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Dassault Mirage 5 Attack Aircraft / Fighter-Bomber (1969)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 2/6/2015

The Dassault Mirage 5 fighter-bomber did not encounter the excellent global acceptance that the preceding Mirage III series did.

The Dassault Mirage 5 was the continuing evolution of the famous - and successful - Mirage III delta-winged platform introduced in 1961. Production saw 1,422 built and operators ranged from Argentina to Zaire. The Mirage V was developed to help fulfill a new Israeli Air Force (IAF) requirement centered on a daytime, clear weather attack aircraft. As such, it was decided to essentially simplify the Mirage IIIE for the role - this meant that the Cyrano radar set and avionics kit be removed. The changes would help to simplify both maintenance and operation of the new jet fighter, making for a cost-effective solution for the IAF.

The Israeli government contracted Dassault for 50 aircraft in September of 1966 and a prototype went airborne for the first time on May 19th, 1967. As finalized, the aircraft resembled the earlier Mirage III some but incorporated some slight changes to its design such as a repositioning of the nose-mounted pitot tube and the addition of two weapons hardpoints. By and large, the physical characteristics remained such as the single vertical tail fin, single engine installation, and low-set delta wings.

Because of mounting tensions in the Middle East theater, the French government (led by President Charles de Gaulle) was forced to restrict the sale of the new aircraft - named the Mirage 5 - to Israel through embargo in 1967 - this despite the aircraft having been paid for. With serial production already ongoing, it was decided to retain the new aircraft for French Air Force service and this begat the Mirage 5F designation. The Israelis were refunded their paid portion for the batch.

It is said that the Israelis reproduced the Mirage 5 by way of blueprints to produce their IAI "Nesher" model while others claim collusion between the governments of France and Israel to have the Mirage 5 aircraft delivered in parts as a way around the embargo - the Israelis simply rebuilding the systems.

Regardless, the Mirage 5 was another successful venture for Dassault though its production only reached 582 units compared to the over 1,400 Mirage IIIs realized. The base attack platform was followed by a dedicated reconnaissance platform in the Mirage 5R as well as the two-seat trainer-minded Mirage 5D. It was also possible to upgrade the existing equipment to bring the fighter role back into the Mirage 5 - thus creating a more complete fighter-bomber form. The simplicity of the aircraft also made it another favored Dassault product on the foreign market as overseas operators began to grow.

Belgium added to the growing production numbers (1968 onwards) through local manufacture of the Dassault 5 featuring U.S.-oriented avionics. Chile accepted these as the Mirage "Elkan". Local production of the aircraft also stocked Belgian attack, reconnaissance, and training wings. 20 of these were upgraded locally before being sold off to Chile.

An uprated engine, new avionics set (with Cyrano IV radar system), and improved performance specifications produced the Mirage 50 mark. However, this variant did not improve Dassault sales and was only taken on by Chile and Venezuela. Chilean Air Force aircraft were later upgraded through ENAER with help from Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to bring them to the "Pantera" standard (IAI previously brought about the Kfir for IAF service).

To date (2015), many Mirage 5s have been retired from frontline service - some rather recently.

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Specifications for the
Dassault Mirage 5
Attack Aircraft / Fighter-Bomber

Focus Model: Dassault Mirage 5
Country of Origin: France
Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation - France
Initial Year of Service: 1969
Production Total: 532

Crew: 1

Length: 51.02 ft (15.55 m)
Width: 26.97 ft (8.22 m)
Height: 14.76ft (4.50 m)
Weight (Empty): 14,551 lb (6,600 kg)
Weight (MTOW): 30,203 lb (13,700 kg)

Powerplant: 1 x SNECMA Atar 9C turbojet engine developing 13,668 lb of thrust.

Maximum Speed: 1,188 mph (1,912 kmh; 1,032 kts)
Maximum Range: 404 miles (650 km)
Service Ceiling: 55,774 ft (17,000 m; 10.6 miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 36,615 feet-per-minute (11,160 m/min)

Hardpoints: 7
Armament Suite:
2 x 30mm DEFA 552A internal cannons

Up to 8,818 lb of externally-held ordnance.

Mirage 5 - Base strike aircraft model; single-seat; sans radar fit.

Mirage 5AD - Abu Dhabi export model; 12 examples

Mirage 5EAD - Abu Dhabi export model; with radar; 14 examples.

Mirage 5BA - Belgian local model; production by SABCA; U.S. avionics fit.

Mirage 5COA - Colombian export model; 14 examples; later upgraded.

Mirage 5D - Libyan export model; 53 examples

Mirage 5F - French Air Force model; 50 examples

Mirage 5G - Gabon export model; three examples

Mirage 5G-2 - Gabon upgraded model; four examples.

Mirage 5J - Israeli export model; never delivered; becoming Mirage 5F of French Air Force.

Mirage 5M - Zaire export model; 14 examples completed though only eight delivered.

Mirage 5MA "Elkan" - Upgraded Mirage 5BA by Belgium for Chile.

Mirage 5P - Peruvian export model; 22 aircraft

Mirage 5P "Mara" - Argentine export model; upgraded Mirage 5P.

Mirage 5P3 - Peruvian upgraded model; 10 examples

Mirage 5P4 - Peruvian upgraded model

Mirage 5PA - Pakistan export model; sans radar fit; 28 examples.

Mirage 5PA2 - Pakistan export model with radar (Cyrano); 28 examples.

Mirage 5PA3 - Pakistan export model with radar (Agave)

Mirage 5SDE - Egyptian export model; with radar and fighter-bomber capability; 54 examples.

Mirage 5E2 - Egyptian export model; attack platform sans radar; 16 examples.

Mirage 5V - Venezuelan export model; six examples

Mirage 5R - Reconnaissance variant

Mirage 5BR - Belgian reconnaissance mark; 27 examples

Mirage 5COR - Colombian reconnaissance mark; 2 examples.

Mirage 5DR - Libyan reconnaissance mark; 10 examples

Mirage 5RAD - Abu Dhabi reconnaissance mark; three examples.

Mirage 5SDR - Egyptian reconnaissance mark; six examples.

Mirage 5Dx - Two-Seat Trainer variant

Mirage 50 - Upgraded Mirage 5; fighter capabilities added to attack form; uprated engine; new avionics; optional radar fitting.

Mirage 50C - Chilean export model with radar; six examples.

Mirage 50FC - Chilean export model with new engines; eight examples.

Mirage 50DC - Chilean export model; two-seat trainer; down-rated Atar engine.

Mirage 50CN "Pantera" - Local Chilean upgrade with IAI assistance; canard foreplanes added; new Kfir-style nose; new avionics fit; 15 examples.

Mirage 50EV - Venezuelan export model; upgraded with Atar 9K-50 engine and new avionics; radar equipped; 15 examples (some upgraded from existing).

Mirage 50DV - Venezuelan export model; three examples

Argentina; Chile; Colombia; Egypt; France; Gabon; Libya; Pakistan; Peru; UAE; Venezuela