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What if, the Mirage-4000 was produced?

Archibald

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One could suggest "then why not keep the ACF in the first place, instead of re-inventing the wheel ?"
The answer is: because the ACF is too different from the new 2000, obviously.

(Intriguing alt-history inside the alt-history: whatif the ACF had survived as an ASMP nuclear truck ?)

The main flaw in the above is VGE balking at the cost, saying essentially: "paying the entire development cost of the 4000 just for nuclear strike and 18 aircraft, is quite expensive..."
Main trouble was that export orders were always "hopeful" and "hypothetical".

Although Saddam's Iraq may have paid for a de-nuked, sans-ASMP variant of the 4000...
Who knows, the Shah buying spree may have motivated, the Iraqis first and then the Saudis...
A two-seat, strike-optimized 4000 could have been one hell of a bomb truck. The goddam thing had FOURTEEN hardpoints thanks to the big delta massive surface area.
 

Mirage4000

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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 ?
Mirage 4000 is so beautiful that for me the sadest thing it is not flying, I would like to see it flying in Le burget, I mean such a beautiful aircraft ought to be still flying at least to remember us what it could have been
 

alanqua

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Hello,
I post here some illustrations that I drew for the Mirage 4000 article in Le Fana de l'Aviation a few months (years?) ago.
- a 3-views plan of a French 2-seats operational whatif: I chose a nuclear mission profile with an ASMP missile. I wanted to add the 2 tanks, like on the M2000N, but the chief editor denied, arguing that we would not see the ASMP. So we had a "cornelian" choice and removed the tanks. The 2-seats version had been considered by Dassault obvioulsy. I added a few details to make this more realistic (a flying boom "a la Mirage F1", modified tail, various antennas and sensors "a la Rafale").
- 1 profile of a French operational whatif: same as above but with a different squadron insignia.
- 1 profile of a 2-seats Saudi Arabian version: I added hypersonic missiles, and depicted an interceptor version
- 1 profile of an iraqi operational version: I got inspiration from Mirage F1s, and chose to draw an attack configuration with Belouga and AS30 missiles. Iraq was approached by Dassault to sell the Mirage 4000 but they did not succeed.
- 1 profile of a Jordanian operational version: I got inspired from F-5s, and drew an interceptor version with Super 530 missiles. Same as above, Jordania was approached byu Dassault but without further developments.
Other countries such as Iran were contacted, but I did not draw the illustration.
I hope these profiles will give you a good overview of what could have been the M4000. Enjoy, and have a good inspiration!
Mirage 4000 profil biplace saoudien Final Corrige2.jpg New_Mirage 4000 plan 3 vues FAS Final Corrige.jpg New_Mirage 4000 plan 3 vues FAS (provisoire1).jpg Mirage 4000 profil irakien.jpg Mirage 4000 profil jordanie.jpg Regards
Alain
 

Mirage4000

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Stunning work, stunning aircraft !

The two-seater with the ASMP is just perfect-looking.
I have to say the French and Americans make beautiful aircraft in general, the Russians sometimes they do, the british the same but France usually has a very nice line of aircraft, the mirage are always very graceful
 

Mirage4000

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It certainly would have given the F-15 a run for its money.
It has a bigger wing area so i think in Instant turn rate it was better for sure.

If the bigger wing and lower wing loading make it have a high lift coefficient at sustained turn rate i guess it was at least as good as the F-15.

In acceleration and rate of climb perhaps the Mirage was as good as F-15 in military operational use.

F-15 and Mirage 4000 are very similar aircraft in the canopy and radome, i like both.

If the Saudi did not buy Mirage 4000 i guess was more political offsets from buying american what brought the Eagle in Saudi colors.

