With a combined total of
180 Mirage IIIs and Mirage 5s in service in 1998, the Pakistan Air Force
is the world's second largest Mirage operator - second only to the French
Armee d' l' Air (French Air Force). The Mirage entered service with the
PAF in 1968. Mirage IIIs are high-speed, all weather, delta wing, long-range
fighter-bombers while Mirage Vs are ground
Developed and built within
the framework of a programme for a light interceptor, defined by the French
Air Force following the Korean war (1950-53), the Mirage III was a single-engine
fighter-bomber. It combined delta-wing design with a fuselage optimized
to reduce air shear (giving the plane its distinctive wasp-waisted look).
One of the most elegant aircraft ever
Mirage III: One of
the most important commercial successes of the French aircraft industry
in the 1960s and 1970s, the delta-winged Mirage III was conceived as a
lightweight interceptor but found its greatest success as a multi-role
fighter. After a number of experimental prototypes that flew from 1956
with the Atar 101G turbojet, the Mirage IIIA pre-production type
The definitive model was
the Mirage IIIE optimized for the longer-range intruder and fighter-bomber
roles with a longer fuselage, Cyrano II radar, Doppler and TACAN navigation
systems, and provision for a wider assortment of disposable stores. This
model was bought by the French Air Force, and modified subvariants were
exported to several other countries
Mirage 5: In 1966, Israel asked Dassault to create a simplified version its Mirage IIIE strike/attack fighter optimized for the daylight ground-attack role. The type was evolved without radar, whose erstwhile volume was used for the avionics that were relocated from their position to the rear of the cockpit, which was now used for an additional 470 litres of internal fuel storage, and two outward-splayed hardpoints were added under the fuselage for the carriage of a heavier and more diverse warload. The first Mirage 5A flew on 19 May 1967, but the French government embargoed the delivery of the type to Israel and took the type for its own air force with the designation Mirage 5F.
This was only the start of
a successful programme that saw the delivery of 525 aircraft to 11 air
forces, many of which still operate the type. The Mirage 5A is the single-seat
fighter and ground-attack warplane, and varians include the Mirage 5D tandem
two-seat trainer, the Mirage reconnaissance type has a longer nose with
a fan of five cameras, and the Mirage 50
Only Chile and Venezuela bought the Mirage 50, and the former has upgraded its aircraft, with the assistance of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), to Pantera standard with fixed canard foreplanes on the inlet trunks and further updated electronics.
The Mirage III and 5 remained operational in the French Air Force between 1961 and 1994.
Its combat effectiveness
in the hands of Israeli Air Force pilots during the Six Day war in 1967
ensured the export success of this aircraft. Since 1958, there have been
1,401 Mirage III's and derivative Mirage 5's and 50's built, taking account
of the more than 80 different versions developed for 21 countries around
the world including Pakistan. They have logged over 3
The Mirage III was designed initially as a high altitude, high speed all-weather interceptor, capable of performing ground support missions. It is now deplyed by the PAF as a multi-role, multi-mission fighter.
The Mirage 5 was designed as a ground-attack and reconnaisance aircraft. It is deployed by the PAF in both these roles as well as in the exclusive anti-ship role armed with Exocet anti-ship missiles.
One of the most elegant aircraft ever flown, the Mirage III has a large delta wing and circular intakes with shock cones. A rectangular recess under the aft fuselage can contain either a fuel tank or a rocket engine. It has improved Doppler navigation system in fairing under front fuselage, gyro gunsight and nose packing containing Omera 40 and 33 cameras.
The Mirage 5 was a fair-weather attack development of the Mirage III. It can also be flown as an interceptor. The reduction of electronic equipment allows more fuel and reduces cost.
Primary Function:Mirage III: Multi-role fighter; Mirage V: Ground-attack, anti-ship and reconnaissance aircraft
Manufacturer: Dassault-Breguet (France)
Power Plant: One SNECMA Atar 9C turbojet afterburning engine.
Thrust: 60.8 kN (13,670 lb st).
Length: Mirage III: 49 feet, 3.5 inches (15.03 metres); Mirage V: 51 feet, 0.5 in (15.55 metre)
Height: 14 feet, 9 inches (4.5 metres)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 30,200 lb. (13,700 kgs)
Wingspan: 26 feet, 11.5 inches (8.22 meters)
Speed: 1,460 mph (2,350 km/h, Mach 2.2 at 39,375 feet)
Ceiling: 55,775 feet (17,000 meters)
Range: 2,485 miles (4,000 km) with three external tanks.
Armament: Mirage III
has two 30 mm DEFA 552A guns, two 1,000 lb. bombs or an AS.30 air-to-surface
missile and 1000 lb. bombs. Total external load on five hardpoints, 4,000
kg (8,818 lb.). For interception duties one Matra R.530 air-to-air missile
can be carried under fuselage, under fuselage, with optional guns and two
Matra Magic missiles. The Mirage 5 has
PAF Inventory: Approx. 180 (Total). Breakdown as follows:
Mirage III EPs (multi-role)
Mirage III EPs (multi-role)
Mirage III Os (multi-role) (ex-Australian)
Note : Additional
information available upon request.
COPYRIGHT © 1999-2002
PAKISTAN AIRFORCE ONLINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, WORLDWIDE.