Argentina has said it is now approaching France for a short-term aircraft to replace its retired Dassault Mirage fleet having failed to purchase the US Navy’s Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs aggressor aircraft, which are still in use.
Following a meeting between Argentine Defence Minister Julio Martínez and his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, in Paris on 14 June, Martínez said a possible sale of 12 Mirage F1s was discussed and that the sale could be followed by Mirage 2000s in an undisclosed variant.
Martínez said the price and conditions are favourable, and that an agreement for the Mirages could be done government-to-government, without intermediaries.
Northrop F-5E Tiger II & III: Details
Dassault’s successor to the Mirage III dispensed with the traditional delta layout and adopted a more conventional configuration. The resulting Mirage F1 has 40 per cent more internal fuel in a smaller airframe, a much shorter field length, three times the supersonic endurance, twice the tactical radius at low levels and all-round better maneuverability.
Mirage F1 cockpit Image @modelairplanecollectors.com
F1 variants follow a similar designation system applied to earlier Mirage IIIs and include the F1A simplified for day attack, F1B and F1D dual-control trainers, multi-role Mirage F1E, F1CR multi-sensor reconnaissance platform and F1C-200 with fixed IFR probe. The arrival of the Mirage 2000 saw the conversion of surplus F1C airframes to F1CT standard as tactical fighter-bombers.
The F1 remained in widespread service in 2001. France operates two squadrons each of F1CRs and F1CTs, a conversion unit equipped with trainers and a small detachment of F1C interceptors for the defense of Djibouti. Other operators comprise Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, and Spain. Jordan’s elderly F1CJ/EJs are being replaced by F-16s. Iraq was the largest export customer, acquiring 108 F1EQs to various standards. The remaining significant operator is Spain, whose force of F1CE/F1EEs has been augmented by 12 ex-Qatari F1EDA/DDAs.
SNECMA Atar 9K-50 turbojet
|Dimensions and weight|
|Wing span||9.32 m|
|Weight (empty)||7.4 t|
|Weight (maximum take off)||15.2 t|
|Engines and performance|
|Engines||1 x SNECMA Atar 9K-50 turbojet|
|Traction (dry / with afterburning)||49.03 / 70.21 kN|
|Maximum speed||2 338 km/h|
|Service ceiling||20 km|
|Combat radius||425 km|
|Cannon||2 x DEFA 533 30-mm cannons|
|Missiles||2 x Super 530 and 2 x R550 Magic air-to-air missiles. Can also carry ARMAT anti-radar missiles, AS.30L air-to-surface missiles, AM.39 Exocet anti-ship missiles|
|Bombs||250 kg of bombs including BGL-400 laser-guided bombs|
Hommage au Mirage F1