Encyclopedia - Dassault Mirage F-1
The search for a successor to the Dassault Mirage III started in the 1960’s when the Mirage III’s production was at its peak. Initial ideas included VTOL capability (vertical take-off and landing) and variable geometry wings. The Armée de l’Air was so transfixed on these requirements that it led to prototypes being built but inevitable cancellation of these projects. The variable geometry Mirage IIIG was to be powered by a SNECMA TF306 turbofan, but the delta-wing design proved to be too cumbersome in the slow-flight trials. Another aircraft was designed to handle slow speeds more effectively, resulting in the Mirage F2. This aircraft had the Mirage G fuselage, with a more conventional wing and tailplane. This aircraft interested the Armée de l’Air, yet Dassault felt a smaller aircraft would be better. A downscaled Mirage F2 was built, sporting the uprated Atar engine, naming it the Dassault Mirage F-1.
The Mirage F-1 is a high-wing single-engine combat aircraft used in the air combat and ground attack roles. It features retractable tricycle type undercarriage, and has drooping leading edges to improve slow speed handling. It has airbrakes under each air intake and a hydraulically operated all-moving tailplane. The cockpit is air conditioned and pressurized, and is equipped with a Martin Baker ejection seat. A drag chute is fitted in a fairing under the tail fin to aid the anti-skid brakes.
The Mirage F-1C is an all-weather interceptor fitted with a Thomson-CSF Cyrano IV fire-control rader. It also has a HUD (head-up display) displaying all the necessary flight data in the pilot’s field of vision.
The Mirage F-1E is an enhanced version of the Mirage F-1C with an upgraded Cyrano radar. Additional features include air-ground mapping, track-while-scan and continuous target-ranging modes. The Mirage F-1E also incorporates an advanced INS (inertial navigation system). Optional features include a Doppler navigation radar and a laser range-finder.
The Mirage F-1A is a simplified attack aircraft, with increased fuel capacity due to the replacement of the deleted equipment. The Cyrano radar is removed, and the nose has a more conical appearance. The Mirage F-1A is a daytime operations aircraft, and employs a Doppler-effect ESD navigation suite. It has a laser sight, and is able to locate a target at a distance of 5km for a run-in with automatic bomb release.
Operators include : France, Equador, Greece, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Qatar and South Africa.