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Mirage 5
Line-up of Belgian Mirage 5s
Role Attack aircraft
Manufacturer Dassault Aviation
First flight 19 May 1967
Status Active
Primary users French Air Force (historical)
Belgian Air Force (historical)
Egyptian Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Navy
Number built 582
Developed from Dassault Mirage III
Variants IAI Nesher

The Dassault Mirage 5 is a supersonic attack aircraft designed in France by Dassault Aviation during the 1960s, and manufactured in France and a number of other countries. It was derived from Dassault's popular Mirage III fighter, and spawned several variants of its own.

Design and development

Early development

The Mirage 5 grew out of a request to Dassault from the Israeli Air Force. Since the weather over the Middle East is clear and sunny most of the time, the Israelis suggested removing avionics, normally located behind the cockpit, from the standard Mirage IIIE to reduce cost and maintenance, and replacing them with more fuel storage for attack missions.[1] In September 1966, the Israelis placed an order for 50 units of the new aircraft.

Mirage 5

French Air Force Mirage-5F.

The first Mirage 5 flew on 19 May 1967.[2] It looked much like the Mirage III, except it had a long slender nose that extended the aircraft's length by about half a metre. A pitot tube was distinctively moved from the tip of the nose to below the nose in the majority of Mirage 5 variants.

The Mirage 5 retained the IIIE's twin DEFA guns, but added two additional pylons, for a total of seven. Maximum warload was 4,000 kg (8,800 lb). Provision for the SEPR rocket engine was deleted.

Rising tensions in the Middle East led French President Charles de Gaulle to embargo the Israeli Mirage 5s on 3 June 1967. The Mirages continued to roll off the production line, even though they were embargoed, and by 1968 the batch was complete and the Israelis had provided final payments.

In late 1969, the Israelis, who had pilots in France testing the aircraft, requested that the aircraft be transferred to Corsica, in theory to allow them to continue flight training during the winter. The French government became suspicious when the Israelis also tried to obtain long-range fuel tanks and cancelled the move.

The Israelis finally gave up trying to get the aircraft and accepted a refund. Later however, cooperation with France resumed outside the public's eye and Israel received 50 Mirage 5s in crates from AdA, while Ada took over the 50 aircraft originally intended for Israel, as Mirage 5Fs.[citation needed] The aircraft were delivered between May 1971 and February 1974 and assembled by Israeli technicians.[citation needed] Officially, Israel claimed to have built the aircraft after obtaining complete blueprints, naming them IAI Nesher.[3][unreliable source?][4][unreliable source?]

Like the Mirage IIIE, the Mirage 5 was popular with export customers, with different export variants fitted with a wide range of different avionics. While the Mirage 5 had been originally oriented to the clear-weather attack role, with some avionic fits it was refocused to the air-combat mission. As electronic systems became more compact and powerful, it was possible to provide the Mirage 5 with increased capability, even though the rear avionics bay had been deleted, therefore in some sub-versions, Dassault finished up with a "reinvented" Mirage IIIE.

Reconnaissance and two-seat versions of the Mirage 5 were sold, with the designation Mirage 5R, and Mirage 5D respectively. However, a little consideration of the differences between a Mirage III and a Mirage 5 quickly shows that these designations were simply for marketing purposes. There was no clear dividing line between the configuration of a Mirage III reconnaissance or trainer version and that of a Mirage 5 equivalent, and were one and the same in many cases.

A Mirage 5 of the Belgian Air Component parked at an airbase on 15 May 1978 during exercise Tactical Air Meet '78.

The Mirage 5 was sold to Abu Dhabi, Belgium, Colombia, Egypt, Gabon, Libya, Pakistan, Peru, Venezuela, and Zaire, with the usual list of subvariant designations and variations in kit. The Belgian aircraft were fitted with mostly US avionics, and Egyptian aircraft fitted with the MS2 attack avionics system from the Dassault-Dornier Alpha Jet.

In 1978 and 1980, Israel sold a total of 35 of their Neshers plus 4 Nesher trainer aircraft (Nesher Ts) to Argentina where they were locally known first as Daggers and after their last upgrade as Fingers. The Argentines lost two IIIEA and 11 Daggers during the Falklands War in 1982, and, as a measure of solidarity, the Peruvians transferred 10 their Mirage 5s to Argentina, under the name Mirage Mara to help make good their losses.

Chile incorporated some Mirage 5s under name Mirage Elkan.

A total of 582 Mirage 5s were built, including 51 Israeli Neshers.

