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Unbuilt & Prototype Mirages 1955-1980

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iverson

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Wrong. Ever heard of the Mirage III-E variant ? it did the exact same job the German F-104s did - low level penetration with a AN-52 nuke on the belly. First flight happened on April 5, 1961

m-iii-an-52.jpg

I don't think you have paid much attention to the detailed points that I have made.

Everyone is familiar with the Mirage IIIE. But the fact that a high-altitude interceptor was adapted as a low-level nuclear strike aircraft (somewhat later on, I believe) is of no consequence. The Mirage was chosen because it was the production aircraft that France had available. It was NOT chosen because it was the optimal design for the task or because it had the needed ridequalities and low gust response. The B-52 has been operated for low-level flight too. But no one would have selected it FOR low-level flight.

To reiterate, a large-area, lightly loaded delta like the Mirage's is almost as ill-suited to this flight regime as is a high-aspect-ratio, moderately swept wing like the B-52's. The delta's only advantage would be the low aspect ratio and comparative stiffness of this wing form. Gust response would still be poor and ride would be harsh,given the low wing loading. So, while I don't know the numbers, I expect that, for aerodynamic reasons alone, Mirage IIIEs flew less of their mission profile at truly low altitude and flew low at significantly lower speeds than F-104Gs.

This difference in low-level performance might or might not have been operationally significant, even if the experts of the time had correctly forecast future needs (which they didn't). But it doesn't matter. This kind of performance was BELIEVED to be important at the time. So the aircraft most likely to deliver it was going to be the winner.

Finally, attributing everything to bribery is a lot like conspiracy theory. The fallacy is not that bribery and conspiracy do not occur. History is full of both. The fallacy is the belief that bribery and conspiracy determine outcomes. Usually they don't. The reason is simple. It just isn't safe to take a bribe and then do something totally unexpected. The trick is to take the bribes to do what everyone expects--and what you would tus have had to do even without a bribe.

I have actually been in on the details of one case of international bribery. The persons who paid and took bribes never had any actual effect on the way the contracts were awarded. The solicitors of the bribe were not in a position to swing the deal, but were just clever enough, at an early stage, to see which way the competition was likely to go. So they sought a side profit on the result. The bribe payers saw more or less the same thing. For them, the payoff was the chance to take credit for a by then predetermined outcome. The contract was awarded as it would have been in any case. But, thereafter, a long-running business relationship was ruined. Once the chicanery was discovered, companies were barred from future bids, several high-ranking people lost jobs, a few people were prosecuted, and many others had to be careful about crossing certain borders thereafter. The bribes didn't change the outcome in the way they were supposed to. They just caused a lot of unanticipated collateral damage, most of it to the parties involved.

So I stick by my thesis. Given the time frame, the competing projects available, and the mission imagined for the aircraft, selection of the F-104G was largely foreordained. It was the only aircraft that could make a plausible low-level strike system. This plausibility was largely due to the happy accident of its wing planform. Like the later Mirage IIIC, the high-altitude F-104A needed a lot of structural strengthening to adapt it to the new role. It just happened that the F-104's tiny, stiff little trapezoid was much better for low-level flight than a delta. So, once it was beefed up into the F-104G, it looked much better for the role than any of its big-wing competitors.

Of course, once perceived defense requirements in the West started to emphasize conventional strike and close support, the F-104G no longer looked like a particulary good choice. The little wings couldn't carry the weapons loads required or support the kind of endurance needed for loitering over a battle field at medium altitude. In hindsight, the F-104 was an awful choice. But, in hindsight, given the lack of a European war during the same period, spending good money on ANY weapons system was a waste.
 

dan_inbox

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Let's be specific. The Mirage III was never meant as a bomber, but as an interceptor and fighter. The IIIE was the all-whether version with secondary weapons delivery capability, which was handy when small-enough tactical nukes became available. It was adapted for that role, not designed for it.

The bomber in the Mirage family was the IV, high-altitude. The plane designed for low-altitude attack was the Jaguar. All three were given nukes, along with Aéronavale's Etendard.


As for the bribing issue, the point about bribes only helping victory is true inside a developed and reasonably "clean" country, like, say Australia or the US. It is much less true in the 3rd world, and even less in sub-saharan Africa, for example.
How did the Lockheed cowboys look at Germany and Europe at that time? All can have an own opinion about about it.
 

galgot

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Oh well, i'm sorry to have first posted that wiki page about the Lockheed bribery… :)
@ iverson - thanks , excellent analysis. I agree that even if both F-104 and Mirage III were first intended as Hi-alt interceptors, the F-104 small wings made it more suited for the role the Germans wanted to use it for at the time.
 

alertken

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Luftwaffe Selection was all to do with US nukes.

Iverson's posts 260/269/283; Jemiba's 256; gal's 257: it is so, IMHO.

