MIRAGE IV gallery

(Mirage IV-A image). After the acceptance of the Mirage IV 01 prototype, Dassault presented three proposals for the future supersonic bomber, designated as Mirage IV-A, IV-B and IV-C, with different dimensions and powerplants. Proposals B and C were rejected because they were too expensive, so the IV-A variant is the one that was finally put into production.
(Mirage IV-A image). In May 1959, an order was placed for 53 bombers and 27 reconnaissance and electronic aircraft that could serve as escorts for the bombers in certain missions. Finally, for financial reasons, only 62 Mirage IV were built. The last 12 bombers were delivered with improved flight controls and different avionics, improvements that would be applied later to all aircraft. This image shows one of the first Mirage IV-A taking off with the help of 12 solid-fuel rockets, for rocket-assisted take off (RATO).
(Mirage IV-A image). The Mirage IV-A had two SNECMA Atar turbojets that allowed speeds higher than Mach 2.2, but this was limited to this value due to temperature limitations in the airframe. These bombers carried 14,000 liters of fuel in internal tanks, but due to the high consumption of their engines, its combat radius was about 1,250 km, insufficient to go and return to the Soviet Union. This was the Mirage IV‘s major drawback, partially corrected with the addition of C-135F tankers aircraft or practicing the “buddy pack”. This practice consisted of a Mirage IV bomber with in-flight refueling equipment distributing fuel to their mission partners.
(Mirage IV-A image). The Mirage IV-A was developed to be able to launch the 60-70 Kt AN-11 nuclear bombs, which was later replaced by the AN-22 of the same yield fission warhead. This bomber could carry a single nuclear bomb in a space located under the engines. The navigation and bombing system (SNB) was controlled by an analog central computer that was connected to other devices such as the Doppler radar, the route calculator and a gyroscopic power station. This system controlled the automatic pilot or the automatic bomb launching on a predetermined target.
(Mirage IV-P image). Avionics were a fundamental part of this aircraft and most of the components were manufactured by Thomson-CSF. Among them were the navigational instrumentation, the bombing equipment and a ventral type bombing/navigation radar, located under the cockpit inside of a radome. They had another Marconi’s Doppler type radar and a SFENA’s automatic navigation system.
(Mirage IV-P image). This bomber carried two crew members, pilot and navigator, sitting in tandem separate cockpits. The pilot was ahead and was basically responsible for pilot but navigator was in charge of many functions. Among them he had to supervise the automatic navigation system, manage the bombing/navigation radar, control the ECMs and the radar alert. And finally, the most important of all, the launch of the bomb through a device of double key, the well-known “red button”.
(Mirage IV-P image). The 62 Mirage IV-A were deployed in three Bomber Wings, (91st, 92nd and 94th), each with three squadrons for a total of nine plus one for training. Each squadron had four aircraft, divided into two pairs, composed each pair by a bomber Mirage IV and another to refuel in flight to the previous one. Each squadron was placed on different airbases to avoid large losses in the event of an attack. From 1964 to 1971 these bombers were the only French force capable of carrying out a nuclear attack.
(Mirage IV-P image). In 1972, it was decided to equip 12 Mirage IV-A with the CT-52 container to carry out reconnaissance missions, being designated as Mirage IV-R. This device was installed on the place enabled for the nuclear bomb. The CT-52 had 4 Omera 35 cameras for low altitude missions and three Omera 36 plus a Wild RC-8F 152 vertical camera for high altitude missions. Omera 36 cameras could be exchanged for a Super SAT Cyclope (day/night) thermographic infrared set. The CT-52 covered a width 8 times greater than the flight altitude of the aircraft and the photographs were black and white.
(Mirage IV-P image). French strategy of dissuasion with the Mirage IV consisted of always having 36 operational aircraft. Twelve should be able to take off instantly, another twelve in the next 4 minutes, and the remaining twelve in a maximum period of 45 minutes. All bombers had to take off with operational nuclear bombs on board. Another 26 aircraft were in permanent reserve or maintenance, ready to replace those that were on alert. Initially two types of missions were contemplated for this aircraft. One consisted of flying at Mach 1.85 and bombarding targets located 3,500 km away from high altitude. The second type consisted of flying at 1,100 km/h and attacking at low altitude, (60 meters), closer targets
(Mirage IV-P image). Three types of attack missions against the USSR were planned if the time came. One consisted of flying over the Baltic Sea and attacking Leningrad, Moscow or Murmansk. The second plan envisaged overflying the Mediterranean Sea and the Bosphorus Strait and attacking the Ukrainian part of the USSR, Odessa or Sevastopol. And the third plan was to cross central Europe to attack objectives located in Eastern Europe, outside the USSR. This last plan was soon dismissed due to the limited chances of success having to face the numerous air defenses and interceptors before reaching the target.
(Mirage IV-P image). At the end of the 70s it was decided that “Force de Frappe” would be supported by land-based IRBM missiles and SSBN ballistic missile submarines. However, around 40 Mirage IV would remain active until the 1980s. In 1979, the development of the ASMP, (Air-Sol Moyenne Portée), cruise missile was initiated, since the free-fall nuclear bombs used until now had lost their effectiveness. The general reinforcement of the Warsaw Pact’s air defenses made the bombing missions unfeasible. The new missile had a 150 or 300 kitotons nuclear warhead and a range of 400 km if launched from high altitude, and were profusely tested by the Mirage IV from 1981 to 1983.
(Mirage IV-P image). In 1984 it was decided to convert 18 Mirage IV-A to the IV-P variant, with the ability to launch the ASMP missile. Various modifications and updates were made on the airframe as a new centerline pylon, that could house the CT-52 reconnaissance pod and the ASMP missile. New avionics and a new Thomson-CSF SERVAL ECMs equipment were also included, in adittion with a new flight control and new navigation system. Finally, the ventral radar was replaced by a new Thomson-CSF ARCANA Doppler radar. The Mirage IV-P remained as nuclear bombers until 1996, when they were replaced by the Mirage-2000N. Since then, only five Mirage IV-P remained in service for long-range reconnaissance missions, and they were removed from service in 2005.
(Mirage IV-P image). The Mirage IV performed numerous real reconnaissance missions during his long career. Between 1974 and 1986 they operated several times on Chad and in the summer of 1995 made flights over Bosnia. Later, between 1996 and 1998 they carried out missions on Yemen and Eritrea and in summer of 1998 they were in Iraq at the service of the UN. Then, in 1999 they were in Kosovo. During 2001 and 2002 they carried out some 80 missions over Afghanistan, and in 2003 they made support flights to the UN’s inspectors on Iraq in their search of mass destruction weapons.

Entradas relacionadas