire control radar, navigation EVM [electronic computer], bombing computer and automatic gunsight. The airborne radar is used primarily for detecting air-borne targets, but it also can serve for observing the earth's surface, thus making it easier to solve navigational problems.

The fighter's built-in weapons consist of two DEFA 30-mm cannon (each with a unit of fire of 125 rounds) located in the fuselage. They are used to hit both ground and airborne targets. Two 1,000 pound bombs or two bombs and oneAS-30 air-to-surface guided missile (beneath the fuselage) ordinarily are suspended beneath the wings for delivering attacks against ground targets. By the early 1980s, some 30 Mirage-IIIE fighters of the French Air Force were platforms for AN-52 15 KT tactical nuclear bombs. To hit airborne targets the aircraft can carry one Matra R.530 medium-range guided missile(beneath the fuselage) and two Sidewinder short-range aerial combat missiles(beneath the wings).

The Mirage-IIIC Fighter-Ineterceptor was developed in 1960. A total of more than 240 aircraft were produced, of which 72 were supplied to the Israeli Air Force (with the designation Mirage-IIICJ) and 16 to the Republic of South Africa Air Force (Mirage-IIICZ). The fighter was fitted with the Atar-9B engine with a thrust of 6,000 kg. Basic weapons include one Matra R.530 guided missile (suspended beneath the fuselage) and two Sidewinder guided missiles (beneath the wings), with two built-in DEFA 30-mm cannon. The aircraft also can be used as an attack aircraft, in which case it carries two 1,000 pound bombs or one AS-30 air-to-surface guided missile (beneath the fuselage) and bombs or launchers with free-flight rockets (beneath the wings).

The Mirage-IIIR Reconnaissance Aircraft was developed in late 1961 based on theMirage-IIIE fighter. Its basic reconnaissance equipment includes five Omera Type 31 aerial cameras (AFA's) accommodated in the nose portion of the fuselage in place of the airborne radar. These cameras can be installed in one of four versions, providing for photo reconnaissance from low, medium and high altitudes as well as at night. A total of some 160 Mirage-IIIR aircraft (including the Mirage-IIIR2Z and Mirage-IIIRD) was ordered for the air forces of nine foreign countries. Aircraft of the first modification were fitted with the Atar-9K50 engine and were supplied to the Republic of South Africa Air Force during 1974-1975.

The Mirage-IIIRD basically is similar to the Mirage-IIIR, but it has an improved Doppler navigation system, gyrostabilized optical gunsight, and Omera Type 40and 33 cameras in the nose. Such aircraft are in the order of battle of Pakistan's Air Force (the composition of airborne electronics was changed) and the French Air Force.

The Mirage-IIID Operational Trainer was manufactured in Australia in addition to France. It differs from the fighter primarily by the two-seat cockpit and absence of an airborne radar. In addition to training purposes, it can be used for delivering strikes against ground targets. A total of some 185 aircraft of this type was built and sold to approximately 20 countries.

The Mirage-IIING Tactical Fighter was an experimental aircraft of the new generation of the Mirage-III series and the plans were to supply it for export. Certain technical and industrial solutions used in the Mirage-Fl, Mirage-2000 and Mirage-4000 aircraft were used in developing the fighter. The power plant consists of one Atar-9K50 TRDF. Giving the Mirage-IIING a delta wing with greater sweepback on the leading edge and with forward aerodynamic surfaces improved stability and controllability characteristics, especially when flying at large angles of attack. The fighter's control system is electro-remote. The radio navigation equipment, airborne fire control system and ECM equipment were borrowed from the Mirage-2000 and Mirage-Fl.

The aircraft's built-in armament consists of two DEFA-552 30-mm cannon with a total unit of fire of 250 rounds, and the suspended armament is accommodated on nine external stations (beneath the fuselage and wings). The maximum external payload is 4,000 kg. The Cyrano IV radar is the primary element of the fire control system. Auxiliary 1,300 liter or 1,700 liter fuel tanks can be suspended on the aircraft to increase range and flight duration. One Mirage-IIING had been built by mid-1983 and underwent evaluation flight testing.

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Page last modified: 05-05-2013 18:42:13 ZULU