Falcon Models FA725008 Israeli Air Force Dassault Mirage IIICJ Shahak Interceptor - Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, Tayeset 101 "First Fighter Squadron", Hatzor Air Base, Israel, 1969 (1:72 Scale)
"The one thing I cannot forgive the Arabs for is that they forced our sons to kill their sons."
- Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir
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 IIICJ Shahak Interceptor that was flown by Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, who was attached to Tayeset 101 "First Fighter Squadron", then deployed to Hatzor Air Base, Israel, during 1969.
Wingspan: 4-1/2 inches
Length: 8-1/4 inches
Release Date: January 2013
Historical Account: "Heaven Sent" - Born in 1944, Aluf Eitan Ben Eliyahu is a retired Major General in the Israel Defense Forces and was the Commander of the Israeli Air Force (IAF).
Eliyahu's father was born in Khorramshahr, Iran, and in 1922 immigrated to British-mandated Palestine; Eliyahu himself was born in Jerusalem in 1944. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Eliyahu shot down two Egyptian fighters as he led of a squadron of F-4 Phantoms, and in 1981 he flew as fighter escort during Operation Opera, which resulted in the destruction of Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor. Eliyahu served as commander of an F-15 squadron, a base commander, head of the Operational Requirements Division, and in 1987 was appointed Head of Operations for the IAF. On July 1st, 1996 Eliyahu, was promoted to Commander of the IAF. Over the course of his tenure Eliyahu focused on extending the range of IAF operations, especially with regard to Iran. As such, Eliyahu ordered 25 F-15I fighters, which had a longer range than Israel's previously purchased F-15s. Eliyahu stepped down as IAF commander on April 4th, 2000.