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What if, the Mirage-4000 was produced?

Wyvern

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As I thought, the ADV was definitely not suited for their operating environment. Their "operating space", if I may call it that, is rather small, especially for such a large, dedicated platform like the ADV.


Consult a map!

Saudi Arabia itself is over 800,000 sq miles... Which ignores the areas of the Gulf and Red Sea (and any foreign airspace one might wish to patrol in the event of hostilities).

Italy and UK are right about an eighth of that. If you include the GIUK (say, 1600 mi long x 500 mi wide) with the UK itself, it's still less area than just Saudi Arabian land area. About 100,000 sq mi less!
I guess so, I know that they are a massive country, but where would they use them? Would they be used for internal patrols? I'm probably just being a bit thick, but I just can't wrap my head around it.
 

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I guess so, I know that they are a massive country, but where would they use them? Would they be used for internal patrols? I'm probably just being a bit thick, but I just can't wrap my head around it.
The F3 is designed specifically for a mission that allowed it to loiter a long time over long distance with a long range radar looking around. Even more time in the air if you add large Hindenburg drop tanks to it. That sounds like the ideal aircraft for the Saudi's in my book...
 

_Del_

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As I thought, the ADV was definitely not suited for their operating environment. Their "operating space", if I may call it that, is rather small, especially for such a large, dedicated platform like the ADV.


Consult a map!

Saudi Arabia itself is over 800,000 sq miles... Which ignores the areas of the Gulf and Red Sea (and any foreign airspace one might wish to patrol in the event of hostilities).

Italy and UK are right about an eighth of that. If you include the GIUK (say, 1600 mi long x 500 mi wide) with the UK itself, it's still less area than just Saudi Arabian land area. About 100,000 sq mi less!
I guess so, I know that they are a massive country, but where would they use them? Would they be used for internal patrols? I'm probably just being a bit thick, but I just can't wrap my head around it.

They have ~1,100 miles of coastline on the Red Sea with associated oil terminals. Since all Suez traffic goes by there, it is of pretty high strategic relevance. The Gulf of Aqaba region sees the nestling together of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia-- which all seems a hell of a lot more stable today than it did in the 80's.
Iraq to the north was a powerhouse. And of course, there is the Persian Gulf -- and the Iranians across it with a newly modernized military under the Shah now under the control of revolutionaries, like Khomeini calling Wahhabis in Arabia heretics and other unsavory names.

Once the US made it clear they weren't going to sell them the second batch of F-15's, they had little choice but to explore the Tornado and take a second look at the Mirage 4000.
 

Archibald

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I checked and yes, the second batch of F-15 was unlocked only in the early 90's. So it make sense that for a brief period they looked for ADV and 4000s.

further research brought a (single source) saying that they didn't even got 24 ADV but only 8 or 12 before GW1 and... they hated them so much, the second lot of 12 was turned into IDS; while the ADVs were repurposed as reconnaissance or strike platforms.

Is there a reliable source on Saudis ADVs somewhere ?
 

BLACK_MAMBA

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further research brought a (single source) saying that they didn't even got 24 ADV but only 8 or 12 before GW1 and... they hated them so much, the second lot of 12 was turned into IDS; while the ADVs were repurposed as reconnaissance or strike platforms.
You'd be hard pressed to turn the F3 into a strike aircraft... It didn't have that capability - at least not in RAF service. Reconnaissance maybe but that would be quite a waste.

They did convert their follow up order of 12 more ADV's (on top of original 48) into IDS' instead but it looks like that coincided with being able to obtain more F-15's in any case which was the better air defence aircraft between the two.
 

Wyvern

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As I thought, the ADV was definitely not suited for their operating environment. Their "operating space", if I may call it that, is rather small, especially for such a large, dedicated platform like the ADV.


Consult a map!

Saudi Arabia itself is over 800,000 sq miles... Which ignores the areas of the Gulf and Red Sea (and any foreign airspace one might wish to patrol in the event of hostilities).

Italy and UK are right about an eighth of that. If you include the GIUK (say, 1600 mi long x 500 mi wide) with the UK itself, it's still less area than just Saudi Arabian land area. About 100,000 sq mi less!
I guess so, I know that they are a massive country, but where would they use them? Would they be used for internal patrols? I'm probably just being a bit thick, but I just can't wrap my head around it.

They have ~1,100 miles of coastline on the Red Sea with associated oil terminals. Since all Suez traffic goes by there, it is of pretty high strategic relevance. The Gulf of Aqaba region sees the nestling together of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia-- which all seems a hell of a lot more stable today than it did in the 80's.
Iraq to the north was a powerhouse. And of course, there is the Persian Gulf -- and the Iranians across it with a newly modernized military under the Shah now under the control of revolutionaries, like Khomeini calling Wahhabis in Arabia heretics and other unsavory names.

Once the US made it clear they weren't going to sell them the second batch of F-15's, they had little choice but to explore the Tornado and take a second look at the Mirage 4000.
I completely overlooked that aspect. Thanks for the insight!
 

_Del_

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I completely overlooked that aspect. Thanks for the insight!
Was mostly surprised you called it small! It's about the same size as Greenland, with vitally important strategic water to the east and west. Bigger than the combined area of France, Germany, Spain and Italy. It's a lot of coast to cover, even ignoring the land borders. And infrastructure, like that needed for air bases, is/was relatively scarce.
 

_Del_

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I checked and yes, the second batch of F-15 was unlocked only in the early 90's. So it make sense that for a brief period they looked for ADV and 4000s.
It was a political hot potato in the US.

Maybe you're more familiar or have better (French) sources, but I am under the impression that I once read the Saudis actually favoured the Mirage 4000 option over the Eagle before the first buy, but they weren't interested in being the sole user bearing the entire cost for development, logistics, etc.

When the AdA opted (almost certainly rightly) to pivot away to the more affordable and exportable 2000, it killed the Saudi interest, and they bought the first Eagle batch. After the second batch was denied, Dassault started pushing the 4000 again.
 

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Maybe you're more familiar or have better (French) sources, but I am under the impression that I once read the Saudis actually favoured the Mirage 4000 option over the Eagle before the first buy, but they weren't interested in being the sole user bearing the entire cost for development, logistics, etc.

When the AdA opted (almost certainly rightly) to pivot away to the more affordable and exportable 2000, it killed the Saudi interest, and they bought the first Eagle batch. After the second batch was denied, Dassault started pushing the 4000 again.
Without the French the Saudi's were very unlikely to buy Mirage 4000. Being barred from ordering further F-15's and not willing to risk being the sole M4000 operator that in reality only really leaves the F3 in terms of capability with respect to range and weapon load which is how it panned out in the end.
 

Archibald

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Makes ton of sense.

- The 2000/4000 decision was taken at a Giscard / Dassault meeting on December 18, 1975.

- The 4000 flew in March 1979, at the time Iraq, not the Saudis, were the driving force. Of course the war 18 months later prevented Saddam from buying any other Mirages than the F1EQ series (which proved extremely efficient during the war, even dowing a couple of Tomcats through very clever ambushes)

-Peace Sun 1 was sealed in 1981, Israel already had its F-15s since they butchered the Syrian air force only a year later at the Bekaa "turkey shot". Israel forbade any more than 60 F-15s in Saudi hands at any time, for the next decade.

