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Unbuilt & Prototype Mirages 1955-1980

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Archibald

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overscan said:
I'm not sure the French were ever really serious about AFVG however.

I totally agre with you on that point... just look at what Dassault did towards the Jaguar (after Breguet takeover) Hornets (for the aeronavale in 1989) and EFA (in 1985).
Add to that De Gaulle behaviour on the NATO case in 1966... and the Mirage G program set up in paralel to the AFVG...

I need to add more ;D?
 

Archibald

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Thank you very much Boxkite! I understand better now. So here's the obvious question : did he finnally made this monography on the VG Mirages ? ??? (not easy to live in Lebanon those days... :( )
 

Archibald

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four-flight evaluation of the Mirage G as a prototype, variable geometry, fighter airplane was made at Istres during the period 4-10 November 1968 by US Navy test pilots Tom M. Kastner (3 flights) and Tom Kassidy (one flight) and they reported that it had excellent performance and outstanding flying qualities.
During the following months, the aircraft acquired the improved TF-306 E engine (10,330 kg of thrust) to allow further envelope expansion beyond the agreed specifications. By mid 1969, the aircraft had logged 150 flights.

In July 1969, USAF test pilots Major Hoever and Major Levington made another four-flight evaluation of the aircraft.

In September, RAAF Squadron Leader Fisher made another four-flight evaluation. His first flight was the aircraft's 200th flight.


That's the most interesting part of the article...and rise some questions! Were the australians and americans interested by the Mirage G ?
I'm just asking if a Mirage G could have operate from the Melbourne carrier ?
 

Archibald

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1971-1978

The G8 was particularly brilliant, but its VG system was heavy, costly and restricted it to a strike role. that's why in may 1972 (even before the second G8 flew!) the ACF program was launched.

The M53 engine

In july 1968, the TF-306E engine was abandoned, for the reason it was too big and costly. Capitalisingon the experience earned with the program, SNECMA started the M53 program. This engine was to power high speed interceptos such as this mysterious MegaMirage.
Testbenched for the time in February 1970, it started flight testing in 1972 on a Caravelle of the CEV. Thrust was 8500 kgp, weight was around 1500 kg.
This engine would have powered the "production" G8s, which were never built.
The supersonic testbed was a modified Mirage F1, flying in December 1973. The improvement in performances over the standard F1 was such that the plane was now seriously envisaged for export.

F1E and ACF

Building of the ACF prototype started in 1973. The plane had various names
- Mirage G8A was used at the beginning
- Super Mirage was the official name
- ACF (Avion de Combat Futur) was the name of the program.

Various full size mockup were build, one of them was exposed at Le Bourget airshow in June 1973.

full size mockup at le bourget 1973
103_1583.jpg


another mockup
103_1584.jpg


up : the acf prototype in construction
down : a mockup
Diapositive1.jpg
 

Archibald

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from le fana de l'aviation n°416 july 2004 ::)
 

Archibald

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First flight of the ACF was planned around July 1976. But in june 1975, things took a twist.
The F1E lost against the F-16 and was abandoned. Both planes were linked, as Dassault explained in april 1970 to the French minister of defense Michel Debré.
At the time, the ACF program was considered as too costly, but the AdA still wanted a heavy fighter, particularly for long range nuclear strike, but also for interception. That's why the MRCA and the F-15B were carefully watched.
On 18th December 1975, Marcel Dassault went to the elysée palace to discuss the situation of the ACF program or its replacement.
This day, the ACF was abandoned (and later scrapped). Dassault proposal to replace it was as follow
- Mirage 4000 was financed by the Governement to fulfill the role of the ACF
- Mirage 2000 was to be privately funded to replace the Mirage III and F1 on exports markets.
French president Giscard d'Estaing took the controversial (but economical!) decision of financing the 2000 and let the 4000 for export...
This indirectly was the first step to Rafale (exactly like AST-403 at the same time for the Typhoon :) )
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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ACF.

Sources:
JAWA (date unknown)
Fana de l'aviation Issue 416
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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Mirage G/G8

Sources:
Dassault website
internet
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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more

Sources:
JAWA
John Brindley Aircraft Profile 230: Dassault Mirage Variants
 

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Archibald

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Thanks for the pics overscan!!! Others pics of the ACF are available here
(good article on the 4000, in fact it's the basis of Le Fana article (416 417 418) started 4 years before by the author, Alexis Rocher)
http://aircraftstories.free.fr/mono/4000/introduction/introduction.htm

this 3-view of the ACF come from science&Vie Aviation 1975 I bought some years ago (not in 1975, I was 7 years...in the future ;D )

2.jpg
 

Archibald

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From the ACF to the 2000 / 4000 family.

