Mirage project and numbers


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6 June 2006
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Aparently at the beginning the first Mirage were named by number such as I, II, III and the like. If I understand well

Mirage I
Small interceptor, 2 Viper 930 kgp each

Mirage II
Bigger interceptor, 2 Gabizo 1500 kgp each

Mirage III
Final interceptor, 1 Atar 101 4500 kgp

Mirage IV
More powerfull, mach2 Mirage III.
3 studies
- 1 Atar 9 , 6000 kgp (become the Mirage III we all know)
- 1 Super Atar, 9000 kgp (abandoned because of the engine)
- 2 atar 9 (Mirage IVC become the bomber Mirage IVA)

Mirage V
Naval fighter, delta with tail, Super Atar 8500 kgp.

I just ask if there was a Mirage VI project?? anybody has data about it?
Mirage 1000:

I've seen references to a scaled down Mirage 2000, but I don't know if this is just an "extrapolation" based on mere conjecture.

Mirage 2000

Mirage 3000:

A twin RB.199 engined Mirage 2000 derivative. Strangely, no drawings have ever come to light?

Mirage 4000:

A "Hindustan Times" article recently indicated that this program might have been revived.

Mirage 6000:

A reference to a "Mirage 6000" appeared on the KeyPublishishing forum a couple of years ago? Does anyone know anything more?
I heard, too about this Mirage 3000 with two RB-199... is the RB-199 smaller than the M-53?
The hindustan article is probably an error... the 4000 is at le Bourget museum from october 1992; it stop flying in January 1988, nearly 20 years ago! Dassault had enormous difficulties to sold the Rafale abroad, so the 4000 is probably out of question... but I just love this plane, too!!
TinWing said:

Mirage 6000:

A reference to a "Mirage 6000" appeared on the KeyPublishishing forum a couple of years ago? Does anyone know anything more?

Wasn't this Mach-3 design called Mirage 6000 ???

cheers, Deino
A myth!!! MiG-25-like, two M-53, Aviation Magazine june 1969...
Deino, this remind me a topic on Key Publishing Aviation forum... just found it!!! And we need you more often in the whatif modeler forum... :)
... here it is the Mega-Mirage !! ... if it ever was a real Mirage !


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To me its not really a Mirage because of the air intakes.. there's no "souris" anymore...the Rafale, too, renounced to the "Souris" so it is not a Mirage anymore...
I just love this concept!
One day I'll make a model of this plane (no too difficult, slauthering a MiG-25...)
Deino said:
... here it is the Mega-Mirage !! ... if it ever was a real Mirage !

This drawing is real in the sense that Tony Buttler apparently had it published in Air Enthusiast. We can take it at face value.

Is this an early twin M53 proposal dating from the 1969 Paris Air Show? I am willing to accept that. With all of the references made to the M53 as originally a "high altitude Mach 3" design, it is reasonable to suppose that Dassault proposal of this sort was made.

It does seem as if 1969 was at least 10 years too late for such a proposal to seem credible. Of course, it would make sense if you consider the M53 to be a mere revival of the late 1950s "Super Atar."
Concerning the M-53 to my knowledge the program started in july 1968, first engine ran in 1970.
First flight test was on a Caravelle airliner in July 1972, and the Mirage F-1E supersonic testbed (later F-16 competitor for the deal of the century) flew in December 1973.
Concerning French aviation, we have a problem with its preservation...a big problem. Here's some examples...

I heard that in GB or the USA, associations regularly fly F-100 or Sea Vixen. Of course, their guns, bombs and the like are decomissioned, so they are not considred as weapon anymore by the law...
This is totally impossible in France... sometimes,french warbirds owners have to fight against laws which considers their planes as weapons! Others laws tend to prohibit airshows and the like.

As you can see, French web-aviation is quite poor; it is quite impossible to found datas about early prototypes of the 1945-1960 era, but also about some Mirage prototypes (Mirage F-2 / F-3, Mirage G/ G8 and so on).
concerning firms, its the same thing... their story from 1936 to the 70's is quite complicated, ad there's not one website to explain that clearly...
Maybe one day I try to do one, but it's not easy then to promote it...
Well I created a website where I try to explain some things about french aviation... it's the beginning, i must complete it and add photos. Here's the adress... http://frenchaviation.populus.ch
There's some explanations about french aviation firms (how they were roganised in 1936)
Great !
Congratulations, a very good start !
To be fair, things have become a little bit better over the last years. When I began
my search for french post-war aircraft, the SE.2410 for example, was unknown even
to most aviation enthusiasts and there were no pictures in the net. French military jet
a/c just were Mirage, Mirage and Mirage ... Due to the work of some people, you can
find better infos today, one who should be mentioned, I think is Bruno Parmentier,
owner of http://www.aviafrance.com/.
But I really can imagine, that the nationalisation was in some respect the reason, that
informations and documents were lost. Merging two or more companies usually results
in "savings", money, manpower and probably room, formerly occupied by piles of old
paper ... and at least the SNCAN /Nord Aviation archives were lost due to fire and I
think, I read something like that in connection with another company.
Of course, such things con happen everywhere, but maybe there was little bit of
indifference with regard to such themes ?
The british are said to be a nation of collectors. Are the french collectors, too ? ;D

