Dassault Aviation of France developed its "Mirage 50" as an export-minded successor to the in-service Mirage 5/IV strike aircraft line. The Mirage 5 was accepted into service with many global air powers including France (50), Israel (61, as the IAI "Nesher", and Pakistan (112) where it continues with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in a much modernized form. Origins of the Mirage 50 lay in an original Israeli Air Force (IAF) requirement for such an aircraft, following the established design lines and excellent qualities of the proven Mirage III model - though made slightly longer and with a more slender nose section, and this commitment resulted in the Mirage 5/V detailed elsewhere on this site.
An embargo precluded the Mirage V ever being delivered to Israel but the nation nonetheless persevered to produce its own version (though it remains unclear whether this was with or without Dassault assistance), this becoming the IAI "Nesher" detailed elsewhere on this site).
The Mirage 50 is an outgrowth of the Mirage 5 series fighters.
The follow-up Mirage 50 took on the SNECMA Atar 9K-50 afterburning turbojet engine (from which the Mirage 50 gets its name) of 15,873lb thrust output and also saw an upgrade to its avionics set for a truly modern multi-mission solution. The intakes were slightly modified to accommodate the new engine fit and a single Mirage IIIR production model served as the modified prototype Mirage 50 form - this aircraft taking to the air for the first time on April 15th, 1975 and making its public debut at the Paris Air Show in 1979. During testing, this "re-imagined" Mirage III was able to see an increase to both performance and handling while being able to carry more ordnance and use up less runway on take-off actions.
Armament-wise, the aircraft was given 2 x 30mm ADEN automatic cannons in internal housings while multiple external hardpoints supported the usual range of air-to-air and air-to-surface air-launched/-air-dropped munitions already in circulation with many current Mirage III/Mirage V operators. In this way, the Mirage 50 was a true multirole solution, capable of interception, 1v1 dog-fighting, airspace deterrent, general ground attack, ranged patrolling, and reconnaissance all from the same airframe.
The aircraft retained the single-seat, single-engine arrangement established with the Mirage III line as well as its delta-wing planform. With the delta-winged planform, no horizontal tail planes were needed. While aspirated by the twin, semi-circular intakes featured at either side of the fuselage, the single-engine installation exhausted through a sole exhaust port under the rudder fin. Internally, the aircraft came radar equipped with the Cyrano IVM multi-function unit or this could be replaced with the Agave series as needed. A tricycle undercarriage allowed for ground-running. At the aft-end of the fuselage was the single-finned rudder
Chile became the first export customer of the Mirage 50 and committed to an order of sixteen aircraft (designated as "Mirage 50C" or "Mirage 50CH"), this order to also include two dedicated twin-seat trainer airframes (as "Mirage 50DC" with lower-rated Atar 9C-3 turbojet engines). The initial portion of this order was made up of eight ex-French Air Force Mirage VF (5F) platforms refurbished and modernized for the customer as "Mirage 50FGs". The Chilean stock were eventually upgraded, with Israel's help, to become the "Pantera" branded locally by ENAER (detailed elsewhere on this site).
Venezuela had its fleet of outdated Mirage IIIEV and 5V platforms to the newer "Mirage 50EV"standard (also "Mirage 50M"). In the same way, its Mirage 5DV models became the "Mirage 50DV". About eighteen total Mirage 50s were operated by the Venezuelan Air Force.
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2 x 30mm ADEN automatic cannons in internal placements.
Typical mix of air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, conventional drop bombs, guided-drop bombs, rocket pods, and jettisonable fuel tanks.
Mirage 50 - Base Series Designation.
Mirage 50C - New-build Chilean Air Force model; six completed.
Mirage 50FG / 50FC - Refurnished ex-French Air Force Mirage 5F models for Chilean Air Force.
Mirage 50DC - Twin-seat trainer models for Chilean Air Force.
Mirage 50CH - Chilean Air Force model.
Mirage 50CN "Pantera" - Modernized Mirage 50 with assistance from IAI of Israel.
Mirage 50EV - Venezuelan Mirage IIIEV and Mirage 5V models upgraded to "evolved" standard.
Mirage 50DV - Venezuelan Air Force twin-seat trainer models.
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