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Author Topic: Anglo-French Mirage  (Read 1365 times)

Offline Siberia

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Anglo-French Mirage
« on: July 01, 2017, 01:07:03 pm »
Whilst Anglo-French mirage could equally refer to foreign relations between the two countries at times this thread is about the Mirage III, and what might have happened if it had been developed as an Anglo-French joint project. :) The Fairey Delta 2 was built as an experimental aircraft which first flew in 1954 that when during testing the company realised they might have something special on their hands tried their hand at breaking the air speed record, without much in the way of government encouragement, and managed to beat it by 310 mph - an increase of 37 per cent. Despite this massive leap forward the government, for various reasons, wasn't all that interested in any of the proposed derivatives that Fairey proposed. During roughly the same period Dassault was working on a French government specification that would eventually develop into the Mirage III that we all know. Fairey actually supplied Dassault with data from the Delta 2 just as NACA was freely sharing experimental data with both of them and other companies - this being the more important of the two for the Mirage, there was a lot of cooperation during the period what with the Korean War having ended only a few years previously and the Cold War being in full swing.

So what if Fairey seeing that there's not much in the way of official interest for turning the Delta 2 into a production aircraft and that Dassault are working on a similar aircraft lobby the government that in the spirit of European cooperation and off the back of having just smashed the world record they approach the French government about merging the two programmes into a joint project? It's not as wholly unrealistic as it sounds in my opinion. When Germany was looking likely to buy the Lockheed F-104 in the late-1950s/early-1960s Dassault, Fairey, and Rolls-Royce came together to offer a Mach 2 capable alternative, slightly later when Australia was evaluating the Mirage the French government apparently influenced SNECMA to not try and sell their Atar engine too heavily as it was felt that a Rolls-Royce engined variant would be more likely to make the sale. So in this scenario the French government is agreeable and heavily leans on Dassault to get them to go along, design work proceeds and what emerges is likely pretty much our timeline's Mirage III/IIIS. Presaging Panavia a decade or so later a joint company staffed by representatives of both companies is founded in France, production of different parts of the aircraft divvied up between them for manufacture before being shipped to France for final assembly, with the customers being offered a choice of fitting either SNECMA or Rolls-Royce engines and French or British radar/electronics.

The first question that springs to mind is, assuming that they're successful, which countries if any might be interested in buying this Mirage who in our timeline bought alternative aircraft, or, that bought the Mirage but might for some reason turn elsewhere? Looking at the specifications of the Mirage whilst it might not have been quite as fast as the English Electric Lightning, with RATO, either the original integral rocket or strap-on ones, it appears to have developed into something pretty close or at least close enough. Stick a large radar in the nose and I have to wonder which aircraft it might have been able to replace in RAF service, there are a couple of possibilities I think, and what sort of knock-ons that might have. Future developments involving the Rolls-Royce Spey or if developed the Thames as a drop in replacement would be interesting. Another question is what would Fairey do with all this extra income? I have vague memories of their having a couple of interesting guided weapons projects ongoing during or shortly after this time period, does having an outside revenue stream allow them to develop them further?

Apologies if this has been previously discussed, I did a quick search but couldn't see anything. Likewise if I've dropped any absolute clangers. :)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 01:09:27 pm by Siberia »

Offline Kadija_Man

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2017, 04:32:58 am »

Offline zen

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2017, 03:43:39 pm »
While it is possible that a development of Fairey's Delta II could achieve some success, French domestic politics (leaving aside the UK politics) would make any Dassault tie up near impossible and Mr Dassault himeself is a significant figure in why.

What seems odd is that I've not actually read of such an offering from Fairey, who tendered two variants wrapped around a larger engine...I seem to reccal the DH Gyron, which put them closer in size to a sort of UK F102 Delta Dagger./F106 Delta Dart.

Strictly speaking a lot of what the Lightning delivers could be achieved with a Avon powered Delta II, and this would directly compete with both Mirage III, Lockheed's F104 Starfighter and SAAB's Drakken.
With Ai.23, twin ADEN 30mm, and a pair of Fireflash.....

Though for the lightning-like rates of climb the larger Gyron/Olmypus/RB.122 would be needed.

Offline kaiserd

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2017, 04:30:12 pm »
Having read the recent French Secret Projects book (which I would highly recommend) I would note that many Mirage projects featured UK (primarily Rolls Royce) engines.
Famously there was also a prototype Mirage III with a RR Avon rather than an ATAR which turned out to be more expensive and inferior to the ATAR powered original.
There are a number of factors at play why production Mirages never saw a UK engine.
At the time each countries sense of nationalism (and snobbery) about their own aircraft and engines was still very strong. Also buying a domestic engine reduced exposure to currency fluctuations and the like.
Also it should be noted that many British engines of this time weren't successful or were not pursued (partially because there were no airframes to put them in). It is also somewhat true that the British perception of their engines superiority over their French equivalents were somewhat exaggerated (especially in a fighter aircraft context); the ATAR as it evolved was well tailored to use in supersonic fighters. This was not especially truth of the likes of the RR Sprey (theoretically more advanced first generation turbofan engines were better suited to subsonic and lower altitude operating envelopes versus the contemporary turbojet fighter engine).

Offline zen

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2017, 07:50:39 am »
That's not the story we hear on this side of the Channel.

Mirage with Avon proved superior to the then Atari powered offerings but this is in context of trying to entice the RAAF. Who had had such a bad experience with the Avon Sabre, that they had vowed to never again do such a thing.


Avon Etendard was offered to India, but their naval air arm, felt that even with the Avon the aircraft had too high a landing weight and speed for their carrier.

Offline kaiserd

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2017, 11:12:58 am »
That's not the story we hear on this side of the Channel.

