Speculative Mirage III upgrade path for a fictitious nation

Blackscorpy

Hornets, who doesn't love them?
Joined
Sep 1, 2012
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
OK, here's the scenario - a fictitious European nation , an island somewhere in the N Atlantic, is in a search for a new fighter in the late 50s. As the selection process goes on, various aircraft are considered (politics aside): F-100, F-102, F-104, F-106, F-5, F-8, F-11 Tiger/F11F-1F Super Tiger, Draken, EE Lightning and MiG-21. After flyoffs and other considerations, the Mirage III is chosen.

I'd be interested to hear the viability of most of the upgrades I'm considering. If this doesn't fit the idea of the forum, feel free to remove this.

Major features as built (derived from Mirage IIIE):
-Avon engine
-Some airframe strengthening
-RWR if possible
-Winterization, is this needed?
-Provision for a rocket engine for interceptor duties

I considered doing a full redesign on the thing like the Swiss did, and also the Spey engined variant, but didn't see them as viable or needed options. The aircraft would be built locally, and the number would be around 100 to 150 aircraft. Projected entry into service would be slightly after 1965.

Here's the interesting bit: an MLU in the 80s, instead of acquiring Mirage 2000. I'm thinking about something along the lines of Mirage 3NG, with fly-by-wire and canards added, in addition to rewiring the aircraft to take NATO munitions (Skyflash or Aspide namely) and a Martin-Baker ejection seat. I'm not sure what to upgrade the radar to, or if to keep the Avon or give it something else, for example F404 (coinciding with an F/A-18 purchase). These upgraded planes would see service into the 21st century, I'm just not sure what to replace them with or if just to retire them.
 

Lascaris

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
156
Reaction score
151
A single Avon powered Mirage III prototype actually flew in real life I understand. From that the logical next step would be a Spey/ J-79 powered variant with updated electronics in the early 1970s (the name you are looking for here is obviously IAI Kfir) But after that still trying to milk the design starts to go counterproductive I think. No doubt it would be a quite capable aircraft. But the cost of modernization would be too high compared to going straight for a modern design.
 

Blackscorpy

Hornets, who doesn't love them?
Joined
Sep 1, 2012
Messages
3
Reaction score
0
Thanks for the opinion.

Well, pretty much all the improvements have been flown before. The Avon Mirage flew in '62, and according to some sources, also did Mach 1.3 at Mil power and clean. The FBW systems flew in Mirage 3NG in '82, the design being related to the Mirage 2000. The 3NG also included LEXes and some other improvements: http://www.aviastar.org/air/france/dassault_mirage-3ng.php Kfir, Cheetah and a few other programs (Swiss, Pakistanis, etc) have also updated the Mirage IIIs successfully.

The Spey Mirage was suggested, but never flew. RR hype perhaps? I'm favoring the Speys instead of J79s, partly because the presence of the (improved) Avon in the design (probably similar to the SF/Volvo RM6 later on). Besides, the Spey would be a "natural" choice, due to the possibility of using them in F-4s and Mirage IVs. Yes, I'd apparently be buying British-specced birds in the 60s.

I also started considering the F404 as part of the 80s upgrade program - they'd go well with the Hornets, and similar engine upgrades have been done with the A-4s in Singapore. F404 was also considered as an upgrade for the IAI Kfirs. Dassault also used some in the mid-80s, in the initial Rafale A prototype.

Besides extending the useful lives of the fighters, the upgrade would also give me a nice lifetime path for them - they'd get retired in the late 90s or early 2000s (about 30 years total life), and could be replaced by a more modern design. Given the end of Cold War and its effects in defense budgets, it'd also give me fairly "natural" cuts.
 

Lascaris

ACCESS: Confidential
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
156
Reaction score
151
The point is if you go in the 1980s from the Kfir equivalent which you produced in the 1970s and further develop it with a modern engine like F404, modern electronics/radar and I suppose FBW, why to me it starts looking very much like Mirage 2000. Or the one engined Atlas Carver proposals. Just go the additional step and produce your own delta-winged fighter. After all you have already paid for most of the costs in developing the "modernization"

BTW said fictitious island nation doesn't happen to be Tarrantry is it?
 

_Del_

I really should change my personal text... Or not.
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
741
Reaction score
601
Every likely upgrade was pursued by Atlas in the Cheetah series.

I'd imagine one would have been better off buying a new design by the mid-80's (as everyone essentially did) than continuing to upgrade the Mirage III's.

If you just bought F-18's, how much are you willing to spend on a modernization program to extend the service life of the Mirages? You might be able to get IAI to upgrade them or send them some refurbished Kfirs to keep them viable for awhile, and that would be cheap.


If you start talking about upgrading to the F404 and FBW, Lascaris is right, you might as well spend serious money on developing your own new-build program. And it would be much cheaper to just buy Mirage2000s (which is unlikely because you just spent a good deal of money on F-18's apparently). Or consider something slightly less capable like the F-20 or the Hawk2000 or similar projects which would probably be cheaper than your upgraded Mirages in the long haul b/c someone already paid the development costs. The cost of upgrading and refurbishing your Mirages is going to be quite a bit higher than you think.
 

pathology_doc

ACCESS: Top Secret
Joined
Jun 7, 2008
Messages
1,082
Reaction score
475
IIRC the Mirage's rocket engine made it into hardware very early in the programme and then not much was heard from it thereafter. It was considered an excellent idea in the late 1950s, but unless your mythical air force is still anticipating flying point defence against high-flying fast bombers on short warning times in 1965 it seems rather pointless.


The rest, OTOH, makes a lot of sense. If you can get a pair of Sparrows (which is basically what Skyflash and Aspide are) onto the F-104, I see no reason why the Mirage couldn't similarly be altered. What system are you considering for the original delivery - off-the-shelf Cyrano radar and R530 AAM? Or will you go the Swiss route and have them delivered with a Hughes FCS and AIM-4/26 Falcons?


Other things to consider: what is your air force doing? During the Cold War, given the nation's position, the battlefield tactical nuclear mission is probably "out" unless you can hook into NATO mid-air refuelling assets or stage into the UK (provided it hasn't already been turned into a blasted wasteland). OTOH a geographically isolated island nation which is arguably going to straddle major sea lanes of communication is going to have an emphasis on the anti-shipping role in addition to its air-defence capabilities and not so much on surface-strike ironmongery. That means consideration of the heavy variant of Bullpup or possibly MARTEL in the initial build (or shortly thereafter) and one or more of Exocet, Harpoon, Sea Eagle, etc. in the upgrade before things like laser designators go on the shopping list. This may lean you towards an avionics fit similar to that which the Sea Harrier ended up getting (including, possibly, AMRAAM if they stay in service long enough).
 

alspug

ACCESS: Restricted
Joined
Oct 24, 2009
Messages
11
Reaction score
2
Many years ago as a teenager(1990's) I looked at the idea of taking the Mirage Fuselage and removing one wing . then attaching this to another Mirage Fuselage . With Twin engines of more advanced design and a set of canards I figured I could get a far superior Aircraft . of course that was an idea I had because Australia had 80 of them , I also figured 40 twin engine long range fighters were better then what existed. I actually wrote a story about it but I can not find it . The idea was to mount the Hornets avionics in the Mirage and add the ability to mount Aim-7 Sparrow missiles. with increased fuel capacity using the increased body size i figured it was doable . of course i look back now and it is really likely that it would never work .
 
Top