So the ACF was abandoned in december and scrapped when 80% complete. the F1E was also abandoned, main priority was now the 2000 for the AdA.
Design of the two had started in 1972 using what was to become the CATIA software years later.

Here's an enigma : for those who have the Fana article, there's two photos of pre- Mirage 4000 mockups. the first (up, Fana 416) is name Delta Super Mirage and has no canards.
The other (down, Fana 417) is clearly the mockup of the 4000 and is named Super Mirage 4000.
It seems that the first mockup represent a kind of missing link between the ACF and the early 4000 (around 1973-1976).
 

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Archibald

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The Mirage 2000 made its first flight on march 10th 1978 at Istres, with Jean coureau at the controls. During the flight, an envent occured which was hidden for some years: the left elevon half disintegrated!
Jean Marie Saget was following the 2000 in a Mirage IIIB and warned Coureau "hey! It seems rats have eaten your wing...". The plane landed safely after reaching mach 1.3 on this first flight. It had a more pointed tail than the others 2000s. As with the Mirage IV in 1959, the team had to redesign the tail just because Marcel Dassault found it was ugly! :eek: (Fana de l'aviation August 1998 "Mirage 2000 en 1978 l'imprévu d'un premier vol" )

The work on the 4000 progressed much slowly. At one time, the french governement seriously envisaged to form a "test squadron" with five aircrafts to boost exports orders, but this was quickly abandoned...
The plane reached mach 2 on its 6th flight in late april 1979, and mach 2.15 on 15th May 1979 (the same day flew the ultimate Mirage III derivative, the Mirage 50). Pilots from the AdA and CEV also flew the aircraft.
Main problem with the 4000 flight test was the 2000 program had priority over the M53 engines.

Overscan, you mentioned that the Irakis were interested by the 4000...According to Le Fana, an Iraqi delegation was in Istres on
6th December 1979. The flight demo planned to fly the aircraft at mach 1.8 and 55000 ft... but Saget reached mach 2 and 60 000 ft (the HUD was not functionning this day...) and was itself quite surprised!!!

In April 1979, Jean Coureau (chief test pilot of Dassault since the death of René Bigand in 1967) was testing the 2000-02 when I had a serious heart problem in flight. He barely managed to land the aircraft intact, and this was the end of his career...

More to follow...
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Mirage G drawing from Dassault website
 

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Archibald

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The French navy really had interest in the Mirage G and Mirage F1 to replace the Etendard IV in the mid-70's. Now these two were much more fighters than attack planes (which were the A-7, A-4 Jaguar M and SE) , so I think there was a need for a single multirole aircraft to replace the Etendard IV but also the Crusaders.
In fact the aeronavale made an atempt for a multirole fighter in the 50's (the Breguet 1120 Sirocco and its competitors) but in the end split the need into two aircrafts, the Etendard IV and Crusader.
something to dig!

Other thing : aparently the missing link between the G8 and ACF was a project named Mirage F8. Clearly a member of the F family, the 8 come from G8...
Another mystery is the use of the Super-Mirage name. I found it on the early Mirage F1, but also between the ACF and 4000 (Super Mirage, Super Mirage Delta). this designation is very unclear! (probably more an advert than official name :) )
 

Jemiba

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Not strictly a Mirage, but obviously a derivative, using
Mirage components, as told in the AirInternational 8/01 article.
 

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Archibald

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...capitalising on the experience gained with the Mirage, Dassault studied a SSBJ between 1997 and 1999, but the plane was abandoned because of a lack of a suitable engine. Brand new engine was too expensive, Airliner engines were much too big, and the best option, militay engines were a maintenance nightmare (200 hours only between two overhauls... 10 times less than the civil rules...)

Dassault SSBJ (Flug Revue website)
 

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Archibald

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concerning the MegaMirage here's the whole article, with a small comment below the image (thanks Jemiba!!)

This comment remind me that I heard (somewhere) that in the late 60's there's was many draft projects for mach 3 aircrafts in France (I have to check where I saw this comment)
 

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Antonio

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Archibald,

Jemiba emailed you this scan yesterday :eek:?
 

