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Dassault Mirage F1

Multirole / Interceptor Aircraft

France | 1973

"The French Dassault Mirage F.1 became one of the most successful fighter designs of the Cold War period."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/08/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Dassault Mirage F1 was designed to replace the successful Dassault Mirage III series. With a host of new features added to this new aircraft, the Mirage F1 would be a substantial upgrade to the whole Mirage family that would continue in service well into the new millennium. The Mirage F1 was built with capability and a multi-role perspective in mind. The aircraft was designed for high-speed handling with low or high-altitude performance, multi-faceted capabilities in the fighter or strike aircraft role and provide the pilot with some minor conveniences for long sorties requiring short turnaround times. The Mirage F1 served with distinction, particularly in the Greek Hellenic Air Force, where her arrival proved a deterrent to Turkish air space incursions for some 28 years. Over 720 Mirage F1 examples have been produced. The F1 remains one of the most battle-tested aircraft systems of the Cold War.

The F1 first flew in a Dassault-funded prototype form on December 23rd, 1966, intended as a replacement for the aging Mirage III and Mirage 5 models. Unlike previous Dassault offerings, the F1 did away with the traditional low-mounted, delta-wing configuration and instead was fitted with a high-mounted, swept wing arrangement. The French Air Force liked what it saw in the promising design and selected it for further development in the form of additional prototypes in May of 1967. The French Air Force envisioned the type as an all-weather interceptor capable of handling any of the new generation threats available. The resulting design proved a far better product than the aircraft the F1 was intended on replacing, sporting high-performance, sleek lines and a powerful Cyrano radar system. Production inevitably commenced and full operational status was achieved in May 1973.

The single engine, high-mounted swept-wing aircraft was powered by a single SNECMA Atar 9K-50 afterburning turbojet 15,785lb engine fed by two side-mounted intakes. The F1 sported a single-seat cockpit positioned in the forward portion of the streamlined fuselage. Amenities such as a self-starter, shaded canopy glass and pressured refueling system provided operators of the aircraft with the advantage of a low maintenance, highly capable aircraft. Further developments (beginning with the Mirage F1C-200) went on to integrate an in-flight refueling probe to which the combat radius was increased substantially. The unique high-mounted swept-wing design coupled with the single vertical tail fin afforded the aircraft the ability to take off and land with a minimal use of runway.

Standard armament were twin 30mm cannons along with 2 x Matra R530 series medium-range air-to-air missiles. Missiles were initially held under the wings though wingtip rails were later added for the use of Matra R550 Magic and AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles, the latter at the behest of the American-friendly Hellenic Air Force of Greece (operating Mirage F1CG models of their own).

The base F1 fighter was exported as the F1CE (Spain), F1CG (Greece), F1CH (Morocco), F1CJ (Jordan), F1CK (Kuwait), F1CK-2 (Kuwait - follow-up order) and F1CZ (South Africa) with orders totaling some 175 exported aircraft. The two-seat F1B trainer was marketed overseas as well along with the F1A single-seat ground-attack fighter. The F1E became an all-weather, multi-role fighter and ground-attack variant. The Mirage F1D was a two-seat trainer spawned from the F1E multi-role, ground-attack fighter model. The Mirage F1CR was a dedicated reconnaissance model. The Mirage F1CT became a tactical ground attack variant based on the Mirage F1C-200. F1AZ and F1CZ were South African exports of ground-attack and radar-equipped models respectively. The Mirage F1CG were Greek-operated single-seat fighters, amounting over 100,000 thousand hours of flight time over water with little structural stress to show for it. The Mirage F1M-53 was a developmental Mirage F1 meant to compete in NATO trials for replacing the Lockheed F-104 Starfighters then in service (the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon eventually won out).

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The aircraft became a highly regarded interceptor - one of the best at the time of its inception - based on capabilities and its powerful nose-mounted radar. The system could track and engage multiple targets at any altitude all at the discretion of the pilot. The integrated weapon system could go so far as to select the appropriate weapon based on circumstance and fire the weapon when the target achieved an in optimal range.

In terms of combat exposure (the sure testing grounds of any aircraft design) the F1 was at the fore-front of several Cold War-era conflicts the world over. Mirages participated with the South African Air Force in their Border War. Morocco utilized the type to combat local rebels. Ecuador fielded the aircraft in their Paquisha War and follow-up Cenepa War against Peru. France got a chance to check out the F1's lethality in its actions against Libyan rebels operating against Chad. Spain operated their F1's in varying forms for over three decades before replacing them with Eurofighter Typhoons.

Iraq was a highly-publicized user of F1's. They sported the type in their war with Iran with moderate success in anti-shipping, interception and strike roles. Overall, inferior pilot training and lack of combat experience led to the F1 underachieving for the most part. Similarly in the 1991 Gulf War, Mirage F1's were wholly outclassed by Coalition forces, though, again not due to a lack of capability on the part of the aircraft.

More recently (2007), France has fielded some F1's in actions covering Southern Afghanistan. As of this writing, Greece, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and South Africa no longer employ the services of Mirage F1's.

In the end, the F1 series proved a welcomed addition to the Mirage family line. Modernization programs and updates to the avionics and weapon systems have ensured that the Mirage F1 will stay airborne for several more years. Undoubtedly, the system will continue to see service in Third World countries far longer than that. The French Air Force operated F1's until their displacement by the newer Mirage 2000 series. A major consideration to the F1 as a whole is its longevity after decades of consistent (and heavy-duty) use - no doubt a testament to a winning design.

