- Yes, don’t care how
- Yes, as a researchable vehicle
- Yes, as a premium/event/squadron vehicle
Hello everyone, I’m back with another suggestion for a French aircraft, the Mirage III EX.
The Mirage III EX is a result of the Mirage NG program. This was a program to develop a highly competitive aircraft based on the pre-existing Mirage III/5/50 series of aircraft, this resulted in 2 aircraft, one being the previously suggested Mirage NG. The second result was the Mirage III EX, this vehicle was first known as NG 02, but very quickly got rebranded to Mirage III EX. This specific model was built on top of a Mirage IIIE and received a bunch of interesting upgrades, resulting in a much more capable airframe. First of all, the original engine was replaced by the much more powerful Atar 09K-50 (the engine from the Mirage F1) which provided 5000kgf of thrust without afterburner and 7200kgf with (unsure if that’s static thrust or not). This vastly improved performance of the aircraft, time needed to climb to 40.000 feet was cut from 8.2mins to 4.8mins, takeoff run was reduced by 10% to 20%. The Cyrano II radar from the Mirage IIIE was replaced by the Cyrano IV (also from the Mirage F1). Avionics were also completely upgraded, the aircraft received the full suite of the Mirage F1. On top of all that there was also the addition of fixed canards just behind the air intakes as well as some sort of strake under the cockpit, this shortened the takeoff run of the aircraft and improved general low-speed maneuverability. An in-flight refueling probe was also added. Unlike the NG 01 however, the aircraft did not receive the delta wing apex extensions or the fly-by-wire system. The aircraft first flew on April 8th 1988 from Biarritz-Parme with Jean Pus at the controls. While the Mirage III NG turned out to be a flop on the export market, the IIIEX did have some limited success, being bought by both Brazil and Venezuela (though their versions were slightly different). This version marks the final development of the Mirage III/5/50 series of aircraft that was still designed by France. After its service as demo aircraft was completed, it was gifted to the Musée Européen de l’aviation de chasse in Montelimar, where it still resides as an exhibit piece today.
As far as equipment goes, the aircraft is able to carry anything that the Mirage IIIs and 5s in French service were able to carry. Theoretically speaking the Cyrano IV also allowed the aircraft to fire the Super 530F that the Mirage F1 carried, but as far as we know, that was never done in practice. More realistically the aircraft would carry the R530 and R530E (though they were badly dated at this point), R550 magic and possibly magic II. It also had access to the RPK bomb adapters that were introduced on the Mirage 5F, these allowed the mid wing hardpoint to carry up to 4 bombs of 250kg.
In game this aircraft would be very similar to the aforementioned Mirage IIING but still a bit different, after all, this upgrade is actually less significant than the former. The IIIEX would have vastly improved performance over the Mirage IIIs that we have in game right now, but would be slightly worse than the IIING with its fly-by-wire and apex extensions. However, given that the IIIEX actually achieved success on the export market, I think we can consider it to be ever so slightly more significant historically speaking. It should also allow for one of the models to be used as a premium/event vehicle while the other can serve as tech tree vehicle, which should keep everyone happy.
Maximum takeoff weight: 13.700kg
Wing area: 34,85 m^2
Engine: Atar 09K-50 (5000kgf - 7200kgf)
Radar: Cyrano IV
Cannons: 2x 30mm DEFA cannons
- 2x R550 magic (and likely magic II as well, given its introduction in 1986)
- 1x R530(E)
- (theoretical) 1x Super 530F
The Mirage IIIEX could carry the bomb adaptors that we know from the Mirage 5F which allowed 2 of the wing hardpoints to carry up to 4 250kg bombs. Final result can go up to 12x 250kg bombs + 2x 125kg bombs
- 1x AS37 Martel
- 1x AM39 Exocet