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Mirage III Dassault
Mirage III
Multi-Role Fighter

One of the most successful aircraft of the Cold War era was the French Mirage III. The design began as a small light interceptor but soon grew into a powerful multi-role fighter. The first production models were the 'B' two-seat trainer, which lacked a radar, and the 'C' single seat interceptor/short range bomber. Despite the rather poor performance of the Mirage IIIC, the aircraft became very popular with air forces around the world. The most successful model by far was the Mirage IIIE with a larger fuselage and optimized as a long range fighter bomber. The Mirage III was such a successful concept that it has served as the basis for no less than six related designs--the Mirage IV nuclear bomber, the Mirage 5/50 attack fighters, the Mirage F.1 fighter, the Mirage 2000 fighter, Mirage 2000 bomber, the Israeli Kfir attack fighter, and the South African Cheetah attack fighter. All told, some 1,400 Mirage III, 5, and 50 aircraft were built.

Data below for Mirage IIIE
Last modified 26 September 2009

First Flight (Mirage III-001) 17 November 1956
(Mirage IIIB) 21 October 1959
(Mirage IIIC) 1960
(Mirage IIIR) 31 October 1961
Service Entry

(Mirage IIIC) 1961
(Mirage IIIB) 19 July 1962
(Mirage IIIR) 1963

CREW: one: pilot



Wing Root unknown (3.5%)
Wing Tip

unknown (3.5%)

Length 49.29 ft (15.03 m)
Wingspan 26.96 ft (8.22 m)
Height 14.75 ft (4.50 m)
Wing Area 375 ft² (34.85 m²)
Canard Area

not applicable

Empty 15,540 lb (7,050 kg)
Normal Takeoff 21,165 lb (9,600 kg)
Max Takeoff 30,205 lb (13,700 kg)
Fuel Capacity internal: 880 gal (3,340 L)
external: unknown
Max Payload

8,820 lb (4,000 kg)

Powerplant one SNECMA Atar 9C afterburning turbojet
Thrust 13,670 lb (60.8 kN) with afterburner

Max Level Speed at altitude: 1,460 mph (2,350 km/h) at 39,370 ft (12,000 m), Mach 2.2
at sea level: 863 mph (1,390 km/h), Mach 1.14
Initial Climb Rate 16,400 ft (5,000 m) / min
Service Ceiling 55,755 ft (17,000 m)
Range typical: 1,294 nm (2,400 km)
ferry: 2,160 nm (4,000 km)
g-Limits unknown

Gun two 30-mm DEFA 552A cannons (125 rds ea)
Stations five external hardpoints
Air-to-Air Missile AIM-9 Sidewinder, Matra R.530, Matra 550 Magic
Air-to-Surface Missile AS.30, AS.37, Wasp
Bomb 250/400 kg bombs
Other rocket pods, ECM pods

Mirage IIIA Prototype single-seat fighter
Mirage IIIB Two-seat trainer
Mirage IIIBJ Two-seat trainer for Israel
Mirage IIIBL Two-seat trainer for Lebanon
Mirage IIIBS Two-seat trainer for Switzerland
Mirage IIIBZ Two-seat trainer for South Africa
Mirage IIIB2
Mirage IIIB-RV
Two-seat trainer fitted with a dummy refueling probe for in-flight refueling training
Mirage IIIC One-seat all-weather fighter bomber
Mirage IIICZ South African models of the IIIC equipped with the engine of the Mirage 5 and upgraded avionics
Mirage IIID Two-seat trainer for the Mirage IIIE
Mirage IIIBE Version of the Mirage IIID used by France
Mirage IIIDBR Version of the Mirage IIID for Brazil
Mirage IIIDS Version of the Mirage IIID for Switerland
Mirage IIIDZ South African models of the Mirage IIID equipped with the engine of the Mirage 5 and upgraded avionics
Mirage IIID2Z Version of the Mirage IIID for South Africa with improved engine
Mirage IIIE/EA One-seat long-range fighter bomber with improved engine, new radar, and low-level attack capability; France has used the Mirage IIIE for carriage of tactical nuclear weapons
Mirage IIIEX Mirage IIIE model modified with the nose from the Mirage F.1, fixed canards, strakes of the Mirage 5D, and an in-flight refueling probe
Mirage IIIO Model license built in Australia
Mirage IIIOD Version of the Mirage IIID license built in Australia
Mirage IIIR One-seat reconnaissance model with five cameras or IR sensors
Mirage IIIRD Improved reconnaissance model with a new navigation radar
Mirage IIIRP Reconnaissance model for Pakistan; 13 built
Mirage IIIRS Reconnaissance model for Switzerland; 18 built
Mirage IIIRZ Reconnaissance model for South Africa fitted with the Mirage 5 engine and upgraded avionics; 8 built
Mirage IIIR2Z Version of the Mirage IIIR for South Africa with improved engine
Mirage IIIS Model license built in Switzerland
Mirage IIIT Test aircraft used to evaluate a new engine
Mirage IIIX Proposed upgraded model with canards, fly-by-wire system, upgraded avionics, and a new engine
Mirage IIING Improved attack fighter with canards, other aerodynamic improvements, and new avionics
Balzac V-001 Model equipped with eight liftjets to serve as a VTOL research aircraft; 1 converted
Mirage IIIV VTOL prototype; 2 built
Mirage Milan

Mirage IIIE airframe modified with retractable canards, did not enter production


Six Day War (Israel, 1967)
War of Attrition (Israel, 1969-1970)
Yom Kippur War (Egypt, Israel, 1973)
Falklands War (Argentina, 1982)


Argentina, Fuerza Aérea Argentina (Argentine Air Force)
Australia (Royal Australian Air Force)
Brazil, Força Aérea Brasileira (Brazilian Air Force)
Chile, Fuerza Aérea de Chile (Chilean Air Force)
Egypt, Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya (Egyptian Air Force)
France, Armée de l'Air (French Air Force)
Israel, Tsvah Haganah le Israel - Heyl Ha'Avir (Israeli Defence Force - Air Force)
Lebanon, Al Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Lubnamia (Lebanese Air Force)
Pakistan, Pakistan Fiza'ya (Pakistani Air Force)
South Africa, Suid-Afrikaanse Lugmag (South African Air Force)
Switzerland, Schweizer Luftwaffe (Swiss Air Force)


Mirage III

  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1997, p. 302-303.
  • Gunston, Bill, ed. The Encyclopedia of Modern Warplanes. NY: Barnes & Noble, 1995, p. 94-96.
  • 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.
  • Munro, Bob and Chant, Christopher. Jane's Combat Aircraft. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995, p. 90-91.
  • Paul Nann's Military Aviation Photo Gallery
  • Rendall, David. Jane's Aircraft Recognition Guide, 2nd ed. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 46.
  • 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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