But : There are still Lightnings and Buccaneers flying, but not in GB, but in South
Africa ! ;)
Some French try to collect warbirds, but its much difficult than in GB. Why? Idon't know really... people are less interesting by aircraft, and more Governement don't help very much! As I say, laws are not favorable to aircraft collection in France because of weapon legislation.

There's also problems with Le Bourget museum... there's no global project so the museum is quite degraded now.
It lacks room for its collections, but new buildings are too expensive, and there's a lack of public funds to support the museum. That's why some planes stay outside, exposed to wheather conditions...

I agree with you, it's hard finding informations on the prototypes of the 1946-1952 era. Its mainly because they were all failure...
War devastation hampered the french aircraft industry... we have to learn how making good jets, and it took 7 years until 1952. This year was really the year of the revival...

Thanks you for the comments on my website! I'll try to add photos...
I know Aviafrance quite well, it's a good site, but datas are scarce...
With regards as to the Mirage IV:

A derived design for an SST.
(h/t hesham)


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Found this beauty :

The site present it as "Mirage IV ATAR 9C"... which is not very detailed. Looks like an elongated Mirage IVA. Too bad I can't read what is on the nose.
From here :
Thanks !
A pity I did the color profiles for that book (without been even credited) and I don't have it ...
Just for the fun of it, I made a little "family tree" of Dassault combat jets.

Fun fact: it is possible to draw a line all the way from Ouragan to Rafale via some "pivotal" key designs.


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Why did they name everything Mirage? It doesn't half get me confused at times:confused:
I’m curious about the dimensions given regarding the ATAR 9C Mirage IV. It is clearly longer than a Mirage IV, yet its length is given as being shorter. Am I missing something?
From memory - the refueling boom was nose-mounted. Not sure which Mirage IV-01 / Mirage IVA prototypes had it or not. The C-135FR decision come late, and the aircraft even later (1958-1964).
Why did they name everything Mirage? It doesn't half get me confused at times:confused:

I readily agree that Dassault naming system is a complete mess. :rolleyes: :D Don't start me on this, there is no clear logic.

Unlike the Air Force and other US military services who, like Wikipedia nowadays, seemingly had lists for every single bit of combat aircraft.

On paper at list, "Mirage" = "delta wing" followed by roman numbers
I = 1
II = 2
III = 3
IV = 4
V = 5

and then it would be declined into
- Mirage F (= Flèche, swept wing)
- Mirage G (= variable Geometry)

And then it went completely down the drain. Mirage III derivatives spilled all over the alphabet and beyond and outside.

Mirage 50 - WTF ?

Another tragic example was the Mirage III-V and the Mirage V

- III-V for VSTOL, obviously - well, Vertical in french.
-but also, Mirage V because of the roman number, see above.

And of course, both designations collided in 1966.

Mirage III-V = VSTOL Mirage III
Mirage V = fifth in the Mirage line.

Worst thing with the Mirage V, it wasn't even a new airframe like all the other "roman numbers" before it.

It was a Mirage III-E without the radar and with a pointy nose, to make it cheaper for a cash-strapped Israel fighting the Arabs in a clear weather climate.

Basically, Mirage V, being a Mirage III subvariant, should have had received a letter designation. Something like Mirage III-L (léger = light !)

The funny thing is, "Mirage F" and "Mirage G" initially were named as Mirage III subvariants: Mirage III-F and Mirage III-G.

They were NOT straightforward derivatives of the III, being larger, heavier, and with different wings.

Yet the Mirage V WAS a derivative of the III-E... yet, not letter for it.

Oh, and also - Balzac V VSTOL demonstrator. WTH ? well, it was... a joke.

And Milan... another Mirage III derivative which name went into the wild.

AAAAAAARGH. The horror, the horror.

Mirage 2000 because, well, the year 2000 sounded futuristic and cool (remember when 2001 meant Clarke and Kubrick rather than Osama ? stupid fucking terrorist)

Mirage 4000 because it was a double Mirage 2000, obviously.

The worse is the ACF. Avion de Combat Futur. But that was Armée de l'Air jargon.

