Dassault Mirage 50
|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Dassault|
Deriving its designation from its SNECMA Atar 9K-50 engine, the Mirage 50 retained the basic airframe of the Mirage III and 5, and the prototype - previously that of the Milan - was flown on 15 April 1975. Apart from the engine, providing an afterburning thrust of 7200kg, the Mirage 50 introduced revised air intakes to cater for this engine's greater mass flow and some equipment repositioning to allow for the 160kg engine weight penalty. By comparison with earlier first-generation Mirage deltas, the Mirage 50 offered a 15% decrease in take-off distance, a 35% improvement in initial climb, an improved ceiling and enhanced manoeuvrability. With a built-in armament of two 30mm cannon, it was suited for air superiority missions with dogfight missiles, air patrol and supersonic interception, and ground attack combined with self-defence capability. It was offered with Agave or Cyrano IVM multi-function radar and it could carry the full range of operational stores developed for the Mirage III and 5. The first customer for the Mirage 50 was Chile which ordered 14 (plus two two-seat trainers). The first eight supplied in 1980 as Mirage 50FGs were, in fact, refurbished and re-engined ex-Armee de l'Air Mirage 5Fs. The remaining six single-seaters which followed in 1982-83 were new-build Mirage 50CHs, these and the earlier 50FCs being upgraded as ENAER Panteras in the early 'nineties. During 1990, Dassault initiated the upgrading of Venezuela's surviving 10 Mirage IIIEVs and 5Vs to Mirage 50EV standard, six new-build 50EVs (plus one two-seat 50DV) for Venezuela bringing production of the first-generation Mirage delta to an end in 1991 with 1,422 aircraft delivered.