- Al Yamahmah giga-contract including the ADV happened in September 1985

-Dassault renewed push for the Saudis happened between 1986 and 1988.

Without the French the Saudi's were very unlikely to buy Mirage 4000. Being barred from ordering further F-15's and not willing to risk being the sole M4000 operator that in reality only really leaves the F3 in terms of capability with respect to range and weapon load which is how it panned out in the end.

Frack yes, unfortunately. Just like freakkin' F-20 Tigershark, actually. Or the Lavi.
Dassault tried in chance with the Saudis against such odds
a) because they had truckloads of oil money, so you never know
b) because the Saudis shit their pants being trapped between Iran and Iraq and being the next target after the ongoing butchering (instead it was Kuwait, but Saddam was crazy, and the Mullahs were nuts, so you never know)
c) because of the peculiar F-15 situation - if the British had managed to sell a handful of ADV, he could try the 4000.

Don't forget the Saudi immediate next neighbourghs were quite bonkers

- Iran was sending human waves clearing minefields, giving volunteers a plastic key supposedly leading to Allah paradise - in exchange for their sacrifices (no kidding: watch Marjane Satrapi Persépolis )

- Saddam was gassing both Iranians and Kurds with mustard gas, the SOB

So yes, the Saudis were a little worried.

But you are right, the AdA wouldn't buy the 4000 - not in 1976 nor 1979 nor 1986 nor 1988. That train left the station definitively with Giscard decision in December 1975.
And it got worse from 1978 onwards when pre-Rafale history started, resulting in the ACX presented to the press in 1983.

Proof: the ASMP. It was first sketched for the ACF in 1972-75, then frozen when the ACF died.
It was brought back from 1977 but, instead of bringing back the 4000 as a two-seat nuclear bomber, it was decided instead
- short term: 18*Mirage IV-A turned IV-P ASMP carriers
- long term: Mirage 2000N

It is a pity, because there was a very small opportunity to bring back the 4000 there as a Mirage IV successor.
But it wasn't done, because only 62 Mirage IVA were ever build, of which only 18 (19 after one crashed) were turned into ASMP carriers.

Developping the 4000 for only 18 to 62 aircraft and very uncertain export orders... that was too much, too risky for post 1973 oil-shock France. Despite Giscard and PM Raymond Barre best efforts, unemployement went from 400 000 in 1974 to a whopping 2 million by 1981, a 500% increase. And it hasn't come down since then, damn it. Stuck at 2.5 million (best case).

Then Miterrand and his cronies messed up the economy even further by going the exact opposite way of Maggie Thatcher on the other side of the Channel - re-nationalizing as much as she privatized (which says something !)

Whatever, there was no room for the 4000 in that context. Even the Su-27 and MiG-31 couldn't bring it back.
 
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Wyvern

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Was mostly surprised you called it small!
I was mostly assuming it would be used to patrol the air over the sea, like how the RAF used it. I was thinking small in width, rather than in length, and concentrated most on the width. The length of the shoreline makes all the difference.
 

_Del_

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It is a pity, because there was a very small opportunity to bring back the 4000 there as a Mirage IV successor.
I was just mulling this, actually (while I should be doing more productive things).

I imagine part of the appeal for export is that the French are/were notoriously -- atleast in the eyes of the US defense sector!-- willing to sell to anyone with cash. The Saudis don't have to worry about their order or access to spares, etc being held hostage to political whims in the US. Nothing worse than having all one's supply of spares cut a few days into hostilities because one's patron doesn't approve of the Kingdom's affairs.

A second point in favour is the Mirage pitched as multirole from the start. It conceivably could replace the entire Saudi F-15, ADV, and IDS buys down the line. It certainly has growth potential for dedicated strike, recon, EW later, as well.

Perhaps if the AdA committed to 50 to replace the Mirage IV, it would be enough to tip the scales and keep it a live.
 

isayyo2

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Something that hasn't been mentioned yet was that the Saudi's got an additional 24 F-15C/D's straight from European based squadrons right after the Kuwaiti Invasion in 1990. From Joe Baugher: http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_fighters/f15_14.html
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 changed everything. The limit of only sixty F-15 airplanes in country at any one time was quickly dropped, and 24 F-15C/D Eagles were rushed to the RSAF from USAF stocks. These subsequently became the core of the newly-formed 42 Squadron at Dhahran.
 

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It is a pity, because there was a very small opportunity to bring back the 4000 there as a Mirage IV successor.
I was just mulling this, actually (while I should be doing more productive things).

I imagine part of the appeal for export is that the French are/were notoriously -- atleast in the eyes of the US defense sector!-- willing to sell to anyone with cash. The Saudis don't have to worry about their order or access to spares, etc being held hostage to political whims in the US. Nothing worse than having all one's supply of spares cut a few days into hostilities because one's patron doesn't approve of the Kingdom's affairs.

A second point in favour is the Mirage pitched as multirole from the start. It conceivably could replace the entire Saudi F-15, ADV, and IDS buys down the line. It certainly has growth potential for dedicated strike, recon, EW later, as well.

Perhaps if the AdA committed to 50 to replace the Mirage IV, it would be enough to tip the scales and keep it a live.

Hell yes. That's exactly why I used the F1-M53
a) to screw the Mirage 2000 in 1975 and clear the way for the 4000
b) to "pull a Rafale" and makes enormous economies of scale across the AdA and Aéronavale fleets, standardizing them around a 600 airframes run
c) and this free some money for the 4000 as an ASMP carrier in 1978
d) kickstarting the export pipeline, either with the Iraqis or the Saudis
e) and later with a little luck: adding EJ200s and solving the Rafale-Typhoon OTL gap its own, unique way.

I vaguely remember (in le Fana perhaps) there were vague talks of creating a miniature squadron of 5 Mirage 4000 to try and bait export orders. Yes, that sounds like a very stupid idea - by comparison, even 18 Mirage 4000 ASMP sounds like a bargain.

Problem is, as far as French nuclear deterrent is concerned, even with ASMP aerial nuclear strike is marginal at best, behind a) Plateau d'Albion IRBM and b) SLBMs

Compared to the 1959-64 Mirage IVA massive effort, the IV-P, 2000N and Rafale were / are merely palliatives - ordinary aircraft with an ASMP bolted on the belly.
 
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Archibald

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Something that hasn't been mentioned yet was that the Saudi's got an additional 24 F-15C/D's straight from European based squadrons right after the Kuwaiti Invasion in 1990. From Joe Baugher: http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_fighters/f15_14.html
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990 changed everything. The limit of only sixty F-15 airplanes in country at any one time was quickly dropped, and 24 F-15C/D Eagles were rushed to the RSAF from USAF stocks. These subsequently became the core of the newly-formed 42 Squadron at Dhahran.

The Mirage 4000 last flew in October 1988 - Dassault gave up the Saudis at that time. So by GW1 the 4000 was already toast and on its way toward Le Bourget National Aviation Museum.