As far as Dassault went, the ACF fuselage was derived from the Mirage G8.
So they called it G8A.
Except it had no longer the VG wing.
So they called it Super Mirage.
And then it was canned.
And the name was recycled for the 4000, so "Super Mirage 4000".

Oh geez. At least they avoided that chaos for Rafale. F1 / F2 / F3 / F4 subvariants so far (although F3R... NO NO NOOOOOO it's happening again !!)

Then again, Dassault looked very amateurish compared to Sukhoi and his Su-27 derivatives whackiness.

(gonna take 1 kg of aspirin now...)
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Well, here is an atempt at a "rationale" Dassault Mirage naming system...

- Every single Mirage III derivative must be a subvariant, and as such, designed by a letter.
So Mirage V, Mirage 50, Balzac, Milan silly designations never exists.

Nota bene: Mirage III VSTOL are included, under the "III-V" designation. Balzac must be part of that even if demonstrator and different.

1-Balzac = "Mirage III-V-01" because 01 = demonstrator
Mirage III-V = "Mirage III-V-A/B/C" = A, pre-series, then B/C operational, then subvariants D, E, F...

2-Milan = Mirage III-M, for "Moustache" = canard.

3- Mirage V = Mirage III-L for "Léger = Light".

Funnily enough, in roman numbers, "50" is... "L". Perfectly appropriate !

4 - By contrast, "Mirage G" and "Mirage F" are acceptable, as long as they are not paired with Mirage III derivatives and alphabet. So no bloody "Mirage III-G or III-F": - use the goddam letters for Mirage III derivatives.


By 1975 there are thus three different naming systems and series

- Mirage + roman numbers. Inside it is "Mirage III" with all the letters
- Mirage G for variable geometry (G, G1, G4, G8).
- Mirage F for swept wings (F1, F2, F3).
- Now, main problem, where to put the goddam ACF half a decade later, circa 1972? Well, since it is a derivative of the G8, then damn it - call it "Mirage F8" you idiot. Since it was to go along the F1-M53, makes sense. Once again, even with a different engine, the F1-M53 is still a F1, so give it a letter subvariant. F1M, for example. F1N for the naval variant, F1E are exports variants, F1B is two seater (Biplace), F1C is interceptor (Chasse).

Boom, job done.

At the end of the day this leave only the Mirage 2000 / 4000.

Well, if you really want a naming system similar to the "Falcon bizjets" or "related to the year 2000", then no problem, call it 2000.

But that's make the 4000 name sounds silly. "2000 years into the future" it might be a little obsolete. No ?

Alternatively, keep on with the "F" and "G" lettering, and find a letter related to "FLY BY WIRE" since that was the 2000 biggest innovation related to the old Mirage III.

For example "Mirage E" for electric / electronic (because "commandes de vol électriques" that's how we say FBW in french - no wires, you dummy, electricity !)

Wasn't the F-16 nicknamed "the electric jet" ?

Mirage "roman numbers" series
Mirage F series
Mirage G series
Mirage E series

Boom, job done. At the expense of my sanity.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmW-ScmGRMA
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I’m curious about the dimensions given regarding the ATAR 9C Mirage IV. It is clearly longer than a Mirage IV, yet its length is given as being shorter. Am I missing something?
I would have to check against the dimensions of the Mirage IV 01 prototype, will supply those later.
(Edit) Beaumont gives 19.90 m as length of Mirage IV 01, 20.90 m for length of Mirage IV 9C. Considerably more for Mirage IV A: 23.45 m including probe. I suspect typo.
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Well, here is an atempt at a "rationale" Dassault Mirage naming system...
What's curious is that you start with Mirage I, II, III, IV, 5 (why Dassault switched to Arabic numerals at this point I have no idea), then F is the 6th letter of the alphabet, followed of course by G. It may well be coincidence, of course.

Then the Mirage 2000 comes along and ruins any attempt at logic. *shrugs*
What's curious is that you start with Mirage I, II, III, IV, 5 (why Dassault switched to Arabic numerals at this point I have no idea),
Probably to differentiate Mirage "V" (even if III-V) for Vertical, from Mirage "5" (simplified Mirage III)
The "2000" I would bet come from the year 2000, round number, cool sounding, plus hopes that this Mirage would still be in service by then (and like hell it was, and still is: Mirage 2000 will probably end as Mirage 2030 in AdA service, and perhaps mirage 2040 for other air forces...)

I can't help thinking about the Falcon bizjets. While the numbers are all over the place, at least they stick with them and nothing else. Falcon 10 20 30 40 50... then 10 > 100 and 20 > 200 > 2000. Makes some sense. Except for 900 of course.

The -X series so far, seems to remain logical.

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Archibald that really clears things up, I think?????

I didn't know about the significance of the F and G designation.