Mirage 50

The Atar 09K-50 engine, however, was still a good idea, and fit of this engine led to the next Mirage variant, the Mirage 50, during the 1970s. The uprated engine gave the Mirage 50 better take-off and climb characteristics than its predecessors. While the Mirage 50 also incorporated new avionics, such as a Cyrano IV radar system, it did not prove popular in export sales, as the first-generation Mirage series was becoming obsolete.

Chile ordered a quantity of Mirage 50s, receiving both new production as well as updated Armée de l'Air Mirage 5s. The Chilean aircraft were later modernized along the lines of the IAI Kfir as the ENAER Pantera. The Pantera incorporates fixed canards and other aerodynamic improvements, as well as advanced avionics. These aircraft have an extended nose to accommodate some of the new systems.

In 1990, Dassault upgraded a batch of Venezuelan Mirage IIIEs and 5s to the Mirage 50 spec, with the upgrades designated Mirage 50M.

Mirage 5 ROSE

A PAF Mirage 5 sits on the flight-line while an F-16D taxies out in the background.

The Project ROSE (Retrofit Of Strike Element) was an upgrade programme launched by the Pakistan Air Force to upgrade old Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5 aircraft with modern avionics. In the first phases of the project, 33 ex-Australian Mirage III fighters were upgraded and designated ROSE I. The PAF then procured surplus Mirage 5F fighters in the late 1990s from the French Air Force in two batches. 20 fighters from the first batch were upgraded with new cockpits, navigation/attack suites, defensive aids systems and a forward-looking infra-red (FLIR) sensor under the aircraft's nose/cockpit, being designated ROSE II. The cockpits included new MFDs, HUDs, HOTAS controls, radar altimeters and RWRs.

14 Mirage 5F fighters from the second batch were upgraded similarly but with newer systems and designated ROSE III. The FLIR sensors allow the Mirage 5 ROSE fighters to specialise in the night-time attack role. As of 1995, the Mirage 5 has been donated to Pakistan Navy by the PAF and has been transformed into combat naval squadron as of 2009.


