Falcon Models FA725010 RAAF Dassault Mirage III-O Interceptor - No. 75 Squadron, RAAF Base Williamtown, 1960s (1:72 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
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 June 25th, 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 a Royal Australian Air Force Dassault Mirage III-O Interceptor that was attached to No. 75 Squadron.
Wingspan: 4-1/2 inches
Length: 8-1/4 inches
Release Date: March 2013
Historical Account: "Down Under" - No. 75 Squadron was reestablished at Williamtown in April 1955. It was initially equipped with Vampires and Gloster Meteor fighters, but these were replaced with CAC Sabre aircraft in early 1957. While operating Sabres the squadron made a number of deployments to Darwin for air defence exercises which often involved RAF units. On December 8th, 1958, No. 75 Squadron transferred from No. 78 Wing to become an independent unit under the direct command of RAAF Base Williamtown. In November 1964 several of the squadron's pilots took part in an emergency deployment to Darwin when an Indonesian attack was feared as part of an apparent escalation of the IndonesiaMalaysia confrontation.
The squadron became the first Australian fighter unit to be equipped with Dassault Mirage III fighters in December 1964 and was declared operational with these aircraft on August 1st, 1967. It subsequently maintained a detachment of Mirages at Darwin from May 2nd, 1966, until early 1967. Following a period of training No. 75 Squadron transferred to RAAF Base Butterworth in Malaysia during May 1967. From this base the squadron took part in regular exercises with the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) and occasional exercises involving the RAF. No. 75 Squadron also trained with the United States Air Force and United States Navy on occasion, including the large-scale Cope Thunder series of exercises during which it deployed to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Throughout its period based at Butterworth No. 75 Squadron deployed detachments of six Mirages to Tengah Air Base in Singapore on a rotational basis with No. 3 Squadron RAAF, with this responsibility swapping between the two units every three months.