What about the F1o_O

Thanks and regards.
Glad to see I did not whacked my brain for nothing ROTFL

Mind you, when I was a kid not knowing english language, the F1 designation also confused the hell out of me.

Since the F-16 and F1 competed for the deal of the century, I assumed the "F" had been Dassault going with "Fighter" as per the F-14 / 15 / 16 / 18 - just to be "trendy" when competing with the US.

Only later did I realized it stood for Flèche - swept wing.

So the confusion works two ways english > french and french > english.
Archibald that really clears things up, I think?????

I didn't know about the significance of the F and G designation.

What about the F1o_O

Thanks and regards.

Ah the F1. That come AFTER the F2 and even after the F3 - aaaargh.

it worked this way

1 - 1965, Armée de l'air "I want a two-seater, attack plane"

2 - 1966, June - Dassault "Behold, the Mirage F2"

3 - Armée de l'Air "Nah, forget it. France has left NATO (April 1966 !) and its air defense system. Urgency now is to get something better than the Mirage III-C"

4 - 1966, September - "ok, here is a single seat, lighter F2 for interception. Let's call it the F3"

5 - "Good, but that TF306 is a piece of junk, and American. We need a French engine."

6 - "M53 not ready (Sigh, goddam you, SNECMA). Ok, I will scale down the F3 so that it can take a "maximum Atar" : the 9K50 derived from the Mirage IV engine. Let's call it the F1"

7 - Armée de l'Air "Let's go for this one. How much time to build it ?"

8 - Dassault "Don't worry, I already did most of the work as a private venture. Can fly in December 1966. "
(proceed to build and fly the F1. Damn fine aircraft even if old Atar. But can't help thinking "Shame the F2 and F3 go to waste, they were damn fine machines...")
9 - "Ah, I have an idea. Let's build a VG variant of them, just to screw the AFVG and piss-off the British. Behold the Mirage G."

(and on, and on... G ? no, G4 ! no, G8 ! No, G8A - ACF ! No, Mirage 4000 ! Forget it, Mirage 2000 !)

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The bottom line: the Armée de l'Air ORs / procurement in the 1966 - 1976 decade (and afterwards, toward Rafale) was a complete nightmare.

They changed the goalposts

- from F2 to F3 to F1 to F1-M53
(only to lose against the F-16 and build the 2000 !)

- then, from AFVG to G to G4 to G8 to ACF
(and none reached production !)

- and finally, from 4000 to 2000 to Rafale !
(in 1975 Président Giscard screwed the 4000 for the less expensive 2000; the Armée de l'Air just waited 5 years and then brought back a miniature, supposedly less expensive 4000: the Rafale. No kidding)

All this, because of a quixotic quest for a heavy twin-jet fighter that was perfectly unaffordable; mixed with the quest for a single engine interceptor that was more affordable, but very unwanted.

And don't start me on the Jaguar, which cost burden made the situation even worse at the worst possible moment: 1969-1973.

In an saner world, over the same span of time the AdA would have had exactly two aircraft
- Mirage F3 with a beefed-up M53
- defer the twin jet to the British (AFVG) or Europe (buy Tornado you idiot !)

And nothing, nothing else until Rafale. PERIOD.
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May I say if English is not your first language your English is excellent.

To my eternal regret I have never been good with languages, always been better with numbers and dates. Only French I remember is how to say my name, ask for something in a shop and ask the time? Everything else I know in any language is rude.
Everything else I know in any language is rude.

Welcome to my world ! Because I was such a mischievous kid and teen, I learned swearing in english, spanish, german - and more recently, in italian.

Before COVID destroyed air travel (probably for a decade) I worked as a logistic clerk for a low-cost company I won't mention by name. I really loved that job, except for one thing: it was like working in a mental asylum.

Half people were dumb as fuck (try working with Forrest Gump) and the other half, they were as amicable as Hannibal Lecter or Dexter Morgan.

I was working with an italian fellow and my boss was driving him crazy telling him, by phone, to make impossible things happens, and ASAP.

So from time to time, the man simply blew a fuse and started swearing in italian.

And for some unexplained reason - maybe the sound of italian swearing - it caused irrepressible laughter to me.
Or maybe because I didn't understood any word, except for the swearing.

My favorite one was "testa di cazzo" (= dick head)

"Ma porco Giuda, vaffanculo, testa di cazzo"
You just listed my Italian vocabulary, with the exception of:

I used to work for a cruise line and the deck and engine departments were Italian on some of the ships and one of our standard tricks on newbee's was to tell them that instead of saying Bueno Sera to senior officers you should say Bueno Sega to show respect; it actually means Happy W**nking.
I did it... I managed to bring together the (over extended family) of Mirage III / delta / canard / derivatives.

In France, Israel, South Africa... and elsewhere.



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