Dassault Mirage III

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Dassault Mirage III
Mirage III of the Israeli Air Force
Mirage IIICJ of the Israeli Air Force
Type: Interceptor
Design country:

FranceFrance France


Dassault Aviation

First flight:

17th November 1956



Number of pieces:


The Mirage III ([ miʁaʒ ], French for mirage ) is a single-engine fighter aircraft made by the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation . It was built in 32 variants, some of which are still in use as interceptors and multi-purpose combat aircraft to the present day .


Mirage IIIA

Mirage IIIA in the Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace

The prototype Mirage IIIA completed its in May 1958 first flight , making the Turbojet -Triebwerk SNECMA Atar 9B with afterburner (6000 kp thrust) and the low-set delta wing the basic model as the basis of an aerodynamic platform for use as an interceptor at high altitudes.

Mirage IIIB

Two-seat trainer aircraft for training Mirage IIIC pilots.

Mirage IIIC

The Mirage IIIC all-weather interceptor was the first fully operational variant that flew with the Cyrano II radar in October 1960 . The French Air Force "Armée de l'Air" procured 95 units of this type.

Mirage IIID

Two-seat trainer aircraft for training Mirage IIIE pilots.

Mirage IIIE

Cockpit of a Mirage IIIE

Further development of the Mirage IIIC, of ​​which various sub-variants were built in a total number of 523.

Selection of sub-variants:

  • Mirage IIIE / EA: Multipurpose fighter with new propulsion and radar, suitable for attacks at low altitude. In April 1964 at the French Air Army introduced. In France this design was used as a carrier for tactical nuclear weapons .
  • Mirage IIIE / EX: Further development with elements of the Mirage F.1 and the Mirage 5D

Mirage IIIR

Mirage III R (33-TF) hull number: 317, the last Mirage IIIR to be decommissioned on February 25, 1988

Reconnaissance aircraft in various sub-variants, technically derived from the types Mirage IIIC and IIIE. Up to five cameras could be installed in the nose. In accordance with the intended use, no radar was installed.

Mirage IIIO (Australia)

In the early 1960s, Australia built a licensed version of the Mirage IIIC, known as the Mirage IIIO, for its air force, which was originally intended to be powered by a Rolls-Royce-Avon engine. In the end, however, the Atar engine was used. The first flight took place on February 13, 1961. Later, the Mirage IIIOD, based on the Mirage IIID, followed.

Mirage III V (whiz kid)

After first attempts with the VTOL -capable (i.e. vertical take-off) prototype of the Balzac V , the more generously designed successor model Mirage III V was able to take its first flight on February 12, 1965. The machine had next to a P & W TF30 - jet engine with 8280 kp for propulsion eight smaller in the fuselage housed RB.162-31-lift engines, each with 2,450 kp for vertical take-off. At Mach 2.04, it remains the world's fastest V / STOL aircraft to this day. Due to the heavy weight of the engines, however, the payload and fuel capacity were very low. As a result, there was no series production.

Milan (ground combat version of the Mirage III)

In 1968 Dassault began, in cooperation with the Emmen aircraft factory (now RUAG Aviation), with the construction of a ground combat version of the Mirage III under the name Milan. The most noticeable feature of the Milan was a pair of fold-out wings on the aircraft nose, which were called "mustaches" (French mustache). The Mustaches were introduced in order to obtain better flight characteristics at takeoff as well as better flight control in slow flight and in the attack phase on ground targets. Three Mirage IIIs were converted into Milan prototypes, whereby the “mustaches” on the first aircraft could not be folded in, but could only be set at different angles on the ground. This prototype was named Asterix after the internationally known French comic figure Asterix with her big mustache and flew for the first time on September 27, 1968. A fully equipped prototype developed from a converted Mirage IIIR flew on May 24, 1969. The last machine, Milan S01 , was powered by a modified SNECMA Atar-09K-50 engine with 70.6 kN (15,900 lbf) afterburner thrust and flew for the first time on May 29, 1970. The Milan had new navigation and sensor equipment designed for ground combat, as well as a laser Target lighting device in the nose. The Milan then lost very narrowly against the A-7G . This narrow result led to such great differences of opinion in the Swiss Air Force that in the end neither of the two aircraft was procured. The Mustaches increased flight stability exceptionally well, but also had disadvantages: They obscured the view to the front and down and created turbulence in the engine inlets. The Milan concept ended in 1972; In further aerodynamic tests, the positive properties of Mustaches were achieved with canards .

Mirage IIIS (Switzerland)

The Mirage IIIS is a further development of the Mirage III due to Swiss requirements. Most of it was manufactured under license in Switzerland and passed into troop trials from 1964. In 1999 the hunting variant IIIS was retired, in 2003 the reconnaissance variant Mirage IIIRS and the last two-seater Mirage IIIDS .