Never knew that was the reason that shut down the Israelis for good. Well, with Saddam lobbing Scuds at them, they promptly realized the Saudis could certainly be allocated some more F-15s if only to fight him. Makes a lot of sense.
 

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Mirage4000

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I checked and yes, the second batch of F-15 was unlocked only in the early 90's. So it make sense that for a brief period they looked for ADV and 4000s.
It was a political hot potato in the US.

Maybe you're more familiar or have better (French) sources, but I am under the impression that I once read the Saudis actually favoured the Mirage 4000 option over the Eagle before the first buy, but they weren't interested in being the sole user bearing the entire cost for development, logistics, etc.

When the AdA opted (almost certainly rightly) to pivot away to the more affordable and exportable 2000, it killed the Saudi interest, and they bought the first Eagle batch. After the second batch was denied, Dassault started pushing the 4000 again.
I totally agree, the Mirage 2000 is to blame for the demise of Mirage 4000, but also Rafale was to blame for that.


Mirage 4000 was like a F-15 fighter aircraft but Eurofighter was to be superior to the Eagle, and it is.

By the 1980s the Mirage 4000 was obsolete, I meant obsolete to the European requirements that demanded Rafale and Typhoon.

I do not think the Panavia Tornado will be superior to Mirage 4000, but Mirage 4000 relied on a very big wing with very high swept, on Rafale that changed to lower max speed thus Rafale has lower swept and relatively more economical engines than Mirage 4000

The intake on Rafale is semi ventral so it helps AoA handling.

the wing is proportionally smaller on Rafale but it is further forward and with LEX so it relies less in size and more in design and position to generate lift.


The French technically decided to go for a lighter Mirage 2000 and for a more maneouvrable Rafale than a more expensive and less optimised aircraft for sustained turn rate as was Mirage 4000.

Big area means also more drag, so Rafale opted for a proportionally smaller wing that generates less drag despite it was with lower swept
 
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Archibald

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Yup. Mirage 4000 was a big brutish thing including a mach 2.5 speed inherited from the previous ACF. Rafale is a smaller, refined variant of it, slower but semi-stealth.
Note that the Rafale managed to keep the 4000 pretty amazing number of external hardpoints and pylons, a good fourteen of them... a Mirage 4000 fully loaded would have been quite the bomb truck or missile truck.
 

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The intake on Rafale is semi ventral so it helps AoA handling.

the wing is proportionally smaller on Rafale but it is further forward and with LEX so it relies less in size and more in design and position to generate lift.

The French technically decided to go for a lighter Mirage 2000 and for a more maneouvrable Rafale than a more expensive and less optimised aircraft for sustained turn rate as was Mirage 4000.

Big area means also more drag, so Rafale opted for a proportionally smaller wing that generates less drag despite it was with higher swept
OK, but, for sustained turn rate, aren't the aerodynamics of the semi ventral (2x7500 kgp) Rafale's air intakes (boundary layer traps) a handicap compared to that of the Mirage 4000 (in particular when it was on its third motorization with 2x9700 kgp) ? Even if it can be compensated (or even overcompensated) by all the other elements that you mention ?
 

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There were growth variants of the M88 to fill that "gap" at least partially. And the Typhoon EJ200s, of course, are nearly as powerful as the old M53-P2.

That's why I often think that a Mirage 4000 with EJ200s would have been one hell of a terrific aircraft.

It would have lost a little power, but the engines would have been aproximately 30% smaller and 30% lighter (Wikipedia allows for an honest-to-god EJ200 vs M53 comparison, and gosh, makes the M53 looks like a fat dinosaur of engine)
- freeing a tremendous amount of internal space for MOAR fuel (and / or weight for MOAR bombs and missiles).

----------

Somewhere on this forum I have a TL where things turn slightly differently circa 1976-78: Dassault and his 4000 team with the Germans and their (equally brutish) TFK-90. Instead of the British first as happened OTL.

Let's say the British are busy enough with the Tornado ADV and Dassault goes elsewhere.

The TFK-90 was a tad larger than the present day Typhoon and thus closer from the 4000.

Now what is really astonishing is, in 1977 was the Mirage 3000: a 2000 with a pair of RB199s ! I once thought it was an "Internet fantasy" but hell no, it wasn't: I found small traces of it on Google books.

A good case can be made that a "twin RB199 Mirage 2000" is more or less "a shrunk 4000 with Tornado engines" !

Now, blend that with the germans TKF-90 studies... and then shift to the ECA / ECF studies...
Basically the Mirage 4000 (or the 3000, you get the point) takes the future Typhoon from "above" (1977-81) instead of the Rafale trying to tackle it from "below" (1983-85: too late, the split has been consumated).

I think the Mirage 3000 could have been the key - had Dassault in 1977-78 gone to the Germans and their TKF-90, rather than the British and their BAe P96 to P106 / P110 studies.

By 1977 the 4000 hadn't flown nor was the prototype being build: Mirage 2000 had utter priority for obvious reasons. So it could have been nixed in favor of the 3000, a shrunk variant keeping the canards and bubble canopy.

And that smaller aircraft "closer from the 2000" could have tempted the AdA, perhaps as a long term ASMP carrier...

Of course SNECMA would go ape shit as the M88 (just like the XJ30 / 40 demonstrators bridiging the gap between RB199 and EJ200) was already in the making: back then it was called M69.
 
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The intake on Rafale is semi ventral so it helps AoA handling.

the wing is proportionally smaller on Rafale but it is further forward and with LEX so it relies less in size and more in design and position to generate lift.

The French technically decided to go for a lighter Mirage 2000 and for a more maneouvrable Rafale than a more expensive and less optimised aircraft for sustained turn rate as was Mirage 4000.

Big area means also more drag, so Rafale opted for a proportionally smaller wing that generates less drag despite it was with higher swept
OK, but, for sustained turn rate, aren't the aerodynamics of the semi ventral (2x7500 kgp) Rafale's air intakes (boundary layer traps) a handicap compared to that of the Mirage 4000 (in particular when it was on its third motorization with 2x9700 kgp) ? Even if it can be compensated (or even overcompensated) by all the other elements that you mention ?
well we have to remember that without numbers is difficult to say where are the advantages of Rafale over Mirage 4000

1619262162614.png

The body of the Rafale places its intakes in a semi-shielded position turning the flow at high AoA too, however they are not truely ventral intakes like F-16 or Su-27 have; they are kind of situated to the sides of the fuselage like Mirage 4000, this position is also good for yaw .

Rafale has in my opinion, I am not a professional but you have to consider Rafale must be better than Mirage 4000 since le armee del air thinks Rafale was a better option than Mirage 4000

The taiwanese fighter has the intake with a very similar shape to Rafale
1619262688099.png

However the boundary layer does not flow above the wing as in Rafale.