Jemiba

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Verdict : Not guilty ! ;)
 

Antonio

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Thanks Jemiba ;)
 

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Maybe a bit off-topic, but I just picked an interesting Mirage III picture. Enjoy :)
 

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Archibald

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Hmm I was not sure it was Jemiba...(got a problem with this damned Hotmail box...) now I'm reassured!!!
Hmm why should I be guilty ???
 

Antonio

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No problem Archie :)
 

Archibald

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You're right, its not my fault, rather the fault of this keyboard (naughty keyboard!!). ;D

The Mirage-3000 proposal of 1978 was a Mirage 2000 fitted with two RB-199 turbofans. It was probably a low-cost proposal made in paralel with the ECF and ECA programs which ran from October 1978 to april 1981.

Thanks to Deino (and coming from this forum or from Key publishing, can't remember!) here's a very, very interesting project.
If you look well, it look very much like the Mirage 4000, salvo the air intakes, which are clearly pre-rafale...
 

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Jemiba

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Found the same photo on my HD, designated "ACX" and a model photo of
the ACX (sorry, source isn't clear)
 

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Archibald

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I'm really sorry MAtej! I dowload mass of things, and I remembered abut Key publishing,but not the autor of the post :-\ :-[
 

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Hi ! :)

There is a rarely mentioned Mirage : the Mirage IIIC2.

It was a Mirage IIIE (N° 406) without (the external fairing of the) doppler radar and powered with an Atar 09K-6. This engine was optimised for high altitude interception. First flight : 10/05/65. This Mirage returned later to its original standard (IIIE).

(source : MIRAGE by Paul Jackson (combat aircraft N° 23) p.61).


The Mirage IV with 4 engines (under wings) is frequently mentioned in books about the history of this french bomber. But there is never drawing (or model) of this version. If somebody find a drawing (or model), it would be very helpful for me.
 

boxkite

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The Mirage IV with 4 engines (under wings) is frequently mentioned in books about the history of this french bomber. But there is never drawing (or model) of this version. If somebody find a drawing (or model), it would be very helpful for me.

Regarding the Mirage IV, is there anybody who has DOCAVIA's Mirage IV book in his bookshelf? Maybe it contains more details ... (The title is too expensive for me without knowing the contents.)
 

Deltafan

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Thanks boxkite ! :)

If my memory is good, I have only leafed through (too expensive for me too with the contents) this Docavia book some time ago and there was only a few (maybe almost nothing...) about the genesis of the MIV and no drawing or model before the Mirage IV-01. But maybe my memory is not good...
 

Archibald

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boxkite said:
The Mirage IV with 4 engines (under wings) is frequently mentioned in books about the history of this french bomber. But there is never drawing (or model) of this version. If somebody find a drawing (or model), it would be very helpful for me.

Regarding the Mirage IV, is there anybody who has DOCAVIA's Mirage IV book in his bookshelf? Maybe it contains more details ... (The title is too expensive for me without knowing the contents.)

Main problem with the four-engine (Atar!) variant was the delay in induced. De Gaulle absolutely wanted the Mirage IV for October 1964, starting from the Mirage IV-01 and 1959. (which was too small, with a reduced range).
The only way was scaling-up the plane with bigger engines... but still with two engines (four would have been too different!).

I think this 4-engine Mirage IV was a short-lived study only... there's no drawing of it even in Jean Cuny books,which are reference (Cuny itself was NOSA during the Mirage IV flight test program) but the plane is briefly mentioned in the book.
Knowing a bit the docavia collection, these books never insists on the genesis of the plane, more on it's career and sub variants...

More info on the spey Mirage IV* anybody ? (performances and pics, I already know the context...)

A question turning in my head for some years now is : could the Mirage IV have been upgraded with M53 turbofans ? I mean, the IV* would have been build around the spey, and the F1E changed it's Atar to M53...
 

Deltafan

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Main problem with the four-engine (Atar!) variant was the delay in induced. De Gaulle absolutely wanted the Mirage IV for October 1964, starting from the Mirage IV-01 and 1959. (which was too small, with a reduced range).
The only way was scaling-up the plane with bigger engines... but still with two engines (four would have been too different!).

I think this 4-engine Mirage IV was a short-lived study only... there's no drawing of it even in Jean Cuny books,which are reference (Cuny itself was NOSA during the Mirage IV flight test program) but the plane is briefly mentioned in the book.

Thanks Archie :)

I think too that it was a short-lived study only, but there was this (short-lived) study :

In the book of Cuny :

"(...) on étudia effectivement des variantes quadri ATAR (...)"

