Mirage III / Mirage 5
Although both the F-6 and the F-86E had a reasonable capabilities in the close support role, yet there was a need to regain the medium range day/night strike power which had been shared by the F-86F and the B-57 untill 1967. There was also the lingering gap in night air defence. To fulfil these requirements, the PAF turned to French Mirage fighter-bomber series.
With a combined total of 180 Mirage IIIs and Mirage 5s in service in 1998, the Pakistan Air Force is the world's second largest Mirage operator - second only to the French Armee d'l'Air (French Air Force). The Mirage entered service with the PAF in 1968. Mirage IIIs are high-speed, all weather, delta wing, long-range fighter-bombers while Mirage Vs are ground attack aircraft derived from the Mirage IIIs, which itself can also be employed in the interceptor role. The first order comprised of 18 Mirage III EPs, 13 Mirage III RPs, 3 Mirage III DPs plus 28 Mirage 5 PAs, 4 Mirage 5 DPAs, 30 Mirage 5 PA2/3s. In 1990, PAF obtained 43 used Mirage III Os and 7 Mirage III ODs from Australia and then purchased 40 reconditioned Mirage III Es from France in 1996 pushing the total to 180 aircraft. The Mirage equips No. 5, No. 7, No. 8, No. 22 (OCU) and a CCS squadron.
One of the most elegant aircraft ever flown, the Mirage III has a large delta wing and circular intakes with shock cones. A rectangular recess under the aft fuselage can contain either a fuel tank or a rocket engine. It has improved Doppler navigation system in fairing under front fuselage, gyro gunsight and nose packing containing Omera 40 and 33 cameras. The Mirage 5 was a fair-weather attack development of the Mirage III. It can also be flown as an interceptor. The reduction of electronic equipment allows more fuel and reduces cost.
The project "ROSE" (Retrofit of Strike Element") was set up to reclaim as many airplanes as possible and to upgrade them with latest avionics. Originally it was thought that only 20 - 25 airframes could be made operational but eventually, more than 40 airframes were refurbuished and put back in service. The avionics upgrade included fitting of HUD, HOTAS controls, RWR's chaff / flare and most important of all the retrofit of FIAR Griffo Radar. This radar is the Italian copy of APG-68 and has full look down shoot down capability.
- ROSE: Retrofit Of Strike Element: Is actually the major (Avionics + Radar) upgrade that the PAF Mirage fleet underwent during the 90s.
- ROSE-I: This included upgraded cockpit instrumentation, Grifo-M Radar and weapons system reconfiguration. (BVR-able).
- ROSE-II: This included the Sagem implemented MAESTRO Nav/Attack System. (Strike).
- ROSE-III: This included the Sagem MAESTRO Nav/Attack and FLIR. (Precision Strike). Mirage ROSE-III can carry out surgical strike missions using long-range glide bombs.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|