Origins and prototypes
In the mid-1960s, a new Mirage III derivative was introduced which enjoyed enormous export success : the Mirage 5.
On July 9, 1965, the management of the Corporation’s General Technical Department decided on the definition of a Mirage III E with a simplified layout. This low altitude tactical support and patrol aircraft was named the Mirage 5.
In place of the radar, the nose cone was to be fitted with the electronic navigation and attack equipment, thereby providing space for extra fuel. More attachment points were provided for external loads, while the booster rocket was removed.
The result was a less expensive aircraft, with 32% more fuel capacity than the Mirage III C and capable of carrying up to 14 bombs, not to mention a wealth of combinatory possibilities with numerous load configurations. The Israeli Air Force was very interested in the aircraft and requested 50.
Production and operational experience
The Mirage 5 first flew at Melun-Villaroche on May 19, 1967, piloted by Hervé Leprince-Ringuet.
The Israeli order for 50 Mirage 5 Js was signed in April 7, 1966. However, as a result of a French arms embargo in January of 1969, they could not be delivered, entering into service in the French Air Force instead.
In April 1976, the Mirage 5Fs of 3/13 Colmar Fighter Squadron won the Vulcan Trophy at the inter-allied Air Tactical Weapons contest.
A total 517 units have been produced for 11 different countries. The Mirage 5 is Dassault’s most widely exported combat aircraft.
Anecdotes and testimonies
France’s Air Force has taken delivery of 95 Mirage III C, 59 Mirage III B, B1, B2 and BE (the D version for the export market), 70 Mirage R and RD, 183 Mirage III E, and 50 Mirage 5 F, putting the total at 457 planes. The last of those planes were withdrawn from operational units in 1994. Some, however, were still used at CEV, a flight test center, after that.
The Mirage III/5/50 family points to France’s high-ranking position among the world’s industrial nations. A total 1 401 Mirage III/5/50, in 90 different versions, have been built since 1958. They have served in 21 countries around the world and clocked a combined 3 million flying hours.
Characteristics and performance
|Unladen weight||6 660 kg|
|Max. Speed||> 2||Top Mach level flight|
|Max. height||18 000 m / 59 000 ft||Service ceiling|
|Type||Snecma Atar 9C 58.8 kN|