Falcon Models FA726004 South African Air Force Dassault Mirage F1CZ Interceptor - No. 3 Squadron, Waterkloof AFB, South Africa, 1970s (1:72 Scale)
Hobby Master HA8002 South African Air Force Hawker Fury Mk. I Fighter - "206," October 1940 (1:48 Scale)
"Per Aspera Ad Astra."
- Motto of the South African National Defense Force
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 a South African AIr Force Dassault Mirage F1CZ Interceptor that was attached to No. 3 Squadron during the 1970s.
Wingspan: 4-1/2 inches
Length: 8-1/4 inches
Release Date: March 2013
Historical Account: "Always Fighting" - South Africa's No. 3 squadron was involved in fighting in East Africa flying Hurricanes and Gladiator Mk IIs, In December 1942, the squadron was sent to the Middle East and flew fighter defense over the port of Aden with Hurricane 11c and Spitfire V aircraft, coastal patrols were also flown from North Africa. In August 1944, 3 Squadron was sent to Italy and was re-equipped with Spitfire IXs. The squadron was disbanded following the end of the Second War War.
Three Squadron was again reformed at Baragwanath Airport on September 6th, 1952, as a part-time citizen force unit flying Harvards, but disbanded once again in 1957. In August 1966, the squadron was reformed at AFB Waterkloof as a unit under the control of 2 Squadron, equipped with Mirage IIIEZs.
In February 1970, the unit received squadron colors and in the same year, was supplied with Mirage IIIDZ's and Mirage F1CZ's in April 1975 when its Mirage IIIEZ, DZ and D2Z aircraft were transferred to 85 Advanced Flying School. The squadron continued to operate the Mirage F1CZ from Waterkloof AFB with frequent deployments to Namibia during the Border War. Three Squadron was disbanded when the Mirage F1CZs were retired on September 30th, 1992.