Mirage 50CN - Chilean Modification

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Mirage 50CN


The Mirage 50 is the successor to the well-known Mirage 5 but was not its replacement. This aircraft had the more powerful and better performing Snecma Atar 9K-50 engine than the Atar 9C, the Mirage 50 owes its name to this more powerful engine. Only a total of 24 units were produced or modified, with Chile and Venezuela being the only customers. Chile was the first customer to buy this new model with a total of 16 aircraft in different versions (50C, 50FC, 50DC) but we will only focus on the Mirage 50C (Chilean) variant.


Mirage 50C No. 510 at Bordeaux, on 15 April 1982, before being dismantled and shipped to Chile

Due to the Kennedy amendment given by the United States, Chile could not continue with the maintenance of its A-37B Dragonfly and F-5 Tiger II, for this reason a purchase study was initiated in France, highlighting the Mirage 50 that presented advantages compared to the Mirage of Argentina and Peru, mainly in its more powerful engine. in addition, the documentation stated that the Mirage 50 had better performance than the Mirage 5 in the following points: 15% to 20% improvement in take-off run, an additional 1,900 pounds of take-off weight (approximately 900 kg), an additional 140 km of range of action and a 35% improvement in riding time. It is also important to note that the Mirage 50C carried the Agave Radar with a range of 25 km and a 140° sweep.


Mirage 50C cockpit rendering


Due to the Beagle crisis in 1978 that would put Chile and Argentina on the verge of war, the latter country began a process of purchases initially acquiring in Israel 26 improved IAI Nesher called Dagger, this fact made Chile accelerate the process of purchases in France, that is how in 1980 8 Mirage 50FC (French-Chilean) arrived in Chile that were Mirage 5F repowered with the Atar 9K-50. Later, in 1982, 6 Mirage 50C arrived in Chile (Numbered from 509 to 514), which were totally new from the factory and carried the Agave radar, and 2 Mirage 50DC trainers. Throughout this period, these new aircraft were deployed throughout the country in the face of the war threat from Argentina that would end with the British victory in the Falkland Islands and in 1984 Argentina recognizing Chilean sovereignty over the islands Picton, Nueva and Lennox.


The Mirage 50C No. 513 as a platform for Cardoen bombs

As far as armaments are concerned, the original contract with France did not budget for the purchase of armaments, so the Chilean Mirages were armed with national bombs manufactured by Cardoen industries, which included general purpose bombs and devastating cluster bombs, at the level of air-to-air missiles they once again relied on the Israeli Shafrir II missile, which had been integrated into the FACH’s inventory in 1977. Supplementary tanks were also integrated into different models (RP30, RP6-III, RP18 R, RPK-17).

The modernized Mirage No. 514 is prepared for a test flight in June 1986

Once the conflict with Argentina was over, a study was initiated to improve Chile’s Mirage 50 fleet, thus initiating the first modernization program called the Bracket project developed by Enaer under the advice and support of Israel Aircraft Industries. To carry out this modernization, the Mirage 50C series 514 was used, which incorporated vortex generator fillets after the aircraft’s radar cone, Canard fins and installing an autochthonous RWR (Radar Warning Receiver) called Caiquén on the tail of the plane, Caiquén was the development destined to alert the pilots of the emission of enemy radars, being this device capable of identifying if the signal of a radar came from a surveillance, acquisition or fire control equipment, both terrestrial and aerial. The system had a weight that did not exceed 10 kg having a coverage of 360º in azimuth and +/- 40º in elevation. Once this modernization was completed, the Mirage 514 series was presented at FIDA 1986 with the new name of Mirage 50CN. Due to the success of this modernization, it was decided to replicate it in the other Mirage 50s but this time under the Pantera program that added this and other improvements, all with the help of Israel and that would finally lead to the birth of the Mirage Pantera, but that is another story.


Description of a Russian publication pointing out some features of the modernized Mirage 50C, including the RWR Caiquén


Modified cone of the Mirage 50C No. 514, with the new vortex generator fillets


The No. 514 Mirage 50C, using modifications from the Bracket program in 1986

The modernized Mirage 50C is presented at FIDA 1986 as the Mirage 50CN


  • Crew:
    • 1
  • Armament:
    • Primary: 2x 30mm DEFA 552A internal cannons
    • Secondary: hardpoint mountings 7 support 4,000 kg:
      • Bombs: Cardoen GP Bombs (Mk 81, 82, 83, 84), Cardoen Cluster Bombs (CB-130, CB-500, CB-250-K, CB-500-K), Snake-eye bombs
      • Rockets: 68mm SNEB rocket pods
      • Missiles: 2x Shafrir 2
    • Additional systems: Agave radar, vortex generating fillets, Canard fins, RWR (Caiquen).
  • Dimensions:
    • Lenght: 15.5 m
    • Wingspan: 8.22 m
    • Height: 4.50 m
    • Empty weight: 7,150 kg
    • Weight maximum take-off: 13,700 kg
  • Performance:
    • Powerplant: Atar 9K-50 that provides 5,000 kg Normal thrust, 7,200 kg. thrust at full power
    • Maximum speed: 2350 km/h
    • Service Ceiling: 18000 m
    • Range: 4000 km
    • Rate of climb: 186 m/s

CARDOEN GP BOMBS (general purpose)









Huge +1 from me, always a fan of more Mirage variants
This one especially, since I didn’t actually know it was separate from the Pantera. I actually think I really like this one looks-wise lol

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This is the intermediate version that only one of the Mirage 50C had, later all the Mirage 50C and 50FC became 50CN Pantera, this would be the Chilean equivalent of the Kfir Canard haha