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French fighter aircraft 1945-60

Written by Sakhal

During the operations in Suez, with the corresponding advance by Israelian forces through the Sinai, occupied by the Egyptians, was when the turbojet fighters of French manufacture entered combat for the first time. When the war ended in Europe, French aeronautical industry was in ruins with their factories destroyed or dismantled and their projectists dispersed. During the first years of the postwar, the French Air Force had no more remedy than using foreign turbojet fighters - such as the De Havilland Vampire - for their first line units. But, the 28th February 1949, the company Avions Marcel Dassault put in flight the prototype of an austere turbojet fighter, a project of private initiative (Dassault was the only private aeronautical constructor in France) that had been started in November 1947. Propelled by a turbojet engine Rolls-Royce Nene 102 with centrifugal compressor, produced under licence by Hispano-Suiza, the Dassault MD 450 Ouragan was the first French turbojet fighter produced in significative quantity; from 1952, were delivered to the French Air Force around 350 series aircraft. The Ouragan was exported to India, where it was called Toofani, and to Israel, who received 75 aircraft. Albeit the Ouragan was inferior to the MiG-15, which was then the main turbojet fighter in service with the Egyptian Air Force, it was a good aircraft for ground strike missions, leaving to another French aircraft, the Dassault MD 452 Mystere IV, one of the best combat aircraft of its time, the task to handle the MiG-15. The immediate predecessor of the MD 452 Mystere IV had been the MD 452 Mystere IIC, a version of the Ouragan with angled wings, that had flown for the first time the 23rd February 1951. About 150 of these aircraft served with the French Air Force; Israel had plans to buy some in 1954-55 but, in view of their flight record, decided to buy the Mystere IV instead.

French fighter aircraft 1945-60

Dassault MD 450 Ouragan from the 1st Squadron Group, II/4 Squadron "Lafayette". Propulsion plant: one Rolls-Royce Nene of 2265 kilograms of thrust; maximum speed: 978 kilometers/hour; wingspan: 12 meters; length: 10.71 meters; weight: 5900 kilograms; armament: four 20-millimeter cannons.

French fighter aircraft 1945-60

The Dassault MD 450 Ouragan, first modern fighter-bomber of French origin, realized an excellent work in the Israeli Air Force, who had 75 of them in the war of 1956.

French fighter aircraft 1945-60

Dassault MD 452 Mystere from the 101st Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, during 1956-61.

Albeit developed from the Mystere IIC, the Mystere IV was actually a new model. The prototype Mystere IVA flew for the first time the 28th September 1952; the first trials were so promising that, six months later, in April 1953, the French government made an order of 325 series aircraft. This fighter was sold to India as well; in April 1956, the Israeli bought the first of a series of 60 units. The production of the Mystere IVA finished in 1958, with the aircraft number 421. There was only one other variant of the Mystere IV: the Mystere IVB, equipped with a turbojet engine Rolls- Royce RA7R with afterburner, which was the first French aircraft that surpassed Mach 1 in horizontal flight. It served as testing bench for the next fighter by Dassault, the Super Mystere B-2. This supersonic successor to the Mystere IVA had thinner wings with sharper angle, improved air intake and a modified canopy. It flew for the first time the 2nd March 1955, with the engine Avon RA7R; in its fourth flight it surpassed Mach 1 in horizontal flight. In total, 180 aircraft Super Mystere were produced; with this aircraft were equipped two fighter squadrons of the French Air Force and two interceptor squadrons in the Israeli Air Force. In both cases it would be replaced by another aircraft that would become one of the biggest successes in the design of combat aircraft in the postwar: the Dassault Mirage III, a delta-wing fighter capable of reaching Mach 2, that had its origin in the Dassault MK 550 Mirage I from 1954. This aircraft had resulted too small to carry an effective weapons system because its two turbojet engines Armstrong Siddeley Viper gave insufficient propulsion power. Its structure was remodeled, enlarging it and installing the powerful engine SNECMA Atar G1; with this new configuration the new Mirage effectuated its first flight the 17th November 1956. The 30th January 1957 it surpassed Mach 1.5 in horizontal flight and equipped with an auxiliary rocket engine it reached Mach 1.9. The first series version was the Mirage IIIC, which at an altitude of 15240 meters was able to reach 2.2 Mach in horizontal flight. The French Air Force ordered 100 aircraft Mirage IIIC; Israel ordered 72, without the auxiliary engine nor air-to-air missiles, being denominated as Mirage IIICJ. The Mirage IIIE was a long-range tactical strike version that was very exported, serving in several air forces apart from the French Air Force. In Australia it was produced under licence a variant called Mirage IIIO.

French fighter aircraft 1945-60

Dassault Mirage IIICJ from the 119th Squadron of the Israeli Air Force, during 1962-69.

Specifications for Mystere IVA

Type: Fighter-bomber

Propulsion plant: One Hispano-Suiza 250A (Rolls-Royce Tay built under licence) of 2850 kilograms of thrust

Maximum speed: 1120 kilometers/hour

Weight (empty): 5875 kilograms

Weight (maximum): 9500 kilograms

Wingspan: 11.10 meters

Length: 12.90 meters

Height: 4.40 meters

Armament: Two DEFA 30-millimeter cannons; up to 907 kilograms of bombs, unguided rockets or missiles

Specifications for Mirage IIICJ

Type: Strike/fighter aircraft

Propulsion plant: One SNECMA Atar 9B of 6400 kilograms of thrust

Maximum speed: 2230 kilometers/hour

Weight (empty): 7050 kilograms

Weight (maximum): 13500 kilograms

Wingspan: 8.22 meters

Length: 14.77 meters

Height: 4.25 meters

Armament: Two DEFA 30-millimeter cannons; up to 1360 kilograms of bombs, unguided rockets or missiles

Categories: Aviation - Cold War - 20th Century - [General] - [General]


Website: Military History

Article submitted: 2014-12-04

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