Any way both are very nice looking aircraft
 

Mirage4000

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Hello,
I post here some illustrations that I drew for the Mirage 4000 article in Le Fana de l'Aviation a few months (years?) ago.
- a 3-views plan of a French 2-seats operational whatif: I chose a nuclear mission profile with an ASMP missile. I wanted to add the 2 tanks, like on the M2000N, but the chief editor denied, arguing that we would not see the ASMP. So we had a "cornelian" choice and removed the tanks. The 2-seats version had been considered by Dassault obvioulsy. I added a few details to make this more realistic (a flying boom "a la Mirage F1", modified tail, various antennas and sensors "a la Rafale").
- 1 profile of a French operational whatif: same as above but with a different squadron insignia.
- 1 profile of a 2-seats Saudi Arabian version: I added hypersonic missiles, and depicted an interceptor version
- 1 profile of an iraqi operational version: I got inspiration from Mirage F1s, and chose to draw an attack configuration with Belouga and AS30 missiles. Iraq was approached by Dassault to sell the Mirage 4000 but they did not succeed.
- 1 profile of a Jordanian operational version: I got inspired from F-5s, and drew an interceptor version with Super 530 missiles. Same as above, Jordania was approached byu Dassault but without further developments.
Other countries such as Iran were contacted, but I did not draw the illustration.
I hope these profiles will give you a good overview of what could have been the M4000. Enjoy, and have a good inspiration!
View attachment 657231View attachment 657232View attachment 657234View attachment 657236View attachment 657237Regards
Alain
1621048411372.png

I think this camo is better
 

helmutkohl

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@alanqua nice drawing of a two seater Mirage 4000!
its one of the few cases where the two seater looks better than the single seater!
In fact I think the twin-seat Mirage 2000 and the M4000 drawing look even better than the Rafale!


the twins seat Mirage F1B also is nicer than the single seater.
 

Archibald

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Quite hard to guess how a 4000 would have performed against a F-15 in dogfight.

Pros
- delta*wing & canard (= much less wing loading)
- with analog FBW for the 4000, versus classic controls for the Eagle.
- the 4000 had a shitload of pylons for weapons: no less than 14 (!)

Cons
-M53 weaker, less advanced than US F100 & F110
(although the larger wing area logically contained more fuel so probably a draw there)

It always puzzled me that the LWF (F-16 and Hornet) had FBW when the Tomcat and Eagle had classic hydraulic controls. F-16 started with analog FBW and switched to digital circa block 30 / block 40. Hornet had digital FBW right from the beginning.

On the french side: Mirage 2000 & 4000 had analog FBW, Rafale went digital.

About pylons: the 4000 could stick three rows of two missiles under its belly (left, central, right, forward and aft) so six missiles there;
but the delta wing had more room than a swept to hang even more missiles.

There is a picture of a 4000 with six Magic-1 under wings, so 12 missiles at least on paper (drag would be horrible).

14 must be possible going the Sparrow / Sidewinder / drop tanks "triple pylon" mounting
- left, right, below (think F-14 glove pylon for example)

Note that the 4000 was larger than the Rafale but just like the 2000 and unlike the F1: no wingtip missiles.

That could work with Magic short range missiles but not Super 530: too large. MICA should work too, see the 2000-5.
A 4000 with a load of MICAs would be one hell of a missile truck: present day Rafale and F-15s are going this way but it had advantages over both.
 
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Archibald

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Standard A2A weapon load would be: four Super 530s under the belly, two underwing big drop tanks, and two Magics there. Perhaps a third tank under the belly - and it would have quite a range or loiter time. In fact it was one of the reasons why the AdA didn't bought it: it was overkill for air combat over Germany. A 2000 could do 80% of the job at far lower cost.
 

_Del_

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- delta*wing & canard (= much less wing loading)
Instantaneous turn rate would be helped by that giant wing, but more lift also equals more drag, which means you'd likely have sustained turn rate governed by available thrust as in the Eagle. I don't think we can make a great case in either direction without looking at real numbers, but I'd suspect sustained turn rate would lag behind the Eagle, and/or the M4000 would find it (more) difficult to manage his energy state.
Again, we'd have to use real numbers (probably available somewhere) to look at weight, altitude, etc to make a clear comparison, but the above is my hunch. I've been surprised before on occasion, though ;)
 

Lascaris

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- 1 profile of a French operational whatif: same as above but with a different squadron insignia.
- 1 profile of a 2-seats Saudi Arabian version: I added hypersonic missiles, and depicted an interceptor version
- 1 profile of an iraqi operational version: I got inspiration from Mirage F1s, and chose to draw an attack configuration with Belouga and AS30 missiles. Iraq was approached by Dassault to sell the Mirage 4000 but they did not succeed.
- 1 profile of a Jordanian operational version: I got inspired from F-5s, and drew an interceptor version with Super 530 missiles. Same as above, Jordania was approached byu Dassault but without further developments.
Other countries such as Iran were contacted, but I did not draw the illustration.
I hope these profiles will give you a good overview of what could have been the M4000. Enjoy, and have a good inspiration!
What no profile in Aegean ghost around 2000 or so?
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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- delta*wing & canard (= much less wing loading)
Instantaneous turn rate would be helped by that giant wing, but more lift also equals more drag, which means you'd likely have sustained turn rate governed by available thrust as in the Eagle. I don't think we can make a great case in either direction without looking at real numbers, but I'd suspect sustained turn rate would lag behind the Eagle, and/or the M4000 would find it (more) difficult to manage his energy state.
Again, we'd have to use real numbers (probably available somewhere) to look at weight, altitude, etc to make a clear comparison, but the above is my hunch. I've been surprised before on occasion, though ;)
Agreed. Instantaneous rate of turn would likely be higher, sustained notably lower. You'd want to avoid a prolonged turning fight.
 

