Mirage F1A: The Attacker F1

[Would you like to see this in-game?]
  • Yes, don’t care how
  • Yes, as a researchable vehicle
  • Yes, as a premium/event/squadron vehicle
  • No

0 voters

Hi again, time for another Mirage suggestion! This time it’s gonna be for the Mirage F1A. An aircraft designed and built by Dassault in France, but never actually used by them. For this reason we’ll only be looking at the prototype in France here.

Mirage_F1A_2.jpg
A Mirage F1A intended for South-Africa during its acceptance trials in France. Note the absence of any roundels.

What this aircraft essentially is, is what the Mirage 5F was to the Mirage III. A version that threw out the heavy and expensive avionics that were required for air-to-air missions and focused on ground attack instead. The story of the aircraft begins very early on in the development of the Mirage F1. South Africa quickly showed interest in the F1C as France was developing for itself, however they also wanted a version more suited to daylight ground attack missions. As a result of this demand, the F1A was born. The first sight of what would be the F1A can already be seen in the prototype stage of the F1. Prototype 03 already featured some of the changes that would eventually be seen on the SA F1AZs. The Mirage F1As were fitted with the lightweight EMD AIDA 2 ranging radar rather than the Cyrano IV that was found on other variants, it also featured a laser rangefinder under nose, retractable refueling probe and more fuel.

pageF1A.jpg.3878809cd4da7456db7a466480d7

The aircraft was quite heavily used by South-African forces in the border war against Angola. In the last 7 months of the war alone, 683 combat missions are said to have been flown by the F1AZs, dropping a grand total of 3068 bombs on enemy targets. The South-Africans ended up making a rather large amount of modifications to there aircraft that were significantly improved the viability of the aircraft as time went on, but since they do not apply to the prototypes as they were flown in France, I shall not discuss them here, a follow up post on the South-African Mirage F1AZ will come eventually though.

After South-Africa, an other customer for the Mirage F1A arose, this customer was Libya. They bought 16 A models which were designated as F1AD for export to Libya. These aircraft too were used in combat service, taking part in the war against Chad in 1980s and being used again during the civil war in 2011. During the 1980s campaign, the Mirages were very highly regarded by Libyan forces and were usually staffed by the most experienced pilots their air force had to offer.

mirage_f1-az-216_pdc.JPG
Mirage F1AZ during its acceptance trials in France, already carrying the SA roundels.

Given its use by a rather decent variety of nations none of which have an air force in game and the presence of prototypes that flew in France with French pilots for testing, I figured it is a suggestion worth making here. The aircraft could definitely add something unique to the French tree as it is rather different from any of the F1s that we have in game right now.

While I don’t know the exact specifications of the F1A compared to the F1C, I can only estimate that they would be quite close. The F1A possibly having slightly better flight performance due to the lower weight.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 15.3 m
  • Wingspan: 8.4 m
  • Height: 4.5 m
  • Wing area: 25 m2
  • Empty weight: 7,400 kg (F1C, the weight of the F1A would likely by slightly lower)
  • Max takeoff weight: 16,200 kg (F1C, the weight of the F1A would likely by slightly lower)
  • Powerplant: 1 × SNECMA Atar 9K-50 afterburning turbojet engine 7200kgf thrust on afterburner
  • RWR: Yes
  • Radar: Aïda 2 ranging radar only.
  • Flares: no
  • Chaff: no
  • CCIP: Yes
  • CCRP: Yes

Armament

Air-to-air armament

  • 2x 30mm DEFA cannons with 150 rounds each
  • 2x R550 Magic I (wingtip pylons)

Air-to-Ground armament:

  • Up to 14x 250kg unguided bombs. (4x on centerline + 4x on under wing pylon)
  • Up to 6x 400kg SAMP bombs (4x on centerline + 1x on outer under wing pylon)
  • Up to 4x Matra 155 rocket pods (2x on each wing)
  • 1x AS-30 (under fuselage)
  • 3x Beluga cluster bombs

Place in-game
The Mirage F1A prototype can come to the French tree as a unique version of the Mirage F1. In my opinion it is best suited as an event, premium or squadron vehicle given that it was never employed by the French. However, its unique role as an attacker F1 makes it an interesting and desirable vehicle. It compares to the Mirage F1C in a similar way that the Mirage 5F does to the Mirage IIIC. As such it can probably sit at a lower br that the Mirage F1C, something that seems obvious given the lack of radar guided a2a weapons on the F1A. At a lower BR it can be efficient to take as a CAS option in ground games. It would be especially nice to have if it was a premium vehicle, since France lacks a premium CAS option after the removal of the Milan.

Sources

Dassault Mirage F1

Mirage F1 in SAAF Service by Paul Dubois

Looking for SAAF Mirage F.1 info - Aircraft Cold War - Britmodeller.com

https://www.dassault-aviation.com/fr/passion/avions/dassault-militaires/mirage-f1/

Mirage F1A maybe 2nd premium pack pre-order at rank 6 for france tree ?

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