Air-to-Air missions (interception and dog fight) need both use of high angle of attack till maximum lift and high Mach number. Consequently, a thoroughly optimization of the air intakes has been undertaken to achieve the required behaviour for stationary and non stationary air flows, at high angle of attack and yaw, up to the limit of available maneuverability thanks to the delta canard configuration
The optimization, based on intensive aerodynamic computations and wind tunnel tests, converged on a very new design: air intakes protected at high angle of attack by a special shape of the front fuselage (like a boat stem) and the canard which interact on the air flow in front of the air intake. This stem is sufficient to protect also at high yaw angle and to guarantee an appropriate independence of both air intakes, in case of flame out of one engine. This design, which features no movable devices (shock-cone, ramp) and no devices of boundary layer’s suction, is the quite unique Mach 2 air intake of this type in the world



So I guess the Rafale must be superior to the Mirage 4000 at Sustained turn rate since the wing has less swept and its intake seem to be better designed for better engine operation

Aircraft Aspect Ratio Maximum Mach Service
Sea level High altitude
Mirage 2000 2.03 1.2 2.2
Dassault Rafale 2.6 1.1 1.8

You can consider Mirage 2000 has a similar wing to Mirage 4000

 
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Archibald

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A good case could be make that the Mirage iconic "mice air intakes" had reached their limits, somewhat. It was time to change the air intake(s) - something not done since the SMB-4 in 1958.
They were perfect to fly fast and non stealthy; fine for the 4000, not for the Rafale.
Also I heard that, canard-wise, those intakes prevented an optimal, efficient setup. As seen on the Kfir and 4000 and some other Mirage upgrades.

The Rafale canard smoothly blends into the forward fuselage and cockpit sides - because the intakes are no longer in the way.
Better for stealth (also the lack of spike there helps a lot) but the main advantage (from memory) is related to the wing and maneuverability - some kind of interaction between the canard and the wing that wasn't possible with the Mirages and grants better agility overall.

"Et le canard était toujours vivant !"
 

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There were growth variants of the M88 to fill that "gap" at least partially. And the Typhoon EJ200s, of course, are nearly as powerful as the old M53-P2.

That's why I often think that a Mirage 4000 with EJ200s would have been one hell of a terrific aircraft.

It would have lost a little power, but the engines would have been aproximately 30% smaller and 30% lighter (Wikipedia allows for an honest-to-god EJ200 vs M53 comparison, and gosh, makes the M53 looks like a fat dinosaur of engine)
- freeing a tremendous amount of internal space for MOAR fuel (and / or weight for MOAR bombs and missiles).
It would also mess with the CG. Rather than EJ200 (which I really like), why not an M53 sized M88? Build an "M88" that could be a drop in replacement for the M53. This will be a somewhat inaccurate approximation, but just going by the thrust to weight of the two engines, an M53 sized engine with M88 T/W would have roughly 28,000 pounds of afterburner thrust. I suspect it would actually be a bit less, but by way of comparison the AL-41 in the Su-27 is roughly the size of the M53 and it is in the ballpark of 28,000 pounds wet.

That would leave the EJ200 and F404/414 in a smaller engine category, the F100 and F110 in a larger category, and Snecma in the middle with an "M88-53" in a size category that would also include the J79 and a whole bunch of upgradable F-4s in addition to the Mirages. It would also give the F1 a 1:1 or better T/W, which is even better for this thread's scenario down the line.

I think it also implies that whenever "Rafale" (whatever that would be, probably stealth and some 10 years later) comes around it could be a single engined aircraft with a growth version of the new "M88".
 

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Not a bad idea, it would also throw a bone to keep SNECMA happy...
 

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It would also mess with the CG. Rather than EJ200 (which I really like), why not an M53 sized M88? Build an "M88" that could be a drop in replacement for the M53. This will be a somewhat inaccurate approximation, but just going by the thrust to weight of the two engines, an M53 sized engine with M88 T/W would have roughly 28,000 pounds of afterburner thrust. I suspect it would actually be a bit less, but by way of comparison the AL-41 in the Su-27 is roughly the size of the M53 and it is in the ballpark of 28,000 pounds wet.
I don't think it's as easy as that to just build a bigger M53 sized M88. It very likely not a linear relationship in thrust and scale.
France struggled for a while to match the US and in some ways the UK in engine technology. The M88 finally brought them on par.

The M4000 just tried to enter a world dominated by the F15. Only a couple of years after its first flight the 15 was a combat proven aircraft. It was always going to be an uphill battle. Dassault had an strange obsession with building an F15 sized aircraft with the G- family, the ACF, 4000 etc. but never had the funding for it... Their smaller designs all sold very well though.

If they skipped the 2000 and just built the 4000 maybe they had a chance, but the smaller and lighter 2000 was always going to win once the finance guys got involved. It also had a significantly higher export chance going by F1 and M3 sales and it proved to indeed be so. I doubt the 4000 would have sold nearly as well as the 2000 managed.
 

apparition13

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I don't think it's as easy as that to just build a bigger M53 sized M88. It very likely not a linear relationship in thrust and scale.
I wasn't suggesting building the M88, then scaling it up to M53 size. I was suggesting building the next engine (which became the M88) as M53 sized from the beginning. The existing M88 in the same size category as F404 and EJ200 wouldn't exist at all, rather an M53 sized engine using the technology that went into the M88 would. You could then drop it into the F1 and M4000 (and M2000 if it exists in the timeline), and perhaps even as a replacement for J79s, assuming the wiki dimensions are anywhere in the right ballpark.
 

helmutkohl

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It would also mess with the CG. Rather than EJ200 (which I really like), why not an M53 sized M88? Build an "M88" that could be a drop in replacement for the M53. This will be a somewhat inaccurate approximation, but just going by the thrust to weight of the two engines, an M53 sized engine with M88 T/W would have roughly 28,000 pounds of afterburner thrust. I suspect it would actually be a bit less, but by way of comparison the AL-41 in the Su-27 is roughly the size of the M53 and it is in the ballpark of 28,000 pounds wet.
I don't think it's as easy as that to just build a bigger M53 sized M88. It very likely not a linear relationship in thrust and scale.
France struggled for a while to match the US and in some ways the UK in engine technology. The M88 finally brought them on par.

The M4000 just tried to enter a world dominated by the F15. Only a couple of years after its first flight the 15 was a combat proven aircraft. It was always going to be an uphill battle. Dassault had an strange obsession with building an F15 sized aircraft with the G- family, the ACF, 4000 etc. but never had the funding for it... Their smaller designs all sold very well though.

If they skipped the 2000 and just built the 4000 maybe they had a chance, but the smaller and lighter 2000 was always going to win once the finance guys got involved. It also had a significantly higher export chance going by F1 and M3 sales and it proved to indeed be so. I doubt the 4000 would have sold nearly as well as the 2000 managed.
I agree on the point that single-engined and light aircraft are what sold well for France on the export market. (although the French were capable of building big boys too)

I wonder how well a single-engined Rafale would have done on the export market.
Which is more or less the Novi-Avion, which if Wikipedia is correct, had significant input from Dassault.
could be another alternative scenario. Dassault and France decide to take the Novi-Avion for themselves after the break up of the Yugoslavia. market it as a Gripen alternative.
 