I can today only imagine a mix between Mirage IV-01 (nose, cockpit, tail), B-58 (wings) and Concorde (2 x 2 engines. Or maybe others configurations as for exemple B-58 or B-70)... Maybe a subject for a future what if... ;)
 

Antonio

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Archibald,

I saw your F.1E model at whatifmodelers. Your model has enlarged intakes from a Mirage 2000. Do you have dawings from the real F.1E M53 project?
 

Archibald

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Nope! only a pic from aviafrance, I'm just deseperate about that... :'(
 

Archibald

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Deltafan said:
Main problem with the four-engine (Atar!) variant was the delay in induced. De Gaulle absolutely wanted the Mirage IV for October 1964, starting from the Mirage IV-01 and 1959. (which was too small, with a reduced range).
The only way was scaling-up the plane with bigger engines... but still with two engines (four would have been too different!).

I think this 4-engine Mirage IV was a short-lived study only... there's no drawing of it even in Jean Cuny books,which are reference (Cuny itself was NOSA during the Mirage IV flight test program) but the plane is briefly mentioned in the book.

Thanks Archie :)

I think too that it was a short-lived study only, but there was this (short-lived) study :

In the book of Cuny :

"(...) on étudia effectivement des variantes quadri ATAR (...)"

I can today only imagine a mix between Mirage IV-01 (nose, cockpit, tail), B-58 (wings) and Concorde (2 x 2 engines. Or maybe others configurations as for exemple B-58 or B-70)... Maybe a subject for a future what if... ;)

I'm also thinking about doing a model of it... what is good with Heller is they spend you spares for free, so you can use them as basis.
I think that this four engine Mirage IV would have been a "pocket concorde" at 1/3 the weight and dimensions...
 

Archibald

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list of Mirages prototypes started, but never finished
- Mirage II (1956)
- Mirage IVB (1959)
- Mirage F3 (1967)
- Mirage G4 (changed into the G8,1969))
- ACF (1975)

This amount of "corpses" is due to the frequent shift in AdA requirement. The quest for the Mirage III replacement (in all variants) was particularly long and costly.

1962- VTOL, attack plane (Mirage IIIV)
1963- STOL, attack plane (Mirage F2)
1966- Interceptor (Mirage F3, then switch to the "french powered" Mirage F1
1967 VG wing multirole fighter (Mirage G)
1969 heavy multirole fighter (partly Mirage IV replacement, RAGEL, Mirage G8)
1972 return to the fixed wing (ACF, both interceptor and long range strike)
1975 Mirage 2000 (here we are!)

Main difficulty laid in the radar (multirole, interception or terrain following? thomson lacked experience, and only with the RD- series of radars produced a truly world-class radar in the 80's)

There was also a very strong which of the AdA for a twin-jet, heavier fighter.
This story started in fact with the Vautour replacement in 1956, and was only solved with the Rafale... some months ago!

The SO-4060 was canceled in 1958 on growing costs, and its rival the Mirage IVC changed into a bomber. Ten years later, the G4 (RAGEL) then the G8 were brilliants, but too specialised and costly ecause of the VG wing. The ACF was another atempt, but was canceled in december 1975.
Dassault new that, that's why he proposed the 4000 for the AdA on 18th December 1975 (not the 2000...) But Giscard (once again for cost reason!) took the 2000, reserving the 4000 for export...and Mirage IV replacement in the 80's, which never hapened.

The AdA also tested the F-18 (in fact, the YF-17 changed into a F-18 demonstrator), the F-15B in April 1976 at Edwards AFB (it received french roundels!) and had interested in the MRCA AkA the tornado. All of this went to nothing...
In 1978-1979, another atempt was the ECA (and this mysterious Mirage 3000... low cost alternative based on the 2000 ?) which collapsed in spring 1981.
The rest of the story is well known... when the collaborative effort was revived in 1983 with the EAP, the ACX was lauched in paralel. Both aircrafts flew at summer of 1986 (Rafale-A on 4th July, EAP in August) but France had already withdrawn from the EAP in August 1985...
 

Archibald

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A great news, Guys!
Check "le fana de l'aviation" of this month and look page 14. They aparently heard my request ;)
 

frank

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How about for those of us who can't?


Archibald said:
A great news, Guys!
Check "le fana de l'aviation" of this month and look page 14. They aparently heard my request ;)
 
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