Mirage with Avon proved superior to the then Atari powered offerings but this is in context of trying to entice the RAAF. Who had had such a bad experience with the Avon Sabre, that they had vowed to never again do such a thing.


Avon Etendard was offered to India, but their naval air arm, felt that even with the Avon the aircraft had too high a landing weight and speed for their carrier.

Technically I'm even further your side of the Channel (Dublin Ireland) 😀.
Your comments helped spur me down this particular rabbit hole.
From some web research re: the ATAR v Avon for the Mirage III the ATAR was certainly substantially cheaper while the supposed performance performances of the Avon in the Mirage was in practise decidedly mixed (any hoped for superior performance advantages were at best dissapointing) with developments of the ATAR looked more promising for future increases in thrust (at the time the decision was made).
Best source I found was http://www.radschool.org.au/Books/the_raaf_mirage_story_opt.pdf (page 10 etc.)
Undoubtedly later in its career the Australian Mirage III could have done with more thrust; however in retrospect the arguments for the Avon when the decision was made were not as strong as some may pretend. In this time period when the UK struggled to sell very small numbers of Lightnings abroad the Mirage was massively successful British feelings were a bit raw and there was a tendency for them to perceive these decisions as somehow unfair.

Offline von hitchofen

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2017, 02:56:20 pm »
Quote from: zen
Mirage with Avon proved superior to the then Atar-powered offerings but this is in context of trying to entice the RAAF. Who had had such a bad experience with the Avon Sabre, that they had vowed to never again do such a thing.

 The RR Avon 67 RB.146  fitted to the 'City of Hobart' Mirage III produced 5620 kg of thrust (which converts into 55kN) in DRY; 7260 kg in RH (=71kN), turning a Mach 1 delta (with the Atar) into a Mach 2 delta, AIUI.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2017, 02:58:28 pm by von hitchofen »
BAE [abbr.] - in UK defence contracting, it stands for "Before Anyone Else"

Offline Deltafan

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2017, 04:09:18 pm »
Quote from: zen
Mirage with Avon proved superior to the then Atar-powered offerings but this is in context of trying to entice the RAAF. Who had had such a bad experience with the Avon Sabre, that they had vowed to never again do such a thing.

 The RR Avon 67 RB.146  fitted to the 'City of Hobart' Mirage III produced 5620 kg of thrust (which converts into 55kN) in DRY; 7260 kg in RH (=71kN), turning a Mach 1 delta (with the Atar) into a Mach 2 delta, AIUI.
???

With the ATAR, the Mirage III was already a mach 2 delta.

Offline alertken

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2017, 02:19:15 am »
To the genuine, simple Starter Q - would an Anglo-French collaboration have been a good idea, separate from RR v SNECMA puff...No.

A Prime Contractor has his hands full when he is also the Design Authority. So, the ethos of AMD was...we are good at this. Quite right too. We have a Paymaster who is happy to pay, but who insisted on bits and bobs coming from here and there, within France, maybe Belgium, then other Buyers want their offset. So...why add the complexities of partnership, which as we all know has advantages...and distractions.

So AMD should only have contemplated true partnership, joint decision-making in these circumstances:
- can't do it alone. Well, AMD + their benevolent Paymaster could do it alone;
- don't want to do it alone, to poison pill the Paymaster changing his mind: that's why we did Concorde together. France was unlikely to take a US product and unemploy AMD/Mirage, so no need to cuddle up to Bifteks;
- Paymaster imposes collaboration for some political big picture. Here, 1950s...none such.

« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 02:21:43 am by alertken »

Offline Pioneer

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2017, 08:07:15 pm »

Avon Etendard was offered to India, but their naval air arm, felt that even with the Avon the aircraft had too high a landing weight and speed for their carrier.

Interesting Zen, could you direct me to more info on this Dassault Etendard offer to India please?

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Faithfulness and fortitude.
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 06:56:57 am »
That's not the story we hear on this side of the Channel.

Mirage with Avon proved superior to the then Atari powered offerings but this is in context of trying to entice the RAAF. Who had had such a bad experience with the Avon Sabre, that they had vowed to never again do such a thing.


Avon Etendard was offered to India, but their naval air arm, felt that even with the Avon the aircraft had too high a landing weight and speed for their carrier.

I hadn't heard of the Etendard being offered to the RAAF but I have read of the Avon version being offered to the RAN as the concept included blown flaps to permit operations from upgraded Colossus and Majestic class CVLs, of which France had one.

Offline zen

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2017, 09:52:33 am »
I was told of it over on warships 1.

But there is a book that covers it I believe.

Blueprint to Bluewater, the Indian Navy, 1951-65By Satyindra Singh


Offline GTX

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2017, 11:05:44 am »
That's not the story we hear on this side of the Channel.

Mirage with Avon proved superior to the then Atari powered offerings but this is in context of trying to entice the RAAF. Who had had such a bad experience with the Avon Sabre, that they had vowed to never again do such a thing.


Avon Etendard was offered to India, but their naval air arm, felt that even with the Avon the aircraft had too high a landing weight and speed for their carrier.

I hadn't heard of the Etendard being offered to the RAAF but I have read of the Avon version being offered to the RAN as the concept included blown flaps to permit operations from upgraded Colossus and Majestic class CVLs, of which France had one.

The original post said it was India, not Australia who was offered the Etendard. ::)
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 11:55:36 am by GTX »

Offline Archibald

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Conservatoire de l'Air et de l'Espace d'Aquitaine - Bordeaux - Mérignac / Dassault aviation museum
http://www.caea.info/en/plan.php

Offline Deltafan

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Re: Anglo-French Mirage
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2017, 01:15:51 pm »
Thanks Archibald. I did not know the Etendard IV "B"  :o