(France was a full Member of all NATO forums until 1966). FRG joined 5/5/55 and its Rearmament began promptly to share the job of facing Red mass. US Mutual Security Program (continuing to 1961) funded much Allied kit (though not for UK after 6/54, which is why Sandys had to chop so much, 4/57: Ike perceived UK pitching Comets, Britannias and Viscounts while claiming subsidy for Hunters, Javelins et al - MSP was only to be granted for "extra" buys which the recipient could not otherwise afford).

In the 1955-57 timeframe US developed lightweight nukes; NATO's Plans were for very prompt recourse to "tactical" nukes, cheaper than trying to match the weight of Red flesh. So, starting 21/5/57, US developed Memoranda of Understanding with UK for target co-ordination and joint manning (dual key, key to the cupboard) of a range of ordnance. First to be deployed was Honest John SSM in Turkey, though initially with HE warhead. Mark 5 on Valiant was 1/10/58, Mark 7 on Canberra B.6, 2/7/59, Thor IRBM RAF- manned, 1/7/60. BAOR's SSMs and howitzers joint-manning was settled under Heidelberg Agreement, 30/8/61. All the procedures established US:UK were then read across to other Allies.

FRG Aero was set up with MSP Aid, initially to assemble, then to produce much. The domestic political intent was to move up from tin-bashing into original design; but "Offset" obligations required FRG to ease the foreign exchange drain of Visiting Forces. So:
1959: what to do to replace F-84F, CL-13? In design, obviously: straight to V/STOL; but in production...something to bridge, after F-84F, before something exotically runwayless. Maybe 300 aircraft to be operated for the 1964-68-ish slot. But not a simple update from 1st. generation, so no F-100D (the hindsight blindingly obvious solution, taken by most sensible folk, inc. France). In 1959 US had not addressed the issue, so FRG sought: strike, nuke-capable, with noble work ("technology transfer") relevant to the V/STOL schemes.

Lockheed agreed transfer of total local airframe production capability and mumbled vaguely about sourcing bits for Third Party sales; so did Litton on IN (except that the gyro package would be a sealed lifed item - that was a US State Dept. norm, extending to airline buyers); so did Autonetics on NASARR; so did GE on J79. All this with US DoD blessing. It was presented as FRG industry pushing the frontiers of science - F-104Germany. No-brainer. No-one paused to wonder why USAFE was not also on board.

Operations issues were almost irrelevant; brochures from various were makeweight bumff. Baseline made-in-USA prices would be US DoD-confirmed under standard Foreign Military Sales procedures; local DM spend would be controlled by BWB Koblenz, as standard; where's the risk, what's to go wrong? It was all sort-of-free, as FRG must anyway spend vast sums on something from US.
 

hesham

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From the book; Speed in the Air,

here is a strange info,that mirage intended to reach its speed near 3 Mach ?.
 

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Archibald

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The text is all wrong - confusing the ACF (as shown in the picture) with the earlier variable geometry Mirage G8.
Mach 3 was definitively not considered for the ACF - Mach 2.5 was plenty enough.
 

hesham

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Archibald said:
The text is all wrong - confusing the ACF (as shown in the picture) with the earlier variable geometry Mirage G8.
Mach 3 was definitively not considered for the ACF - Mach 2.5 was plenty enough.

Thank you my dear Archibald.
 

uk 75

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I think this is the right place to ask this question:

In the UK we have quite a bit of info about the plans for squadrons and weapons for the cancelled P1154 vstol fighter ground attack. How much info is available on what was planned for the Mirage IIIV.
I have read that it was planned to replace the F100s and at one time 150 were planned (like the P1154 funnily enough). It seems only to have been an Atom bomber
 

Archibald

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indeed it was deliberately design as a tactical nuclear bomber with either an american mk.7 or a french AN-11 AN-52
Le Fana de l'aviation october 1997 has a detailed monography of the III-V
 

Stargazer2006

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hesham said:
here is a strange info,that mirage intended to reach its speed near 3 Mach ?.

Quite simply, the text at the top is the book chapter's header, and the Mirage happens to be the first image in that page. No relation.
 

uk 75

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Archibald

I have ordered a copy on Amatheft. All the best to the Armee del'air and Aeronavale pilots in their rat hunting and Vive La France!

ralph
 

Grey Havoc

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uk 75 said:
All the best to the Armee del'air and Aeronavale pilots in their rat hunting and Vive La France!

ralph

Convenu! I just hope they give the rest of us a heads up if they decide to break out the ASMPs!
 

iverson

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alertken said:
Luftwaffe Selection was all to do with US nukes.

Iverson's posts 260/269/283; Jemiba's 256; gal's 257: it is so, IMHO.


1959: what to do to replace F-84F, CL-13? In design, obviously: straight to V/STOL; but in production...something to bridge, after F-84F, before something exotically runwayless. Maybe 300 aircraft to be operated for the 1964-68-ish slot. But not a simple update from 1st. generation, so no F-100D (the hindsight blindingly obvious solution, taken by most sensible folk, inc. France). In 1959 US had not addressed the issue, so FRG sought: strike, nuke-capable, with noble work ("technology transfer") relevant to the V/STOL schemes.

