On this day, in 1958, the Mirage III A made its first flight at Melun-Villaroche, piloted by Roland Glavany.
The Mirage III A is the descendant of the model I. Designed and built after the Korea war (1950-1953) within the framework of the light interceptor program defined by the French Air Force, the Mirage III was a bomber fighter aircraft. Mach 2 flight –quite an exploit for the end of the 1950s – was achieved for the first time in western Europe by Roland Glavany.
On May 9, 1957, the Secretariat of State for the Air Force ordered 10 pre-production Mirage III A. As the Air Force did not have the resources to finance a different aircraft type for each mission profile, the Mirage was to be manufactured as a single-role aircraft for all industrial purposes, but multi-role for military purposes, with a structure that could be adjusted depending on its mission.
The manufacture of the Mirage III was divided up between GAMD and several partners or subcontractors. The assembly line was organized in such a way that every aircraft would be completed just in time, according to its specialized role. In simple terms, it could be said that each aircraft had the same airframe and the same engine but could be delivered in any four different versions.
We can see the Mirage III A 01 at the Air and Space Museum during the permanent exhibition.