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Mirage 5 Dassault
Mirage 5
Ground Attack Fighter

In the mid-1960s, Israel approached Dassault about the possibility of modifying its Mirage III fighter into a simpler and cheaper daylight ground attack fighter. The design proceeded leading to the Mirage 5 or Mirage V. Though the original design lacked a radar, this unusued space allowed the fuel load to be increased for greater range. Before Israel was able to accept its first Mirage 5, the French government allied itself with the Arab states and placed an embargo on defense shipments to Israel. Instead, the French Air Force took delivery of the Mirage 5 models built for Israel and designated these as the Mirage 5F. Soon, a total of 525 aircraft were serving with ten other nations. Dassault later offered an improved version, the Mirage 50, with a new engine and greater fuel and payload capacities. Only Chile and Venezuela purchased the Mirage 50.

After the French government refused to sell the Mirage 5 to Israel, the Israelis built their own unlicensed copy called the Nesher. Production of the Nesher was accomplished in no small part thanks to a large supply of French Atar 9C engines that had been delivered prior to the embargo. Israel also employed espionage tactics to steal drawings for the Atar engine from a Swiss factory as well as Mirage airframe production drawings from France. The Nesher was later joined by a more capable derivative based on the Mirage III family called the Kfir. Compared to earlier models, the Kfir featured an improved engine, more refined aerodynamic shape, and improved avionics.

South Africa had also been cut-off from French military sales during the 1980s and followed the Israeli example by developing its own derivative of the Mirage III/5. The resulting Atlas Cheetah was continually upgraded with better wings and avionics to become far superior to the original French design. Cheetah production also included several Israeli Kfir airframes rebuilt as Cheetah D/E models. Additional Kfir aircraft were also leased to the United States as the F-21 Lion for use in adversary training.

Data below for Mirage 5A; some also for Mirage 50, and Kfir where noted
Last modified 17 March 2012

First Flight (Mirage 5) 19 May 1967
(Mirage 50) 15 April 1979
Service Entry

1970 (?)

CREW: one: pilot



Wing Root unknown
Wing Tip


Length 51.04 ft (15.55 m)
Wingspan 26.96 ft (8.22 m)
Height 14.75 ft (4.50 m)
Wing Area 375 ft² (34.85 m²)
Canard Area

17.87 ft² (1.66 m²)
(Mirage 50, Kfir, and Cheetah only)

Empty (Mirage 5A) 14,550 lb (6,600 kg)
(Mirage 50) 15,765 lb (7,150 kg)
(Kfir) 16,060 lb (7,285 kg)
Normal Takeoff (Kfir) 20,700 lb (9,390 kg)
Max Takeoff (Mirage 5A/50) 30,203 lb (13,700 kg)
(Kfir) 32,340 lb (14,670 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 1,005 gal (3,810 L)
external: unknown
Max Payload

(Mirage 5) 8,820 lb (4,000 kg)
(Kfir) 13,415 lb (6,085 kg)

Powerplant (Mirage 5A) one SNECMA Atar 9C afterburning turbojet
(Mirage 50) one SNECMA Atar 9C-50 afterburning turbojet
(Mirage 5-50) one SNECMA Atar 9K-50 afterburning turbojet
(Kfir) one General Electric J79-J1E afterburning turbojet
Thrust (Mirage 5A) 13,670 lb (60.8 kN) with afterburner
(Mirage 50) 15,870 lb (70.3 kN) with afterburner
(Mirage 5-50) 15,870 lb (70.3 kN) with afterburner
(Kfir) 17,900 lb (79.3 kN) with afterburner

Max Level Speed at altitude: 1,460 mph (2,350 km/h) at 36,090 ft (11,000 m), Mach 2.2
at sea level: 865 mph (1,390 km/h), Mach 1.13
Initial Climb Rate 45,950 ft (14,000 m) / min
Service Ceiling 55,755 ft (17,000 m)
Range typical: 700 nm (1,300 km)
ferry: 1,400 nm (2,600 km)
g-Limits unknown

Gun two 30-mm DEFA 552A cannons (125 rds ea)
Stations (Mirage 5A) 7 external hardpoints
(Kfir) 9 external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile AIM-9 Sidewinder, Matra R.530, Python 3, Python 4, Shafrir
Air-to-Surface Missile AS.30, AS.39 Exocet, AGM-45 Shrike, AGM-65 Maverick
Bomb GBU-8 Hobos, Mk 84 GP, Durandal, 250/500 kg GP, cluster bombs
Other ECM pods, rocket pods

