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Dassault Mirage III

The Dassault Mirage III is a family of single/dual-seat, single-engine, fighter aircraft.

It was the first Western European combat aircraft to exceed Mach 2 in horizontal flight.


M.D.550 Mystere-Delta

Single seat delta-wing interceptor-fighter prototype, fitted with a delta vertical tail surface, equipped with a retractable tricycle landing gear, powered by two 7.35 kN (1,650 lbf) thrust M.D.30 (Armstrong Siddeley Viper) turbojet engines.

Mirage I

Revised first prototype, fitted with a swept vertical tail surface, powered by two reheated M.D.30R turbojet engines, 9.61 kN (2,160 lbf), also fitted with a 15 kN (3,400 lbf) thrust SEPR 66 rocket booster.

Mirage II

Single-seat delta-wing interceptor-fighter prototype, larger version of the Mirage I, powered by two Turbomeca Gabizo turbojet engines; one abandoned incomplete.

Mirage III-001

Prototype, initially powered by a 44.12 kN (9,920 lbf) thrust Atar 101G1 turbojet engine, later refitted with 43.15 kN (9,700 lbf) Atar 101G-2 and also fitted with a SEPR 66 auxiliary rocket motor.

Mirage IIIA

Pre-production aircraft, with a lengthened, area ruled fuselage and powered by a 42.8 kN (9,600 lbf) dry and 58.84 kN (13,230 lbf) with reheat Atar 9B turbojet engine, also with provision for 13.34 kN (3,000 lbf) SEPR 84 auxiliary rocket motor.

Fitted with Dassault Super Aida or Thomson-CSF Cyrano Ibis radar.

Mirage IIIB

Two-seat tandem trainer aircraft fitted with one piece canopy.

Lacks radar, cannon armament and provision for booster rocket.

Prototype (based on the IIIA) first flown on 20 October 1959.

Followed by 26 production IIIBs based on IIIC for French Air Force and one for Centre d’essais en vol (CEV) test centre.

Mirage IIIB-1 

Trials aircraft.

Mirage IIIB-2(RV) 

Inflight refuelling training aircraft for Mirage IV force, fitted with dummy refuelling probe in nose.

Mirage IIIBE 

Two-seat training aircraft based on Mirage IIIE for the French Air Force, similar to the Mirage IIID.

Mirage IIIBJ 

Mirage IIIB for Israeli Air Force.

Mirage IIIBL

  Mirage IIIBE for Lebanon Air Force.

Mirage IIIBS 

Mirage IIIB for the Swiss Air Force.

Mirage IIIBZ 

Mirage IIIB for the South African Air Force.

Mirage IIIC

Single-seat all-weather interceptor-fighter aircraft, with longer fuselage than the IIIA (14.73 m (48 ft 4 in)) and equipped with a Cyrano I bis radar.

The Mirage IIIC was armed with two 30 mm (1.181 in) cannon, with a single Matra R.511, Nord AA.20 or Matra R530 air-to-air missile under the fuselage and two AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles under the wings.

It was powered by an Atar 9B-3 turbojet engine, which could be supplemented by fitting an auxiliary rocket motor in the rear fuselage if the cannon were removed.

Mirage IIICJ 

Mirage IIIC for the Israeli Air Force, fitted with simpler electronics and with provision for the booster rocket removed.

Mirage IIICS 

Mirage IIIC supplied to Swiss Air Force in 1962 for evaluation and test purposes.

Mirage IIICZ 

Mirage IIIC for the South African Air Force.

Mirage IIIC-2 

Conversion of French Mirage IIIE with Atar 09K-6 engine.

One aircraft converted, later re-converted to Mirage IIIE.

Mirage IIID

Two-seat trainer version of the Mirage IIIE, powered by 41.97 kN (9,440 lbf) dry and 58.84 kN (13,230 lbf) with reheat Atar 09-C engine.

Fitted with distinctive strakes under the nose.

Almost identical aircraft designated Mirage IIIBE, IIID and 5Dx depending on customer.

Mirage IIID 

Two-seat training aircraft for the RAAF.

Built under licence in Australia.

Mirage IIIDA 

Two-seat trainer for the Argentine Air Force.

Mirage IIIDBR 

Two-seat trainer for the Brazilian Air Force, designated F-103D. Four newly built aircraft delivered from 1972.

Two ex-French Air Force Mirage IIIBEs delivered 1984 to make up for losses in accidents.

Mirage IIIDBR-2

  Refurbished and updated aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force, with more modern avionics and canard fore planes.

Two ex-French aircraft sold to Brazil in 1988, with remaining two DBRs upgraded to same standard.

Mirage IIIDE 

Two-seat trainer for Spanish Air Force, local designation CE.11.

Mirage IIIDP 

Two-seat trainer for the Pakistan Air Force.

Mirage IIIDS 

Two-seat trainer for the Swiss Air Force.

Mirage IIIDV 

Two-seat trainer for the Venezuelan Air Force.

Mirage IIIDZ 

Two-seat trainer for the South African Air Force.

Mirage IIID2Z 

Two-seat trainer for the South African Air Force, fitted with an Atar 9K-50 turbojet engine; giving 49.2 kN (11,100 lbf) thrust dry and 70.6 kN (15,900 lbf) with reheat. 

Mirage IIIE

Single-seat tactical strike and fighter-bomber aircraft, with 300 mm (12 in) fuselage plug to accommodate an additional avionics bay behind the cockpit.

Fitted with Cyrano II radar with additional air-to-ground modes compared to Mirage IIIC, improved navigation equipment, including TACAN and a Doppler radar in under nose bulge.