  • Mirage 5 : Single-seat radarless ground-attack fighter aircraft.
    • Mirage 5AD : Export version of Mirage 5 for Abu Dhabi, UAE; 12 built.[5]
    • Mirage 5EAD : Single-seat radar-equipped fighter-bomber version for Abu Dhabi, UAE. 14 built.[6]
    • Mirage 5BA : Single-seat version of the Mirage 5 for Belgium, fitted with mainly US avionics; 63 built, 62 under license by SABCA.[5]
    • Mirage 5COA : Export version of the Mirage 5 for Colombia. 14 built.[5] Remaining aircraft upgraged by IAI with canards and new avionics.[7]
    • Mirage 5D : Export single-seat ground attack aircraft of the Mirage 5 for Libya; 53 built.[5]
    • Mirage 5DE : Single-seat radar-equipped fighter-bomber version for Libya.
    • Mirage 5F : Single-seat ground-attack fighter aircraft for the French Air Force. 50 ex-Israeli Mirage 5Js.[8] Eight aircraft withdrawn for conversion to Mirage 50C for Chile, with eight new-build 5Fs built as replacements.[9]
    • Mirage 5G : Export version of the Mirage 5 for Gabon. Three built.[5]
    • Mirage 5G-2 : Four upgraded aircraft for Gabon, two of which were upgraded 5G and two undelivered ex-Zaire 5M.[10]
    • Mirage 5J : 50 aircraft were ordered by Israel, but the order was later embargoed by the French government. They were delivered instead to the French Air Force as the Mirage 5F.[8]
    • Mirage 5M : Export version of the Mirage 5 for Zaire;[5] 14 built, of which only 8 delivered to Zaire owing to funding shortages.[11]
    • Mirage 5MA Elkan : Upgraded Mirage 5BA aircraft sold to Chile.
    • Mirage 5P : Export version of the Mirage 5 for Peru; 22 built.[12]
    • Mirage 5P Mara : Upgraded Mirage 5P aircraft for Argentina.
    • Mirage 5P3 : Upgraded aircraft for Peru; 10 built.[12]
    • Mirage 5P4 : Upgraded aircraft for Peru; two built new plus upgraded older aircraft.[12]
    • Mirage 5PA : Single seat radarless version of the Mirage 5 for Pakistan. 28 built.[5]
    • Mirage 5PA2 : New build radar equipped aircraft for Pakistan, fitted with Cyrano IV radar. 28 built.[13]
    • Mirage 5PA3 : New build radar-equipped anti-shipping aircraft for Pakistan, fitted with an Agave radar for compatibility with Exocet anti-ship missile.[13]
    • Mirage 5SDE : Single-seat radar-equipped fighter-bomber version for Egypt, equivalent to Mirage IIIE; 54 built.[14]
    • Mirage 5E2 : Upgraded radarless attack version for Egypt. 16 built.[14]
    • Mirage 5V : Single seat ground attack aircraft 5 for Venezuela; six built. Survivors rebuilt to Mirage 50EV standard.[15]
  • Mirage 5R : Single-seat reconnaissance aircraft.
    • Mirage 5BR : Reconnaissance version of 5BA for Belgium; 27 built, 23 in Belgium.[16]
    • Mirage 5COR : Export version of the Mirage 5R for Colombia;[16] two built.[17]
    • Mirage 5DR : Export version of the Mirage 5R for Libya; 10 built.[18][19]
    • Mirage 5RAD : Export version of the Mirage 5R for Abu Dhabi, UAE; three built.[6]
    • Mirage 5SDR : Export version of the Mirage 5R for Egypt; six built.[14]
  • Mirage 5Dx : Two-seat training version.
    • Mirage 5BD : Two-seat trainer version of 5BA for Belgium; 16 built, 15 built locally.[20]
    • Mirage 5COD : Two seat trainer for Colombia. Two built.[20] Ugraded with canards and new avionics.[7]
    • Mirage 5DAD : Two-seat trainer for Abu Dhabi, UAE. Three built.[20]
    • Mirage 5DD : Two seat trainer for Libya; 15 built.[20]
    • Mirage 5DG : Two-seat trainer for Gabon; four built, two delivered 1978 and two in 1984.[10]
    • Mirage 5DM : Two seat trainer for Zaire; three built, all of which were delivered.[11]
    • Mirage 5DP : Two seat trainer for Peru; four delivered.[12]
    • Mirage 5DP3 : Updated trainer for Peru. Two new build plus upgrade of remaining 5DPs.[12]
    • Mirage 5DPA2 : Two seat trainer version of 5 for Pakistan; two built.[13]
    • Mirage 5MD Elkan : Upgraded Mirage 5BD aircraft sold to Chile.
    • Mirage 5SDD : Two seat trainer for Egypt; six built.[14]
  • Mirage 50 : Single-seat multi-role fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft, powered by more powerful 49.2 kN (11,055 lbf) dry, 70.6 kN (15,870 lbf) with reheat Atar 9K-50 engine. Available with or without radar.
    • Mirage 50C : New build radar equipped Mirage 50 for Chile; six built.[21]
    • Mirage 50FC : Eight re-engined Mirage 5F aircraft sold to Chile.[21]
    • Mirage 50DC : Two-seat training version for Chile. Three built, two with lower powered Atar 9C-3 engine.[21]
    • Mirage 50CN Pantera : Mirage 50C and 50FC aircraft upgraded by ENAER with help from the Israeli company IAI for Chile with canards, revised, Kfir style nose and new avionics; 13 50C and FC upgraded plus two 50DC trainers.[22]
    • Mirage 50EV : Upgraded Mirage 5V aircraft for Venezuela, with Atar 9K-50 engine, canards and updated avionics (including radar).[23] Six new-build aircraft, three upgraded ex-Zaire 5M, plus six upgraded remaining IIIEV and 5Vs.[15]
    • Mirage 50DV : Upgraded Mirage IIIDV/5DV aircraft for Venezuela, similar standard to 50EV.[23] One new build plus two upgrades.[15]


  •  United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi, retired and sold to Pakistan)
  •  Argentina (from Peru and IAI Nesher from Israel, scheduled to be retired in 2013/2014)
  •  Belgium (retired in 1993, 25 Mirage 5M Elkans sold to Chile[24])
  •  Chile (retired in 2006–2007)
  •  Colombia (retired)
  •  Ecuador (donated by Venezuela)
  •  Egypt
  •  France (retired)
  •  Gabon
  •  Israel (IAI Nesher, retired, some sold to Argentina)
  •  Libya (retired, sold to Pakistan[25])
  •  Pakistan (scheduled to be replaced with JF-17 in 2015, currently active with Pakistan Navy)
  •  Peru (12 remaining aircraft retired from inventory on 14 June 2008)[26]
  • United States (F-21A Kfir only)
  •  Venezuela (retired)
  •  Zaire (retired)

Specifications (Mirage 5F)

Data from Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft[27]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 15.55 m (51 ft 0¼ in)
  • Wingspan: 8.22 m (26 ft 11⅝ in)
  • Height: 4.50 m (14 ft 9 in)
  • Wing area: 35.00 m² (376.8 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 7,150 kg (15,763 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 13,700 kg (30,203 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × SNECMA Atar 09C turbojet
    • Dry thrust: 41.97 kN (9,436 lbf)
    • Thrust with afterburner: 60.80 kN (13,688 lbf)