Mirage4000

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It would also mess with the CG. Rather than EJ200 (which I really like), why not an M53 sized M88? Build an "M88" that could be a drop in replacement for the M53. This will be a somewhat inaccurate approximation, but just going by the thrust to weight of the two engines, an M53 sized engine with M88 T/W would have roughly 28,000 pounds of afterburner thrust. I suspect it would actually be a bit less, but by way of comparison the AL-41 in the Su-27 is roughly the size of the M53 and it is in the ballpark of 28,000 pounds wet.
I don't think it's as easy as that to just build a bigger M53 sized M88. It very likely not a linear relationship in thrust and scale.
France struggled for a while to match the US and in some ways the UK in engine technology. The M88 finally brought them on par.

The M4000 just tried to enter a world dominated by the F15. Only a couple of years after its first flight the 15 was a combat proven aircraft. It was always going to be an uphill battle. Dassault had an strange obsession with building an F15 sized aircraft with the G- family, the ACF, 4000 etc. but never had the funding for it... Their smaller designs all sold very well though.

If they skipped the 2000 and just built the 4000 maybe they had a chance, but the smaller and lighter 2000 was always going to win once the finance guys got involved. It also had a significantly higher export chance going by F1 and M3 sales and it proved to indeed be so. I doubt the 4000 would have sold nearly as well as the 2000 managed.
I agree on the point that single-engined and light aircraft are what sold well for France on the export market. (although the French were capable of building big boys too)

I wonder how well a single-engined Rafale would have done on the export market.
Which is more or less the Novi-Avion, which if Wikipedia is correct, had significant input from Dassault.
could be another alternative scenario. Dassault and France decide to take the Novi-Avion for themselves after the break up of the Yugoslavia. market it as a Gripen alternative.
In my opinion every thing is related to the military budget.


France should had built 150 Mirage 4000 for the French air force, 400 Mirage 2000 and later switch to Rafale and built 300 all for l armee del air.


Mirage 2000 fills the novi avion niche, even fills the niche of Gripen, it is a good aircraft, the Mirage 4000 offers not that much more than Mirage 2000, even Gripen does not offer that much more.

But money is the biggest constraign, I mean the french took the cheapest option, technically not the best, but the cheapest and more practical indeed.

The reality is Mirage 4000 is not a very demanded type, Russia built Su-27, the USA F-15, but most air forces in the world use MiG-21s or F-5s, very few air forces want Mirage 2000s, F-16s or MiG-29 and much fewer Mirage 4000s, and the niche demands few aircraft.

In reality the Mirage 4000 was a good alternative in Europe for the Tornado ADV but the niche has to much competition so Tornado went ahead while Mirage disappeared in history as one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed in the last quarter of the XX century, but saddly it was too expensive even for France
 
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helmutkohl

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It would also mess with the CG. Rather than EJ200 (which I really like), why not an M53 sized M88? Build an "M88" that could be a drop in replacement for the M53. This will be a somewhat inaccurate approximation, but just going by the thrust to weight of the two engines, an M53 sized engine with M88 T/W would have roughly 28,000 pounds of afterburner thrust. I suspect it would actually be a bit less, but by way of comparison the AL-41 in the Su-27 is roughly the size of the M53 and it is in the ballpark of 28,000 pounds wet.
I don't think it's as easy as that to just build a bigger M53 sized M88. It very likely not a linear relationship in thrust and scale.
France struggled for a while to match the US and in some ways the UK in engine technology. The M88 finally brought them on par.

The M4000 just tried to enter a world dominated by the F15. Only a couple of years after its first flight the 15 was a combat proven aircraft. It was always going to be an uphill battle. Dassault had an strange obsession with building an F15 sized aircraft with the G- family, the ACF, 4000 etc. but never had the funding for it... Their smaller designs all sold very well though.

If they skipped the 2000 and just built the 4000 maybe they had a chance, but the smaller and lighter 2000 was always going to win once the finance guys got involved. It also had a significantly higher export chance going by F1 and M3 sales and it proved to indeed be so. I doubt the 4000 would have sold nearly as well as the 2000 managed.
I agree on the point that single-engined and light aircraft are what sold well for France on the export market. (although the French were capable of building big boys too)

I wonder how well a single-engined Rafale would have done on the export market.
Which is more or less the Novi-Avion, which if Wikipedia is correct, had significant input from Dassault.
could be another alternative scenario. Dassault and France decide to take the Novi-Avion for themselves after the break up of the Yugoslavia. market it as a Gripen alternative.
In my opinion every is related to the military budget.


France should had built 150 Mirage 4000 for the French air force, 400 Mirage 2000 and later switch to Rafale and built 300 all for l armee del air.


Mirage 2000 fills the novi avion niche, even fills the niche of Gripen, it is a good aircraft, the Mirage 4000 offers not that much more than Mirage 2000, even Gripen does not offer that much more.

But money is the biggest constraign, I mean the french took the cheapest option, technically not the best, but the cheapest and more practical indeed.

The reality is Mirage 4000 is not a very demanded type, Russia built Su-27, the USA F-15, but most air forces in the world use MiG-21s or F-5s, very few air forces want Mirage 2000s, F-16s or MiG-29 and much fewer Mirage 4000s, and the niche demands few aircraft.

In reality the Mirage 4000 was a good alternative in Europe for the Tornado ADV but the niche has to much competition so Tornado went ahead while Mirage disappeared in history as one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed in the last quarter of the XX century, but saddly it was too expensive even for France
Good point on competition with Tornado.
but imho, had the Mirage-2000 and Mirage-4000 both been built
I suspect Dassault and France may have not even built the Rafale due to the capabilities the 4000 built.
I reckon they would actually skip a 4.5 gen fighter (since they already have 2 4th gen ones)
and may proceed to an actual 5th gen aircraft.
this also means they would skip FCAS too
 

Mirage4000

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It would also mess with the CG. Rather than EJ200 (which I really like), why not an M53 sized M88? Build an "M88" that could be a drop in replacement for the M53. This will be a somewhat inaccurate approximation, but just going by the thrust to weight of the two engines, an M53 sized engine with M88 T/W would have roughly 28,000 pounds of afterburner thrust. I suspect it would actually be a bit less, but by way of comparison the AL-41 in the Su-27 is roughly the size of the M53 and it is in the ballpark of 28,000 pounds wet.
I don't think it's as easy as that to just build a bigger M53 sized M88. It very likely not a linear relationship in thrust and scale.
France struggled for a while to match the US and in some ways the UK in engine technology. The M88 finally brought them on par.

The M4000 just tried to enter a world dominated by the F15. Only a couple of years after its first flight the 15 was a combat proven aircraft. It was always going to be an uphill battle. Dassault had an strange obsession with building an F15 sized aircraft with the G- family, the ACF, 4000 etc. but never had the funding for it... Their smaller designs all sold very well though.