Powered by an Atar 09C-3 turbojet engine.

Mirage IIIEA 

Mirage IIIE for the Argentine Air Force.

Mirage IIIEBR 

Mirage IIIE for the Brazilian Air Force, locally designated F-103E.

Mirage IIIEBR-2 

Refurbished and updated aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force, with canard fore planes.

Four ex-French aircraft sold to Brazil in 1988, with surviving Mirage IIIEBRs upgraded to same standard.

Mirage IIIEE 

Mirage IIIE for the Spanish Air Force, locally designated C.11.

Mirage IIIEL 

Mirage IIIE for the Lebanese Air Force, omitting doppler radar, including HF antenna.

Mirage IIIEP 

Mirage IIIE for the Pakistan Air Force.

Mirage IIIEV 

Mirage IIIE for the Venezuelan Air Force, omitting doppler radar. Seven built. Survivors upgraded to Mirage 50EV standard.

Mirage IIIEZ 

Mirage IIIE for the South African Air Force.

Mirage IIIO

Single-seat all-weather fighter-bomber aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Single prototype powered by 53.68 kN (12,070 lbf) dry thrust and 71.17 kN (16,000 lbf) Rolls-Royce Avon Mk.67 turbojet engine, but order placed for aircraft based on Mirage IIIE, powered by Atar engine in March 1961.

100 aircraft built, of which 98 were built under license in Australia.

The first 49 were Mirage IIIO(F) interceptors which were followed by 51 Mirage IIIO(A) fighter bombers, with survivors brought up to a common standard later.

Mirage IIIR

Single-seat all-weather reconnaissance aircraft, with radar replaced by camera nose carrying up to five cameras.

Aircraft based on IIIE airframe but with simpler avionics similar to that fitted to the IIIC and retaining cannon armament of fighters.

Two prototypes and 50 production aircraft built for the French Air Force.

Mirage IIIRD 

Single-seat all-weather reconnaissance aircraft for the French Air Force, equipped with improved avionics, including under nose doppler radar as in the Mirage IIIE.

Provision to carry infrared line scan, Doppler navigation radar or side looking airborne radar (SLAR) in interchangeable pod.

Mirage IIIRJ 

Single-seat all-weather reconnaissance aircraft of the Israeli Air Force.

Two Mirage IIICZs converted into reconnaissance aircraft.

Mirage IIIRP 

Export version of the Mirage IIIR for the Pakistan Air Force.

Mirage IIIRS 

Export version of the Mirage IIIR for the Swiss Air Force.

Mirage IIIRZ 

Export version of the Mirage IIIR for the South African Air Force.

Mirage IIIR2Z 

Export version of the Mirage IIIR for the South African Air Force, fitted with an Atar 9K-50 turbojet engine.

Mirage IIIS

Single-seat all-weather interceptor fighter aircraft for the Swiss Air Force, based on the IIIC, but fitted with a Hughes TARAN 18 radar and fire-control system and armed with AIM-4 Falcon and Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.

Built under licence in Switzerland.

Mirage IIIT

One aircraft converted into an engine testbed, initially fitted with a subsonic 46.7–61.8 kN (10,500–13,890 lbf) Pratt & Whitney/SNECMA TF104, but retrofitted with a supersonic 51.96–74.53 kN (11,680–16,755 lbf) Pratt & Whitney/SNECMA TF106 turbofan engine.

There were a few unbuilt variants

A Mirage IIIK that was powered by a Rolls-Royce Spey turbofan was offered to the British Royal Air Force.

The Mirage IIIM was a carrier-based variant, with catapult spool and arresting hook, for operation with the French Aéronavale.

The Mirage IIIW was a lightweight fighter version, proposed for a US competition, with Dassault partnered with Boeing.


Mirage IIIE




15.03 m (49 ft 4 in)


8.22 m (27 ft 0 in)


4.5 m (14 ft 9 in)

Wing area

34.85 m2 (375.1 sq ft)

Empty weight

7,050 kg (15,543 lb)

Gross weight

9,600 kg (21,164 lb)

Max take-off weight

13,700 kg (30,203 lb)


1 × SNECMA Atar 09C afterburning turbojet engine,

41.97 kN (9,440 lbf) thrust dry, 60.8 kN (13,700 lbf) with afterburner


1 × SEPR 841 liquid-fuelled rocket engine, 14.7 kN (3,300 lbf) thrust


Maximum speed

2,350 km/h (1,460 mph, 1,270 kn) at 12,000 m (39,000 ft)

Maximum speed

Mach 2.2

Combat range

1,200 km (750 mi, 650 nmi)

Ferry range

3,335 km (2,072 mi, 1,801 nmi)

Service ceiling

17,000 m (56,000 ft)

Rate of climb

83 m/s (16,400 ft/min)



2× 30 mm (1.181 in) DEFA 552 cannon with 125 rounds per gun


2× Matra JL-100 drop tank/rocket pack,

Each with 19× 68 mm (2.7 in) SNEB rockets


250 l (66 US gal; 55 imp gal) of fuel


2× AIM-9B Sidewinder Air to Air missiles (AAM)


2x Matra R.550 Magic AAMs plus 1× Matra R.530 AAM


4,000 kg (8,800 lb) of payload on five external hardpoints, including a variety of bombs, reconnaissance pods or Drop tanks; French Air Force IIIEs through to 1991 were equipped to carry the AN-52 nuclear bomb.


Thomson-CSF Cyrano II radar; Marconi continuous-wave Doppler navigation radar.

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