Mirage 5A First production model, single-seat
Mirage 5D Two-seat trainer
Mirage 5E2 Egyptian subvariant equipped with the nav/attack system of the Alpha Jet MS2
Mirage 5F Original batch of 5A aircraft built for Israel but purchased by France
Mirage 5R Reconnaissance model with five cameras
Mirage 5V Version of the Mirage 5 for Venezuela
Mirage 50 New model with an improved engine and new avionics
Mirage 50C Version of the Mirage 50 for Chile
Mirage 50FC Version of the Mirage 50 with no radar for Chile
Mirage 3-50 Late model combining features of the Mirage III and Mirage 5
Mirage 5-50 Improved 3-50 model
Nesher S Single-seat Israeli copy of the Mirage 5; approximately 51 built
Nesher T Israeli two-seat trainer based on the Mirage 5; approximately 10 built
Dagger A Name given to former Israeli Nesher S aircraft sold to Argentina; 39 sold
Dagger B Name given to former Israeli Nesher T aircraft sold to Argentina; 4 sold
Finger-I/II/III Three-stages of an ungrade program applied to Argentina's Dagger fleet to add improved avionics and other enhancements similar to the Kfir
Kfir Isreali model based on the Mirage III and Mirage 5 built by Israel Aircraft Industries; 27 built
Kfir-C1 Upgrade that added canards and nose strakes to the original Kfir airframes; at least 25 converted
Kfir-C2 Definitive Kfir model with fixed canards, a dogtooth leading edge, a redesigned nose, and improved handling characteristics; 185 built including Kfir-TC2
Kfir-TC2 Kfir two-seat trainer and electronic warfare model based on the C2 production standard
Kfir-C7 Upgrade for Kfir-C2 airframes that added cockpit enhancements, improved nav/attack systems, compatibility with guided weapons, and optional aerial refueling capability
Kfir-TC7 Upgrade for Kfir-TC2 airframes based on the Kfir-C7
Kfir-C10 Upgrade program to add cockpit improvements and a new radar
Kfir 2000 Upgrade program based on the Kfir-C10 but offering additional avionics improvements
F-21A Lion Kfir-C1 aircraft leased to the US Navy and Marine Corps for use in adversary training from 1985 to 1989; 25 loaned
Cheetah D or DZ South African two-seat combat-capable trainer model converted from the Mirage III-D2Z and Kfir
Cheetah E or EZ South African single-seat interceptor and fighter-bomber model converted from Mirage and Kfir aircraft
Cheetah R/R2 Reconnaissance variants based on the Cheetah E
Cheetah C Cheetah E airframes modified into multi-role fighters by adding a new radar, improved low-drag wings, and revised avionics

KNOWN COMBAT RECORD: Yom Kippur War (Egypt, Israel, Libya, 1973)
Libyan-Egyptian War (Libya, 1977)
Lebanon (Israel, 1982)
Tamil conflict (Sri Lanka [Kfir], 2007)

KNOWN OPERATORS: Argentina, Fuerza Aérea Argentina (Argentine Air Force) - Mirage 5 & Dagger
Belgium, Belgishe Luchtmacht/Force Aérienne Belge (Belgian Air Force) - Mirage 5
Chile, Fuerza Aérea de Chile (Chilean Air Force) - Mirage 5 & 50
Colombia, Fuerza Aérea Colombiana (Columbian Air Force) - Mirage 5 & Kfir
Ecuador, Fuerza Aérea Equatoriana (Ecuadorian Air Force) - Kfir
Egypt, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya (Egyptian Air Force) - Mirage 5
France, Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) - Mirage 5
Gabon, Armée de l'Air Gabonaise (Gabon Air Force) - Mirage 5
Israel, Tsvah Haganah le Israel - Heyl Ha'Avir (Israeli Defence Force - Air Force) - Nesher & Kfir
Libya, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya al Jamahiriya al Arabia al Libyya (Libyan Air Force) - Mirage 5
Pakistan, Pakistan Fiza'ya (Pakistani Air Force) - Mirage 5
Peru, Fuerza Aérea del Perú (Peruvian Air Force) - Mirage 5
South Africa, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugmag (South African Air Force) - Cheetah
Sri Lanka (Sri Lankan National Air Force) - Kfir
United Arab Emirates (United Arab Emirates Air Force) - Mirage 5
United States (US Marine Corps) - Kfir
United States (US Navy) - Kfir
Venezuela, Fuerza Aérea Venezolana (Venezuelan Air Force) - Mirage 5 & 50
Zaire, Force Aérienne Zairoise (Zaire Air Force) - Mirage 5


Mirage 5:

Mirage 5



  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 302-303, 528, Dassault Mirage III/5/50, IAI Kfir.
  • Donald, David and Lake, Jon, ed. The Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 2000, p. 42-43, 127-129, 203-205, Atlas Cheetah, Dassault Mirage 5/50, IAI Dagger (Nesher), Kfir.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 50, 98-99, Atlas Cheetah, Dassault Mirage 5, Mirage 50.
  • Gunston, Bill and Spick, Mike. Modern Air Combat: The Aircraft, Tactics and Weapons Employed in Aerial Combat Today. NY: Crescent Books, 1983, p. 94-95, 114-115.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 46-47, 130-131, Atlas Cheetah, IAI Kfir.
  • Paul Nann's Military Aviation Photo Gallery
  • Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 44, 48, 56, Denel (Atlas) Cheetah, Dassault Mirage V/50, IAI Kfir.
  • Taylor, Michael. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1996/1997. London: Brassey's, 1996, p. 36-37, 49, 109-110, Dassault Mirage III, 5 and 50, IAI Kfir C2, C7, C10 and Kfir 2000, Atlas Aviation Cheetah.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. Brassey's World Aircraft & Systems Directory 1999/2000. London: Brassey's, 1999, p. 88-89, Denel Cheetah C and D conversion programme.
  • Winchester, Jim. Military Aircraft of the Cold War. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2006, p. 58-59, Dassault Mirage III/5.

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