On this day, in 1959, the Mirage IV made its first flight at Melun-Villaroche with Roland Glavany at the controls.
For its third flight, on June 20, 1959, Mirage IV 01 was authorized to make a flight pass over the Paris Air Show with General de Gaulle among the onlookers. On September 19, 1960, at 05:05 pm, René Bigand took off from Melun-Villaroche in Mirage IV 01 and broke the world speed record over a 1 000-km closed circuit (1 822 km/h). Flight 138, on September 23, corroborated the initial performance and pushed the record on a 500-km closed circuit to an average of 1 972 km/h, flying between Mach 2.08 and Mach 2.14.
A new definition of the aircraft, with Snecma Atar 9 D engines was approved in October 1959 under the name Mirage IV A. The requirements were for a take-off weight of 32 tons and a minimum range of 1 100km/594 nm (of which one half at supersonic speed), which could be augmented by in-flight refueling.
When it entered into service back in 1964, the Mirage IV A was the first European military aircraft capable of sustained flight at Mach 2; it is still the only one in Western Europe.