If they skipped the 2000 and just built the 4000 maybe they had a chance, but the smaller and lighter 2000 was always going to win once the finance guys got involved. It also had a significantly higher export chance going by F1 and M3 sales and it proved to indeed be so. I doubt the 4000 would have sold nearly as well as the 2000 managed.
I agree on the point that single-engined and light aircraft are what sold well for France on the export market. (although the French were capable of building big boys too)

I wonder how well a single-engined Rafale would have done on the export market.
Which is more or less the Novi-Avion, which if Wikipedia is correct, had significant input from Dassault.
could be another alternative scenario. Dassault and France decide to take the Novi-Avion for themselves after the break up of the Yugoslavia. market it as a Gripen alternative.
In my opinion every is related to the military budget.


France should had built 150 Mirage 4000 for the French air force, 400 Mirage 2000 and later switch to Rafale and built 300 all for l armee del air.


Mirage 2000 fills the novi avion niche, even fills the niche of Gripen, it is a good aircraft, the Mirage 4000 offers not that much more than Mirage 2000, even Gripen does not offer that much more.

But money is the biggest constraign, I mean the french took the cheapest option, technically not the best, but the cheapest and more practical indeed.

The reality is Mirage 4000 is not a very demanded type, Russia built Su-27, the USA F-15, but most air forces in the world use MiG-21s or F-5s, very few air forces want Mirage 2000s, F-16s or MiG-29 and much fewer Mirage 4000s, and the niche demands few aircraft.

In reality the Mirage 4000 was a good alternative in Europe for the Tornado ADV but the niche has to much competition so Tornado went ahead while Mirage disappeared in history as one of the most beautiful aircraft ever designed in the last quarter of the XX century, but saddly it was too expensive even for France
Good point on competition with Tornado.
but imho, had the Mirage-2000 and Mirage-4000 both been built
I suspect Dassault and France may have not even built the Rafale due to the capabilities the 4000 built.
I reckon they would actually skip a 4.5 gen fighter (since they already have 2 4th gen ones)
and may proceed to an actual 5th gen aircraft.
this also means they would skip FCAS too
well in real life for France was the choice between the Mirage 4000 or Rafale, Mirage 4000 has a very low wing loading that I am sure gives it a very high instantaneous turn rate, even in Sustained turn rate must be good. I do not know if better than Rafale but i guess better than Panavia Tornado ADV.

Due to limited military budget, France chose Rafale over Mirage 4000, the experimental character of Mirage 4000 gave way to another more advanced prototype, the Rafale.


If France would had more money perhaps 150 Mirage 4000 would had flown from 1990 to 2004 and from 2000 the would have used Rafale to fill the naval and upgraded midsize fighter.


In my humble opinion that was only possible if money was available and the French would had offer to India Mirage 4000 as a Su-30MKI substitute or to Algeria and venezuela, but politics always play a part too
 

helmutkohl

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^ yeah I think there was a potential market in India and Algeria for a What-If Mirage 4000. probably not in the 80s but likely late 90s or 2000s when their economies got bigger and the need was greater.

But still not sure a Rafale would still emerge in this alternate reality.

Mirage 2000
First Flight 1978 Service 1984

Mirage 4000
First Flight 1979 Service 1985 (assuming it also requires 6 years like the Mirage 2000.. but I suspect because it is bigger and a more complicated plane, perhaps 1986-88 might be more reasonable).

In the real timeline, because M4K got cancelled quite early, Dassault went straight to work on the Rafale and got the prototype to fly in 1986
But since in this timeline, M4K did get ordered. The timeline for the next jet is likely to be delayed

YF-22
First flight 1990.
I would argue since the demand for a follow on to M2K and M4k is postponed, and the YF-22 emerged shortly after. Dassault may start thinking of a smaller lighter 5th gen follow up to replace both the M2K and M4K (Unfortunately this means the Navy has to make do with another aircraft)
i would assume First Flight 1998 or 2000. Enters service around 2010-2015

This means no FCAS since Dassault will already have its 5th gen aircraft, but the gen 6.5 fighter may be next
 

Archibald

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In my opinion every thing is related to the military budget.

And France economic strengths - and weaknesses.

Back to that Dassault - VGE meeting on December, 18 1975 (Président Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, elected in May 1974 only eight months after the oil shock - and doomed to become France Jimmy Carter, unfortunately for him !)

Background: since 1963 the Armée de l'Air (and Dassault) have struggled to find a viable successor to the Mirage III inexpensive and versatile family of combat aircraft.
Main issues are the following
- the AdA wants an unaffordable twin jet heavy fighter, blinded by the Phantom immense production run and export orders
- France radar industry (CSF, Dassault own shop, some others) has difficulties catching up with new technologies like pulse-doppler (Cyrano / RDI saga) and same for ground attack (Antilope wil take a very long time to mature, too).

- between 1969 and 1974 the Jaguar is duplicating a lot of attack types (Mirage IIIE, Mirage V, many others) at a cost that weights heavily on the AdA budget; Dassault truly hates it for that very reason !

- France economy (and the according military budget) has suffered a first blow with the post-May 1968 social gifts and a second much more lethal one with the 1973 oil shock

- Giscard is definitively NOT a Gaullist who would spent large sums of money in technical boondoggles like concorde "just for the glory of France". He is more akin to Walter Mondale or William Proxmire in mentality. "hold the budget purse tight !"

So against such complicated background, in 1972-75 the last in a serie of a failed "Mirage III replacement plan" was the following

- a low-high mix of Mirage F1-M53 / ACF

Problem was a) the ACF become more and more unaffordable and b) the F1-M53 low-end was screwed by the F-16 in the deal of the century in June 1975.

And thus the plan has been dropped: both aircraft abandonned.

Dassault however kind of reworked both high-end and low-end with delta-wings and analog FBW:
- Mirage 2000 + Mirage 4000

This however still doesn't solve the previous plan two major issues
- the high end remains as unaffordable as ever for the AdA
ACF versus Mirage 4000
- the low-end is more realistic but will have to face the goddam F-16 on export markets... not sure it will do as good as the Mirage III, which triumphed at a time when a) Uncle Sam expensive Phantoms were busy in Vietnam...
and b) the Phantom low-end was a mix of F-104G (old and controversial plus briberies) and F-5 (lower performance)

On December 18 1975 Dassault goes to meet Giscard at the Elysée palace and makes a half-baked proposal

"Sure, the Armée de l'Air wants the 4000. Two things are sure however
a) it will be expensive
b) no export orders however if the AdA doesn't buy it in the first place"

Then Giscard notes the 2000 beside it
"What's this one ?"
"A revamped single-engine Mirage III look-alike that should sold pretty well on export markets: it is close enough from the III and the F1..."

Giscard then makes the following proposal "Then why not the 2000 for the AdA, too ? and you would have an easier time to sell it on export markets..."

Dassault was taken aback but Giscard was kind right on both accounts: not only would the 2000 be much less expensive for France, but it would sell even better with its stamp of approval.

And that's how the 2000 carried the day.

Dassault said exiting the Elysée
"si l'Irak n'achète pas le 4000 il est foutu"
"If Iraq doesn't fund and buy the 4000, it is toast." And surely enough it happened exactly this way.

Meanwhile the AdA swallowed the pill of the 2000 only to note that as an interceptor 90% of the job could have been done by the previous F1-M53 and the F1-Atar entering service... RDI and Super 530D would have fit.