Mirage III RS R-2115

The main differences between the Mirage IIIS and the Mirage IIIE are:

  • modified cockpit equipment with gray instead of black instrument panels
  • new radar (TARAN from Hughes instead of Thomson) with a slimmer radome
  • Use of two HM-55S "Falcon" (Swiss name for the American Hughes AIM-26 "Falcon" manufactured under license by Saab as Rb27)
  • new cabling for American avionics
  • a reinforced structure for Jato alarm starts
  • four Kranaufhängepunkte to the plane in an underground hangar to rank
  • folding nose for storage in the aircraft cavern. There are five cylindrical holes on the right side of the nose to lock the nose in place
  • a nose landing gear extended by 28 cm and a correspondingly modified landing gear shaft for placement in the aircraft cavern (lowering of the tail unit)
  • a modified main landing gear, which was pulled forward with a second cylinder at the beginning of the retraction. This enabled greater subhull loads and at the same time increased stability to such an extent that the new chassis design was also adopted for other versions.

Combat value enhancement program

With the combat value enhancement program developed by SF Emmen (today RUAG Aviation) from 1988 onwards, the following modifications were made:

  • rigid duck slats
  • new ejection seat Martin-Baker SRM6
  • Radar detectors on both wing tips in front of the position lights and behind the vertical stabilizer
  • a US TRACOR AN / ALE-40 decoy launcher at the stern under the afterburner
  • INS platform and Vinten infrared reconnaissance container (LIRAS) for the RS variant
  • Installation of strakes next to the pitot tube for variants S / DS
  • Antenna behind cockpit
  • Sensor on the left front
  • Interception lights (as on CF-188) on the right engine inlet in variant S

It was planned to purchase 100 Mirage IIIS, but this did not materialize because of the high costs. The plan to equip some aircraft with atomic bombs developed in Switzerland was rejected; Such bombs were never built in Switzerland, and the project was stopped.

The following quantities were procured:

  • 1 Mirage IIIC (test aircraft built in France for the Mirage IIIS systems)
  • 36 Mirage IIIS
  • 18 Mirage IIIRS (reconnaissance version of the Mirage IIIS without radar, but with cameras)
  • 2 Mirage IIIBS (two-seat training aircraft), later upgraded to "DS"
  • 2 Mirage IIIDS (two-seat trainer aircraft), replenishment in 1980

Missile Support In Flight (SEPR)

In the Mirage III aircraft of the French or Swiss Air Force, a fuel tank could be removed in the rear lower fuselage and a SEPR rocket motor (SEPR = Société d'Études de la Propulsion par Réaction) installed instead. This component contained a liquid fuel tank that held 300 liters of nitric acid , which, mixed with the kerosene, gave an additional thrust of 1500 kp. This auxiliary engine burned for a total of 80 seconds and could be switched on three times. The engine was used either for additional acceleration in aerial combat or to overshoot the service ceiling to up to 75,000 feet. In an emergency, the engine could be dropped in slow flight. The maintenance requirements for the engine were considerable, as highly concentrated nitric acid is extremely corrosive. Special buildings were constructed and operated in Buochs ​​and at the Payerne military airfield for maintenance and testing of the engines on the ground . The staff worked in special protective suits. Since the handling of the rocket motor and the toxic propellants were very dangerous, the SEPR drives were rarely used.



PakistanPakistan Pakistan

Pakistan is the only remaining operator. It had procured a total of 157 machines from different countries. All machines of the Pakistan Air Force are to be replaced by the PAIC JF-17 from 2015 .

18 × Mirage IIIEP
3 × Mirage IIIDP
40 × Mirage IIIE from France
22 × Mirage IIIEE from Spain
2 × Mirage IIIDE from Spain
9 × Mirage IIIEL from Lebanon
43 × Mirage IIIO from Australia
7 × Mirage IIIOD from Australia
13 × Mirage IIIRP


ArgentinaArgentina Argentina
19 Mirage IIICJ of Israel
3 Mirage IIIBJ of Israel
17 Mirage IIIEA, retired in 2015
4 Mirage IIIDA, retired in 2015
AustraliaAustralia Australia
100 Mirage IIIO and 16 Mirage IIID. Retired in 1988, 50 sold to the Pakistani Air Force
BrazilBrazil Brazil
22 Mirage IIIEBR, retired in 2005
10 Mirage IIIDBR, retired in 2005
FranceFrance France
95 Mirage IIIC
183 Mirage IIIE
62 Mirage IIIB
70 Mirage IIIR
IsraelIsrael Israel
72 Mirage IIICJ, retired in 1979
5 Mirage IIIBJ, retired in 1979
2 Mirage IIIRJ, retired in 1979
LebanonLebanon Lebanon
10 Mirage IIIEL and 2 Mirage IIIBL. Retired in 2000 and sold to Pakistan
South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa
Mirage IIICZ / EZ retired in 2008, 16 upgraded to Cheetah E and sold to Chile
Mirage IIIBZ / DZ / D2Z retired in 2008, 16 upgraded to Cheetah D.
Mirage IIIRZ / R2Z retired in 2008
SpainSpain Spain
24 Mirage IIIEE and 6 Mirage IIIDE, all retired in 1991 and some sold to Pakistan in 1992
SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Mirage IIICS, individual machine retired in 1975 after testing
Mirage IIIS, 36 machines retired in 1999
Mirage IIIRS, 18 machines retired in 2003
Mirage IIIBS / DS, 4 machines retired in 2003
1 aircraft J-2012 airworthy in the Musée Clin d'Ailes
1 machine J-2011 as a public simulator in the Flieger-Flab-Museum in Dübendorf
VenezuelaVenezuela Venezuela
10 Mirage IIIEV
United Arab EmiratesUnited Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates
18 Mirage IIIE for Abu Dhabi