uk 75

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The intereceptor and nuclear strike versions of Mirage 4000 would have looked good in RAF colours.
No way it could have happened but it would have been cool.
 

Mirage4000

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- delta*wing & canard (= much less wing loading)
Instantaneous turn rate would be helped by that giant wing, but more lift also equals more drag, which means you'd likely have sustained turn rate governed by available thrust as in the Eagle. I don't think we can make a great case in either direction without looking at real numbers, but I'd suspect sustained turn rate would lag behind the Eagle, and/or the M4000 would find it (more) difficult to manage his energy state.
Again, we'd have to use real numbers (probably available somewhere) to look at weight, altitude, etc to make a clear comparison, but the above is my hunch. I've been surprised before on occasion, though ;)
some clues are that Mirage 4000 was superior to Mirage 2000

Composite materials used in the Mirage 4000 enabled a considerable weight reduction and excellent resistance to fatigue. The Mirage 4000 was the world’s first aircraft to have a fin made from a carbon-coated composite containing petrol.
The two Snecma M 53 engines with 10-ton thrust ratings put the Mirage’s weight-to-thrust ratio above one. Its design performance, moreover, outclassed every other aircraft in its category.
It has a fuel tank capacity three times greater than that of the Mirage 2000 and can also be refueled in flight.


In my opinion the Mirage 4000 was very likely as good as F-16.

Rafale is for sure better than F-15, so I think the reason for the Saudies to go for the F-15 was radar and weapons which were better in the F-15 i guess, plus the fact of Price that Mirage 4000 could not compete with the F-15
 

helmutkohl

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I found this by chance

a whatif Mirage 4000 for the French Navy! although not sure if the plane could fit on either the Foch/Clemenceau or the CdG
post-37878-0-23036600-1427396069.jpg


and a Saudi one, had they stuck to their order
348488-gta-sa-2016-07-24-17-19-55-77.jpg
 

Archibald

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It wouldn't fit on Foch, 100% sure. And on CdG it would be a tight fit - Rafale is 20% smaller overall.
Then again, the decision of changing PH75 to PA75 and build that was taken in September 1980 by Giscard - after the 4000 flew. And funding did not come until 1986, so...
 

Archibald

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The intereceptor and nuclear strike versions of Mirage 4000 would have looked good in RAF colours.
No way it could have happened but it would have been cool.

Depends - if it sneaks between Rafale and Typhoon in their prehistory years (1977 - 1982) then it might happen...
 

uk 75

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If MRCA had died in the bonfire of UK spending cuts in 1976 a new government in 1979 might have been desperate for a replacement. Enter the Mirage4000 which becomes the Tornado.
Quite how Marcel Dassault captivated Margaret Thatcher will never be known, but British/French relations were about to undergo a moment last seen when Edward VII discovered the joys of Paris.
 

Archibald

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If MRCA had died in the bonfire of UK spending cuts in 1976 a new government in 1979 might have been desperate for a replacement. Enter the Mirage4000 which becomes the Tornado.
Quite how Marcel Dassault captivated Margaret Thatcher will never be known, but British/French relations were about to undergo a moment last seen when Edward VII discovered the joys of Paris.

Je m'en vais voir / les p'tites femmes de Pigalle...

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DP09QFfMdgE
 

helmutkohl

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would have been interesting had more European countries adopted the M2K and later the M4K
Surprisingly with all those 3rd gen iterations coming out of many countries, there were few 4th gen fighters by the 80s.
Just the M2K. the Tornado IDS was a strike aircraft and the ADV a pure interceptor, both that adopted a complicated swing wing system that fell out of favor in most 4th gen types bar the F-14.

what could have been
Screen_190304_203626.jpg

1.jpg
 
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