Another (greater) frustration was they had once again lost the twin-jet heavy fighter
after having lost
- 1958 Mirage IVC
- 1965 AFVG
- 1968 Mirage G4
- 1972 Mirage G8
- 1975 ACF
- 1979 Mirage 4000

That's quite a long list, it shows how stubborn was the AdA and also, how budgetary and political constraints invariably and in rapid succession screwed a French Phantom, a French F-111 and a French F-15.
And then guess what was the AdA reaction ?
"screw them, this time we will try to get a French Hornet thanks to smaller engines on a lighter and less expensive airframe"

And after a long and arduous fight, they suceeded (at the cost of the Typhoon split)

The Rafale !
 
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apparition13

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^ yeah I think there was a potential market in India and Algeria for a What-If Mirage 4000. probably not in the 80s but likely late 90s or 2000s when their economies got bigger and the need was greater.

But still not sure a Rafale would still emerge in this alternate reality.

Mirage 2000
First Flight 1978 Service 1984

Mirage 4000
First Flight 1979 Service 1985 (assuming it also requires 6 years like the Mirage 2000.. but I suspect because it is bigger and a more complicated plane, perhaps 1986-88 might be more reasonable).

In the real timeline, because M4K got cancelled quite early, Dassault went straight to work on the Rafale and got the prototype to fly in 1986
But since in this timeline, M4K did get ordered. The timeline for the next jet is likely to be delayed

YF-22
First flight 1990.
I would argue since the demand for a follow on to M2K and M4k is postponed, and the YF-22 emerged shortly after. Dassault may start thinking of a smaller lighter 5th gen follow up to replace both the M2K and M4K (Unfortunately this means the Navy has to make do with another aircraft)
i would assume First Flight 1998 or 2000. Enters service around 2010-2015

This means no FCAS since Dassault will already have its 5th gen aircraft, but the gen 6.5 fighter may be next
I think France actually winds up better off in this case. Go with M2K (or F1 M53 if you prefer) and M4K, buy the F-18 for the Navy, and then develop an omnirole "not Rafale" stealth aircraft. The best part is that doing this avoids the start and stop funding hell that was the 90s. Continue production of the existing 2k/4k lines during the 90s, then when some funding becomes available develop a stealth aircraft. And given the problems the F-35 has had, it might have found some sales as well.
 

Archibald

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^ yeah I think there was a potential market in India and Algeria for a What-If Mirage 4000. probably not in the 80s but likely late 90s or 2000s when their economies got bigger and the need was greater.

But still not sure a Rafale would still emerge in this alternate reality.

Mirage 2000
First Flight 1978 Service 1984

Mirage 4000
First Flight 1979 Service 1985 (assuming it also requires 6 years like the Mirage 2000.. but I suspect because it is bigger and a more complicated plane, perhaps 1986-88 might be more reasonable).

In the real timeline, because M4K got cancelled quite early, Dassault went straight to work on the Rafale and got the prototype to fly in 1986
But since in this timeline, M4K did get ordered. The timeline for the next jet is likely to be delayed

YF-22
First flight 1990.
I would argue since the demand for a follow on to M2K and M4k is postponed, and the YF-22 emerged shortly after. Dassault may start thinking of a smaller lighter 5th gen follow up to replace both the M2K and M4K (Unfortunately this means the Navy has to make do with another aircraft)
i would assume First Flight 1998 or 2000. Enters service around 2010-2015

This means no FCAS since Dassault will already have its 5th gen aircraft, but the gen 6.5 fighter may be next
I think France actually winds up better off in this case. Go with M2K (or F1 M53 if you prefer) and M4K, buy the F-18 for the Navy, and then develop an omnirole "not Rafale" stealth aircraft. The best part is that doing this avoids the start and stop funding hell that was the 90s. Continue production of the existing 2k/4k lines during the 90s, then when some funding becomes available develop a stealth aircraft. And given the problems the F-35 has had, it might have found some sales as well.

That's very much my take on the issue. Think F-15EX : the 4000 could still make sense even today !
That's why I suggest it as basis to bring the Typhoon and Rafale together in the 80's:
- either the 4000 as we know it, except with EJ200s
- or the 1977 Mirage 3000 which is even more amazing because it brings together
1- the 4000 / Typhoon / Rafale twin-jets
2- and also the lighter 2000, since it is a closer derivative from it than the larger 4000

There is some kind of "sweet spot" circa 1977-78 to get all four aircraft together in the shape of the Mirage 3000...
The Mirage 2000 flew in March 1978 and set some kind of new standard for Europe LWF against the F-16.
The closest thing from it was
- Great Britain P106
- Sweden Grippen, but only by 1989 and beyond
 
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Archibald

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The gist of the Mirage 3000 was very much to create an intermediate aircraft between the 2000 (= F-16) and the 4000 (= F-15). And guess what ? that's a Hornet !
But to create a Hornet, one needs something akin to a F404... the British had such engine: the Tornado's RB199 (from which the EJ200 derives via two RR demonstrator turbofans)
SNECMA had no such engine, only the "monster" M53 that resulted in the "monster" Mirage 4000: too large, too expensive.

At the end of the day the Mirage 3000 was an early atempt by Dassault at creating a French / European Hornet or MiG-29.

An intermediate-size twin-jet fighter.

Twenty years down that road and after a split, the Rafale and Typhoon made that idea come true.
 

red admiral

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With spending extra money and effort building a bigger aeroplane for increased range-payload how do you also invest in avionics to get air-to-surface, and air-to-air (look down shoot down, Semi Active missile support, EPM)? And later LO technologies for developing a French 5th Gen in the 2000s?
 

Mirage4000

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In my opinion every thing is related to the military budget.

And France economic strengths - and weaknesses.

Back to that Dassault - VGE meeting on December, 18 1975 (Président Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, elected in May 1974 only eight months after the oil shock - and doomed to become France Jimmy Carter, unfortunately for him !)

Background: since 1963 the Armée de l'Air (and Dassault) have struggled to find a viable successor to the Mirage III inexpensive and versatile family of combat aircraft.
Main issues are the following
- the AdA wants an unaffordable twin jet heavy fighter, blinded by the Phantom immense production run and export orders
- France radar industry (CSF, Dassault own shop, some others) has difficulties catching up with new technologies like pulse-doppler (Cyrano / RDI saga) and same for ground attack (Antilope wil take a very long time to mature, too).

- between 1969 and 1974 the Jaguar is duplicating a lot of attack types (Mirage IIIE, Mirage V, many others) at a cost that weights heavily on the AdA budget; Dassault truly hates it for that very reason !

- France economy (and the according military budget) has suffered a first blow with the post-May 1968 social gifts and a second much more lethal one with the 1973 oil shock

- Giscard is definitively NOT a Gaullist who would spent large sums of money in technical boondoggles like concorde "just for the glory of France". He is more akin to Walter Mondale or William Proxmire in mentality. "hold the budget purse tight !"

So against such complicated background, in 1972-75 the last in a serie of a failed "Mirage III replacement plan" was the following

- a low-high mix of Mirage F1-M53 / ACF

Problem was a) the ACF become more and more unaffordable and b) the F1-M53 low-end was screwed by the F-16 in the deal of the century in June 1975.