  • Maximum speed: Mach 2.2[28] (2,350 km/h, 1,268 knots, 1,460 mph) at 12,000 m (39,400 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 956 km/h (516 knots, 594 mph)
  • Combat radius: 1,250 km (675 nmi, 777 mi)hi-lo-hi profile, payload two 400 kg bomb and max external fuel
  • Ferry range: 4,000 km[28](2,158 nmi, 2,485 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 m (59,055 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 186 m/s (36,600 ft/min)


See also



  1. Jackson 1985, pp. 32—34.
  2. Jackson 1985, p. 34.
  3. Cooper. Tom. "War of Attrition, 1969–1970".Wing Magazine via, 24 September 2003. Retrieved: 6 December 2010.
  4. Baker, Nigel and Tom Cooper. "Dassault Mirage III & Mirage 5/Nesher in Israeli Service." Wing Magazine via, 26 September 2003. Retrieved: 6 December 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 15, p. 101.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Jackson 1985, p.43.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 15, pp. 107—108.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 15, p. 100.
  9. Jackson 1985, p. 30.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 16, p. 108.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 16, p. 119.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 16, p. 112.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 16, p. 111.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 16, p. 98.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 16, p. 118.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 14, p.133.
  17. Jackson 1985, p. 51.
  18. Jackson 1985, p.53.
  19. Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 16, p. 110.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 14, p. 126.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 15, p. 104.
  22. Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 15, p. 116.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Jackson World Air Power Journal Volume 15, pp. 104, 106.
  24. Air International, December 1994, p. 322.
  25. "Air Force: Receipt of a Jet Aircraft squadron "Hawker Hunter"". Lebanese Army. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  26. Supreme Decree No. 010-2008-DE/FAP, 14 June 2008.
  27. Donald and Lake 1996, p. 129.
  28. 28.0 28.1 Taylor 1976, pp. 48—49.


  • Atlejees, Leephy. Armscor Film by Armscor, SABC and Leephy Atlejees. Public broadcast by SABC Television, 1972, rebroadcast: 1982, 1984.
  • Baker, Nigel and Tom Cooper. "Middle East Database: Dassault Mirage III & Mirage 5/Nesher in Israeli Service", Air Combat Information Group Journal (ACIG), 26 September 2003. Retrieved: 1 March 2009.
  • Breffort, Dominique and Andre Jouineau. "The Mirage III, 5, 50 and derivatives from 1955 to 2000." Planes and Pilots 6. Paris: Histoire et Collections, 2004. ISBN 2-913903-92-4.
  • "Cheetah: Fighter Technologies". Archimedes 12, June 1987.
  • Cooper, Tom. "Middle East Database: War of Attrition, 1969–1970.", Air Combat Information Group Journal (ACIG), 24 September 2003. Retrieved: 1 March 2009.
  • "The Designer of the B-1 Bomber's Airframe". Wings Magazine, Vol. 30/No 4, August 2000, p. 48.
  • Donald, David and Jon Lake, eds. Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. London: Aerospace Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-874023-95-6.
  • Donald, David and Jon Lake, eds. Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft. London: AIRtime Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-880588-24-2.
  • Green, William and Gordon Swanborough. The Complete Book of Fighters. New York: Smithmark Books, 1994, ISBN 0-8317-3939-8.
  • Jackson, Paul. Modern Combat Aircraft 23: Mirage. Shepperton, UK: Ian Allen, 1985. ISBN 0-7110-1512-0.
  • Jackson, Paul. "Mirage III/5/50 Variant Briefing: Part 1: Dassault's Delta". World Air Power Journal Volume 14, Autumn/Fall 1993, pp. 112–137. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-874023-32-8.
  • Jackson, Paul. "Mirage III/5/50 Variant Briefing: Part 2: Fives, Fifties, Foreigners and Facelifts". World Air Power Journal Volume 15, Winter 1993, pp. 100–119. London:Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-874023-34-4.
  • Jackson, Paul. "Mirage III/5/50 Variant Briefing: Part 3: The Operators". World Air Power Journal Volume 16, Spring 1994, pp. 90–119. London: Aerospace Publishing. ISBN 1-874023-36-0.
  • Lake, Jon. "Atlas Cheetah". World Air Power Journal 27, Winter 1966. pp. 42–53.
  • Pérez, San Emeterio Carlos. Mirage: Espejismo de la técnica y de la política. Madrid: Armas 30. Editorial San Martin, 1978. ISBN 84-7140-158-4.
  • Rogers, Mike. VTOL Military Research Aircraft. London: Foulis, 1989. ISBN 0-85429-675-1.
  • Taylor, John W.R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1976–77. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1976. ISBN 0-354-00538-3.

The initial version of this article was based on a public domain article from Greg Goebel's Vectorsite.

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