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Dassault Mirage 4000

France (1979)
Picture of Dassault Mirage 4000 High-Altitude Interceptor / Low-Altitude Penetrator Aircraft

Built upon the successful Mirage 2000 framework, the Dassault Mirage 4000 failed to find any takers during the 1980s and was therefore limited to a single, flyable prototype.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Dassault Mirage 4000 High-Altitude Interceptor / Low-Altitude Penetrator Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 2/6/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

With an eye towards developing a low-altitude penetrating fighter-bomber and long-range interceptor based on their successful Mirage 2000 airframe, Dassault of France drew up plans for the Mirage "4000" as a private venture endeavor to compete against the likes of the American McDonnell Douglas F-15 "Eagle". Overall the design mimicked the form and function of the its parent model but stood as a dimensionally larger offering. The aircraft continued the Dassault standard of using delta wing mainplanes, a single vertical tail fin, and semi-circle air intakes straddling the fuselage sides. After completion of the prototype form, the aircraft recorded its first flight on March 9th, 1979.

The Mirage 4000 set about to create a different aircraft type from the previous Mirage 2000. The original was a multirole fighter carrying a single turbofan engine, nine weapons hardpoints, and restrictive views to the rear due to the raised fuselage spine. Its speed reached over 1,500 miles per hour at high altitude (with reduced performance at lower flight envelopes) with an attainable service ceiling nearing 59,000 feet. The Mirage 4000, as a larger and heavier platform, carried a twin, side-by-side engine configuration aiding performance, maximum attainable altitude, climb-to-altitude, and over-battlefield survivability. The raised fuselage spine was done away with and a "bubble-style" canopy took the place of the original - offering much improved vision out-of-the-cockpit. Clean, sharp lines in the new product continued the Dassault approach to combat aircraft of the Cold War period (1947-1991).

The engine pairing became 2 x SNECMA M53-2 afterburning turbofans outputting 18,740lb of thrust each. This drove the aircraft to speeds of 1,520 miles per hour with an attainable altitude of 66,000 feet. Later, in its development life the aircraft was re-engined with the M53-5 turbofan of 19,378 lb thrust (x2).

Dimensionally, the Mirage 4000 exhibited a length of 18.7 meters, a wingspan of 12 meters and a height of 5.8 meters. Its empty weight stood at 29,000lb. Comparatively the Mirage 2000 held an overall length of 14.3 meters, a wingspan of 9 meters, and a height of 5.2 meters.
While armament was never fitted, it is assumed that the large airplane would have fielded short-, medium-, and long-range Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs) as well as Air-to-Surface Missiles (ASMs), guided munitions, and conventional drop bombs across its eleven hardpoints. Provision for fuel drop tanks would also have been included. Internally, the aircraft was set to carry 2 x 30mm DEFA cannons for close-in work.

One of the key customers originally targeted in the Mirage 4000 program was Saudi Arabia. However, the nation eventually settled on the American F-15 as their primary multirole attack platform leaving the Mirage 4000 initiative with no prospective buyers - even locally with the French Air Force already committed to the Mirage 2000.

The single, flyable prototype Mirage 4000 was all that was realized as the program faced termination during the 1980s. However, this airframe was later to prove influential in the development of the Dassault Rafale 4th Generation Fighter as it was used to evaluate composites in aircraft construction, trial Fly-by-Wire digital control, assess computer aided design and the like. It was also re-engined, once again, to carry the M53-P2 turbofan engine that benefitted the Rafale's development.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1600mph
Lo: 800mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,519mph).

    Graph average of 1200 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Dassault Mirage 4000's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1
1


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: France
Year: 1979
Type: High-Altitude Interceptor / Low-Altitude Penetrator Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Dassault Aviation - France
Production: 1
Status: Cancelled
Global Operators:
France (cancelled)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Dassault Mirage 4000 model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
61.35 ft


Meters
18.7 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
39.37 ft


Meters
12 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
19.03 ft


Meters
5.8 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
28,660 lb


Kilograms
13,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
44,092 lb


Kilograms
20,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
ORIGINALLY: 2 x SNECMA M53-2 afterburning turbofan engines developing 18,740lb of thrust each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
1,519 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
2,445 kph


Knots
1,320 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,243 mi


Kilometers
2,000 km


Nautical Miles
1,080 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
65,617 ft


Meters
20,000 m


Miles
12.43 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
55,000 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
16,764 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Armament - Hardpoints (11):

Variants: Series Model Variants
• Mirage 4000 - Base Series Designation; single prototype completed.