And thus the plan has been dropped: both aircraft abandonned.

Dassault however kind of reworked both high-end and low-end with delta-wings and analog FBW:
- Mirage 2000 + Mirage 4000

This however still doesn't solve the previous plan two major issues
- the high end remains as unaffordable as ever for the AdA
ACF versus Mirage 4000
- the low-end is more realistic but will have to face the goddam F-16 on export markets... not sure it will do as good as the Mirage III, which triumphed at a time when a) Uncle Sam expensive Phantoms were busy in Vietnam...
and b) the Phantom low-end was a mix of F-104G (old and controversial plus briberies) and F-5 (lower performance)

On December 18 1975 Dassault goes to meet Giscard at the Elysée palace and makes a half-baked proposal

"Sure, the Armée de l'Air wants the 4000. Two things are sure however
a) it will be expensive
b) no export orders however if the AdA doesn't buy it in the first place"

Then Giscard notes the 2000 beside it
"What's this one ?"
"A revamped single-engine Mirage III look-alike that should sold pretty well on export markets: it is close enough from the III and the F1..."

Giscard then makes the following proposal "Then why not the 2000 for the AdA, too ? and you would have an easier time to sell it on export markets..."

Dassault was taken aback but Giscard was kind right on both accounts: not only would the 2000 be much less expensive for France, but it would sell even better with its stamp of approval.

And that's how the 2000 carried the day.

Dassault said exiting the Elysée
"si l'Irak n'achète pas le 4000 il est foutu"
"If Iraq doesn't fund and buy the 4000, it is toast." And surely enough it happened exactly this way.

Meanwhile the AdA swallowed the pill of the 2000 only to note that as an interceptor 90% of the job could have been done by the previous F1-M53 and the F1-Atar entering service... RDI and Super 530D would have fit.

Another (greater) frustration was they had once again lost the twin-jet heavy fighter
after having lost
- 1958 Mirage IVC
- 1965 AFVG
- 1968 Mirage G4
- 1972 Mirage G8
- 1975 ACF
- 1979 Mirage 4000

That's quite a long list, it shows how stubborn was the AdA and also, how budgetary and political constraints invariably and in rapid succession screwed a French Phantom, a French F-111 and a French F-15.
And then guess what was the AdA reaction ?
"screw them, this time we will try to get a French Hornet thanks to smaller engines on a lighter and less expensive airframe"

And after a long and arduous fight, they suceeded (at the cost of the Typhoon split)

The Rafale !
I think France has done well.

All the Mirage Dassault made and the ADA have gotten I think they got the right aircraft.

Mirage III was excellent, it was on par with MiG-21 and to be honest the MiG-21 was a real match for the F-4.

Mirage F1 was more or less a MiG-23 type aircraft.

Mirage 2000 well more or less as good as F-16.

Rafale in the class of Typhoon, J-10 or MiG-35, so I do not think France has gotten bad aircraft.

I am a Mirage 4000 fan, of course I would had liked they built such a beautiful and powerful aircraft, but Rafale will beat the F-15 and it is very close to F-22, so to be honest in terms of quality I see good aircraft.

If Mirage 4000 had gotten into production the most important asset of this would have been a cheaper price for the engines and other assets so a Cheaper price for Mirage 2000 would had helped the export orders of both aircraft, but I guess for France it was a gamble too risky, so they went for the safer way, Mirage 2000 and later Rafale
 
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TomcatViP

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[...] Rafale will beat the F-15 and is very close
Even in its most refined outfits today (F3R with aesa) a Rafale has less radar range, less AoA (and way less roll authority at high AoA), very close power to weight ratio and a far less maximum speed.

If the M4K was to have been successful with a range of international customers, IMOHO we will probably have seen foreign systems embedded and given the size of the airframe, it's is probable that the 4k could have been a serious competitor in the market (with still the engine problem).

Regarding Marcel Dassault and VGE conversions, I am more convinced that the 2K resulted more from a push by M.D that didn't see much profitability in its bigger sibling.
 
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Mirage4000

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[...] Rafale will beat the F-15 and is very close
Even in its most refined outfits today (F3R with aesa) a Rafale has less radar range, less AoA (and way less roll authority at high AoA), very close power to weight ratio and a far less maximum speed.

If the M4K was to have been successful with a range of international customers, IMOHO we will probably have seen foreign systems embedded and given the size of the airframe, it's is probable that the 4k could have been a serious competitor in the market (with still the engine problem).

Regarding Marcel Dassault and VGE conversions, I am more convinced that the 2K resulted more from a push by M.D that didn't see much profitability in its bigger sibling.
Rafale is a better aircraft than F-15, F-15 has been already surpassed by Typhoon, Rafale by an ample margin, by a small margin by the Su-27 and MiG-29.

Of course with upgrades in weapons, avionics and with the reality almost most air forces lack good fighter aircraft, well F-15 has still some importance.

I am not belittling the Eagle, but its aerodynamics are mid 1960s while Rafales are early 1980s.

Rafale has lower wing loading than F-15, the Mirage 4000 was as good as the Eagle, the F-15 is a simple aircraft, good design but very over estimated.


The problem for the Mirage 4000 was not its technology, but the fact the military budget behind it was not as big as the one behind F-15 or Su-27, with England luring other European states with Tornado first and later with Typhoon, so for Mirage 4000 no European customers was its doom
 

Archibald

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An interesting divergence might be - whatif the 4000 had been considered, right from 1975, as a Mirage IVA successor ? With an eye at getting a couple of squadrons (18 aircraft) worth, in order to kickstart the export orders pump ?

Note that ASMP was already underway by 1975: the program was started for the ACF in the first place, as early as 1972.

What happened OTL was that death of the ACF meant the ASMP was frozen for three years.
In 1978 it returned, but the two carriers selected were
a) Mirage IV-P
and
b) Mirage 2000N.
Which says something about how secondary to Albion and SLBM the ASMP (and aerial nuclear strikes in general) had become since 1964.
In 1959-64, 62 Mirage IVA could be justified, paid, and build.
In 1978, the ASMP would have to fly on either a refurbished Mirage IV or a two-seat strike variant of the AdA new interceptor: the 2000.


La campagne d'essais nucléaires en 1973 au Centre d'expérimentations du Pacifique (CEP) montre la possibilité de réaliser une tête nucléaire miniaturisée et un missile dédié2. Ces décisions sont confirmées le 28 mars 1974 par le ministère de la Défense, après le lancement du développement du missile air-sol à tête nucléaire en février 1974. La version « Pénétration et Attaque à basse altitude » sera opérationnelle avant le 1er janvier 1980 et le missile en 1981.

Seems the early ASMP had a pretty short lifespan - spring 1974 to ACF death in December 1975, so less than two years.


The decision to de-froze the ASMP was taken in March 1978, and the Mirage IVP decision followed a year later.

Whatif the ASMP had not been put on hold and carried on immediately with a two-seat 4000 ? either 18 or 62 aircraft ?
 
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