Falcon Models FA725002 Israeli Air Force Dassault Mirage IIIC-IJ Shahak Interceptor - Colonel Giora "Hawkeye" Epstein, Tayeset 101 "First Fighter Squadron", Six Day War, June 6th, 1967 (1:72 Scale)
"We turned and got near. Straight off, we saw a large number of MiGs and four to six Mirages in a dogfight. I made out a pair and sprinted towards them immediately. I fired a missile which reached the target and exploded, but failed to light up the MiG, which continued flying, trailing a plume of white smoke and a stream of fuel. I regretted having to waste my time on a stricken MiG. I cut him off and closed in for cannon attack. When I was 500 meters away from him, the pilot seemed to understand he was wasting his time - and would be wasting his life - and ejected. I said 'thank you' to him on the radio, and immediately turned towards another MiG that was passing in the vicinity."
- Colonel Giora "Hawkeye" Epstein, October 1973
The Mirage III family grew out of French government studies begun in 1952 that led in early 1953 to a specification for a lightweight, all-weather interceptor capable of climbing to 18,000 m (59,040 ft) in six minutes and able to reach Mach 1.3 in level flight.
Dassault's response to the specification was the Mystere-Delta 550, a sporty-looking little jet that was to be powered by twin Armstrong Siddeley MD30R Viper afterburning turbojets, each with thrust of 9.61 kN (2,160 lbf). A SEPR liquid-fuel rocket motor was to provide additional burst thrust of 14.7 kN (3,300 lbf). The aircraft had a tailless delta configuration, with a 5% chord (ratio of airfoil thickness to length) and 60 degree sweep.
The tailless delta configuration has a number of limitations. The lack of a horizontal stabilizer means flaps cannot be used, resulting in a long take-off run and a high landing speed. The delta wing itself limits maneuverability; and suffers from buffeting at low altitude, due to the large wing area and resulting low wing loading. However, the delta is a simple and pleasing design, easily built and robust, capable of high speed in a straight line, and with plenty of space in the wing for fuel storage.
The first prototype of the Mystere-Delta, without afterburning engine or rocket motor and an absurdly large vertical tailfin, flew on 25 June 1955. After some redesign, reduction of the tailfin to more rational size, installation of afterburners and rocket motor, and renaming to Mirage I, the prototype attained Mach 1.3 in level flight without the rocket, and Mach 1.6 with the rocket lit in late 1955.
However, the small size of the Mirage I restricted its armament to a single air-to-air missile, and even before this time it had been prudently decided the aircraft was simply too tiny to carry a useful warload. After trials, the Mirage I prototype was eventually scrapped.
Dassault then considered a somewhat bigger version, the Mirage II, with a pair of Turbomeca Gabizo turbojets, but no aircraft of this configuration was ever built. The Mirage II was bypassed for a much more ambitious design that was 30% heavier than the Mirage I and was powered by the new SNECMA Atar afterburning turbojet with thrust of 43.2 kN (9,700 lbf). The Atar was an axial flow turbojet, derived from the German World War II BMW 003 design.
The new fighter design was named the Mirage III. It incorporated the new area ruling concept, where changes to the cross section of an aircraft were made as gradual as possible, resulting in the famous "wasp waist" configuration of many supersonic fighters. Like the Mirage I, the Mirage III had provision for a SEPR rocket engine.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of an Israeli Air Force Dassault Mirage IIIC-IJ Shahak Interceptor that was attached to the 101st Tayeset and piloted by Colonel Giora Epstein.
Wingspan: 4-1/2 inches
Length: 8-1/4 inches
Release Date: February 2012
Historical Account: "Ace of Aces" - Colonel Giora "Hawkeye" Epstein, today Giora Even, is a retired colonel in the Israeli Air Force (IAF) and a jet-to-jet fighter ace, credited with 17 kills, 16 of which were against Egyptian jets, making Epstein the Ace of Aces of modern, supersonic fighter jets. Epstein is also the "ace of aces" of the Israeli Air Force. Epstein was an active IAF pilot from 1963 until 1997, when he retired at age 59. He, like many retired IAF fliers, is currently a captain for El-Al airlines.