...

Operations issues were almost irrelevant;

A good concise summary. But I do not agree that "Operations issues were almost irrelevant". They were, in fact paramount. The Germans just had the wrong conception of what future operations would be like (we have the advantage of hindsight). They expected their fixed airfields to be annihilated by nuclear-armed ballistic missiles within minutes of the start of the next war. So, given that belief, dispersing aircraft away from the runways was a critical requirement. Hence the interest in VTOL. But VTOL was probably not the most plausible solution at the time.

ZELL (ZEro-Length-Launch) operations were an attractive alternative, and I suspect that the relative success of ZELL experiments hadsomething to do with the German preference for the F-104. The Germans seem to have been more interested in ZELL than almost anyone else, and they did a lot of experimentation using F-104s. With its small wings, the F-104 was a more logical choice than the F-100s and F-84s that the US experimented with. If you aren't using the wings to lift bomb, plane, and pilot into the air, why lug a big wing along on a mission that would probably end with all the airfields nuked and returning pilots ejecting over the countryside?

Compared to VTOL, ZELL was a known-quantity that had most of the perceived operational advantages of VTOL ZELL development was aleady largely complete and available for immediate use. The otherwise conventional ZELLed airplane offered better performance and range than any of the prospective VTOL projects. VTOL was in its infancy, remember, and none of the existing concepts seemed likely to result in viable operational types in the foreseeable future. All had limited range and very limited weapons loads. Most were subsonic. All required complex, unproven propulsion schemes that looked certain to cause control problems (as indeed proved the case with the Balzac/Mirage IIIV design). All were critically short of the internal volume needed for fuel and systems--they were full of lift engines, something that the ZELL F-104 jettisoned as soon as it reached flying speed.

Given some other set of assumptions about the future role of the Luftwaffe, the high cost of large numbers of rocket boosters and the problems inherent in dispersed operations might have given German leaders pause. But when you only expect to disperse and launch once, such issues no doubt seem quite minor.
 

iverson

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Here are a couple of pictures of German ZELL F-104s. The second show the concrete launch stand and booster/blast trench that was planned for operational use.

These stands were to be dispersed around the country for one-time use in wartime. F-104s, boosters, cranes, fuel, and nuclear weapons would have been trucked in during the crisis preceding hostilities and readied for laucnh at a moment's notice.

It all seems bizarre now. But at the time, it made a certain sense.
 

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alertken

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I: thank you: I had wholly overlooked ZELL - which undermines the logic of V/STOL-bespoke (=deadweight) powerplants. Runway-hugger types do the iron, pause for thought element of flexible response; ZELL-dispersed types do the nuking...but they are the same type.
 

uk 75

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Archibald

Thanks for the heads up. I have the October issue already, and have ordered the November and December issues as the story seems to continue in them. There is also a new French made kit of the Mirage IIIV, which I have ordered, to get someone to make for me.
 

elmayerle

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uk 75 said:
There is also a new French made kit of the Mirage IIIV, which I have ordered, to get someone to make for me.
Sprue shots show it to be a beautiful kit and I have two on order, myself.
 

uk 75

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I shall probably get it made up as the prototype. A what-if version with AN52 bomb would be good though.
 

Arjen

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Remember that the Mirage IV-01 was a smaller aircraft than the Mirage IV-02, which had the production aircraft's dimensions.
 

ivran

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some impresive designe of Dassault Mach 3+ fighters
project MZI-46Q, VERY interesning inlets.any drawing. or 3 view
 

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elmayerle

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Does anyone have a good three-view drawing, with dimensions, of the Mirage IIIT? I want to "clone" the nozzle from a Mirage IIIV kit and model that one.
 

hesham

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From Le Fana 461,

here is a 3 or 4 Mach Dassault projects.
 

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PlanesPictures

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Originals
 

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blackkite

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Wow thanks a lot!!!These information are what we want. :D :D :D
 

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ivran

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one step to 3 view
 

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hesham

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Great Info my dear Deltafan.
 

blackkite

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Hi! Mirage Ⅲ V.

https://alchetron.com/Dassault-Mirage-IIIV

I can see two different three side view drawing.
(1) No saw-cut wing, wing air brakes are located middle of the wing.
(2) With saw-cut wing, wing air brakes are located rear of the wing.
 

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overscan (PaulMM)

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blackkite said:
Hi! Mirage Ⅲ V.

https://alchetron.com/Dassault-Mirage-IIIV

I can see two different three side view drawing.
(1) No saw-cut wing, wing air brakes are located middle of the wing.
(2) With saw-cut wing, wing air brakes are located rear of the wing.

https://alchetron.com is just a spamming site reposting Wikipedia articles and Youtube content. Please don't post links to it.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Topic locked. These catchall topics are very bad for organising information.
 
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