Technical specifications

Dassault Mirage III / 5 crack drawing
Prototype Mirage IIIA
Reconnaissance aircraft Mirage IIIR
Mirage IIIS of the Swiss Air Force
Mirage IIIRS of the Swiss Air Force
Parameter Mirage IIIC data Mirage IIIE data
length 14.75 m 15.00 m
span 8.22 m
Wing area 34.85 m²
Leading edge arrow 60 °
Wing extension 1.98
Wing loading
  • minimum (empty weight): 172 kg / m²
  • maximum (max. takeoff weight): 344 kg / m²
  • minimum (empty weight): 202 kg / m²
  • maximum (max. takeoff weight): 387 kg / m²
height 4.50 m 4.50 m
Empty mass 6000 kg 7050 kg
max 12,000 kg 13,500 kg
Fuel supply 2580 l k. A.
Top speed Mach 2.15 (at optimal altitude) Mach 2.2 (at optimal altitude)
Minimum speed 125 km / h k. A.
Service ceiling k. A. 17,000 m
max. rate of climb k. A. 83.3 m / s
Use radius
  • 1200 km (at optimal altitude)
  • 650 km (in low flight)

k. A.

Range k. A. approx. 2400 km
Undercarriage track width 3.15 m k. A.
wheelbase 4.72 m k. A.
Engines 1 × Turbojet SNECMA Atar 9C
  • with afterburner: 58.9 kN
  • without afterburner: 42 kN
Thrust to weight ratio
  • maximum (empty weight): 1.03
  • minimum (max.start mass): 0.50
  • maximum (empty weight): 0.88
  • minimum (max. takeoff weight): 0.46


Guns integrated in the fuselage

External load stations

Explosive ordnance up to 4000 kg at five external load stations under the wings and the fuselage

Air-to-air guided missile

Air-to-surface guided missile

Unguided air-to-surface missiles

  • 2 × MATRA 155 rocket launchers for 18 × unguided SNEB air-to-ground missiles each ; Caliber 68 mm
  • 2 × MATRA 116M rocket launchers for 19 × unguided SNEB air-to-ground missiles each; Caliber 68 mm
  • 2 × Matra JL-100 rocket launchers, each with 19 × unguided SNEB air-to-surface missiles, caliber 68 mm; combined with a drop tank for 250 liters (66 US gallons) of kerosene
  • 2 × rocket launchers TBA 100-4 (F3) for 4 × unguided SNEB air-to-surface missiles each; 100 mm caliber

Unguided bombs

  • 6 × SAMP EU2 (250 kg free-fall bomb ; analogous to Mk.82)
  • 3 × SAMP T200 (400 kg free-fall bomb; analogous to Mk.83)
  • 1 × SAMP BL4 (1000 kg free-fall bomb; analogous to Mk.84)
  • 1 × CEA AN-52 (free-falling 455 kg nuclear bomb; explosive force 25 kilotons)

Additional container

  • 2 × drop-off additional tanks for 625 liters of kerosene
  • 2 × drop-off additional tanks for 1300 liters of kerosene
  • 1 × drop-off additional tank for 1700 liters of kerosene
  • 1 × infrared reconnaissance container Förenade Fabriksverken (FFV) Red Baron (also known as LIRAS container with IR line scanner)

Movie and TV

See also


Web links

Commons : Dassault Mirage III  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Milan
  2. ^ Roman Schürmann: Helvetian hunters. Dramas and scandals in the military sky. Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-85869-406-5 , p. 155 ff.
  3. Archive link ( Memento from February 20, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  4. ^ Roman Schürmann: Helvetian hunters. Dramas and scandals in the military sky. Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 2009, ISBN 978-3-85869-406-5 , p. 135 ff.
  5. ^ "If necessary, also against the own population" in: Tages-Anzeiger from January 28, 2011
  6. Les cigognes de Dijon , Flight International, September 5, 1963
  7. [1]  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.robotmuseum.se