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November 2019 - Mirage F1s have seen extended service lives as a stock have been refurbished back to flying shape to serve the United States Air Force as commercially-owned/-operated aggressor (opposition) aircraft.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Dassault Mirage F1 Multirole / Interceptor Aircraft.
1 x SNECMA Atar 9K-50 afterburning turbojet engine developing 15,785lb of thrust.
1,453 mph
2,338 kph | 1,262 kts
Max Speed
65,643 ft
20,008 m | 12 miles
Service Ceiling
559 miles
900 km | 486 nm
Operational Range
41,931 ft/min
12,781 m/min
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Dassault Mirage F1 Multirole / Interceptor Aircraft.
50.2 ft
15.30 m
O/A Length
27.6 ft
(8.40 m)
O/A Width
14.8 ft
(4.50 m)
O/A Height
16,314 lb
(7,400 kg)
Empty Weight
35,715 lb
(16,200 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Dassault Mirage F1 Multirole / Interceptor Aircraft provided across 7 (including wingtip mounts) hardpoints.
2 x 30mm DEFA internal automatic cannons.

Mission-specific ordnance can include any of the following limited up to 8,818lb:

2 x AIM-9 "Sidewinder" infrared air-to-air missile(wingtip mounted).
MATRA "Magic" infrared air-to-air missile (wingtip mounted).
MATRA R.530 radar-guided air-to-air missiles.
MATRA Super 530F radar-guided air-to-air missiles.
Rocket Pods.
Conventional Drop (Dumb) Bombs.
"Exocet" anti-ship / air-to-surface missiles.
"Armat" anti-radiation air-to-surface missiles.

Hardpoints Key:

Not Used
Notable series variants as part of the Dassault Mirage F1 family line.
F1 - Base Model Series Designation
F2 - Two-Seat Strike Fighter; program eventually cancelled in first year of side-by-side development with the F1.
F1A - Clear-Weather Ground Attack Production Model.
F1AD - Libyan Export Model of the F1A
F1AZ - South African Export Model of the F1A; ground attack version.
F1B - Two-Seat Conversion Trainer
F1BE - Spanish Export Model of the F1B
F1BJ - Greece Export Model of the F1B
F1BK - Kuwaiti Export Model of the F1B
F1BK-2 - Follow-up Kuwaiti Export Models of the F1B.
F1BQ - Iraqi Export Model of the F1B.
F1C - All-Weather Multi-role Interceptor with Strike Capabilities.
F1CE - Spanish Export Model of the F1C
F1CG - Greece Export Model of the F1C; 4 x AIM-9P capability.
F1CH - Morocco Export Model of the F1C
F1CJ - Jordanian Export Model of the F1C
F1CK - Kuwaiti Export Model of the F1C
F1CT - F1C-200 Models that have been updated to F1E standard; tactical ground attack.
F1CZ - South African Export Model of the F1C; radar-equipped.
F1C-200 - Long-Range Model of the F1C model; fixed refueling probe; extended fuselage.
F1CR-200 - Long-Range Reconnaissance Model.
F1D - Two-Seat Conversion Trainer
F1JE - Ecuador Export Model of the F1D
F1DD - Libyan Export Model of the F1D
F1DDA - Qatar Export Model of the F1D
F1E - Single Seat Multi-Role / Ground Attack Model for export.
F1ED - Libyan Export Model of the F1E
F1EE - Spanish Export Model of the F1E
F1EH - Morocco Export Model of the F1E
F1EH-200 - Morocco Export Model of the F1E; refueling probe.
F1EJ - Jordanian Export Model of the F1E
F1EQ - Iraqi Export Model of the F1E
F1EQ-2 - Iraqi Export Model of the F1E; air defense version.
F1EQ-4 - Iraqi Export Model of the F1E - Multi-role / Ground Attack / Reconnaissance version.
F1EQ-5 - Iraqi Export Model of the F1E; anti-ship version.
F1EQ-6 - Iraqi Export Model of the F1E; anti-ship version.
F1EDA - Qatar Export Model of the F1E
F1JA - Ecuadorian Export Model of the F1E
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Dassault Mirage F1. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 750 Units

Contractor(s): Dassault - France
National flag of Ecuador National flag of France National flag of Gabon National flag of Greece National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Jordan National flag of Kuwait National flag of Libya National flag of Morocco National flag of Qatar National flag of South Africa National flag of Spain National flag of the United States

[ Ecuador (former); France (former); Gabon; Greece (former); Iran; Iraq (former); Jordan (former); Kuwait (former); Libya (former); Morocco; Spain; Greece; Qatar (former); South Africa; Spain (former); United States (aggressor training) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 1500mph
Lo: 750mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (1,453mph).

Graph Average of 1,125 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
1 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Low angled right underside view of a Dassault Mirage F1 in flight; color
2 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Front left side view of a Dassault Mirage F1 at rest; color
3 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Perfect underside view of a passing Dassault Mirage F1 in flight; color
4 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Front left side close-up view of the intake, wingroot and vertical tail fin on a Dassault Mirage F1 at rest; color
5 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Close-up detail view of the canopy and intake of a Dassault Mirage F1; color
6 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
High-angled right side top view of a Dassault Mirage F1 in flight; color
7 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Front underside view of an incoming Dassault Mirage F1; color
8 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Extreme front right side view of a Dassault Mirage F1 at rest; color
9 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
High-angled left side view of a taxiing Dassault Mirage F1; color
10 / 10
Image of the Dassault Mirage F1
Rear right side view of a Dassault Mirage F1 in flight

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Dassault Mirage F1 Multirole / Interceptor Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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