Dassault Mirage G8

The Dassault Mirage G, also known as the Mirage IIIG, was a variant of the French Dassault Mirage series of supersonic warplanes, but with a variable-sweep wing. Three prototypes were flown; one single-engined G and two twin-engined G8 examples (which had begun construction as the G4). Various roles, equipment fits and other variants were proposed, but none entered production.

In 1963 the French defence ministry initiated studies on variable-sweep wing aircraft for dual land and aircraft carrier use in response to the American TFX program (which would lead to the General Dynamics F-111).

Alongside the theoretical research undertaken by ONERA, Avions Marcel Dassault began studies of a Mirage variant. An early study was the Mirage F4G. In 1964 they proposed the model MD800 for a carrier-based two-seat, twin-engined Naval version to meet the DAFNE requirement. Alongside it they also proposed a smaller single-engined Mirage IIIF2G.

The UK was also studying the concept and in 1965 Dassault and the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) were jointly contracted to develop an Anglo-French Variable Geometry (AFVG) aircraft. This was to be of the heavier two-seat, twin-engined size. The partnership fell apart when Dassault withdrew over political wrangling in 1967.

Meanwhile the IIIF2G initiative had led to an order for the first Mirage G prototype, to be of single-seat, single-engined configuration. Its rollout in 1967, at much the same time as the larger AFVG was cancelled, led to accusations by the British that Dasault had been undermining them all along.

By this time the Mirage G4 had been proposed as a twin-engine, two-seat nuclear strike fighter. A contract was issued in 1968 for two new prototypes, G4-01 and -02. These were intended to be powered by Snecma M53 turbofans in production. However while they were under construction the requirements changed to a dedicated interceptor and the design was modified accordingly. They were completed in this form, now redesignated the Mirage G8.

Mirage G8-01 first flew on 8 May 1971. The second aircraft, G8-02, was finished as a single-seater, with the rear cockpit space adapted to take avionics, and faired over. It followed -01 into the air on 13 July 1972).

The G8 was equipped with Thomson-CSF radar and a low-altitude navigational-attack system based on that used in the SEPECAT Jaguar and Dassault Milan. As no funding was included for the Mirage G8 in the 1971-1976 French defence budget the aircraft did not enter production.

Flight trials were relatively successful but no production order ensued, the Mirage G programme being cancelled in 1968. Flying with the Mirage G continued however until 13 January 1971 when the sole prototype was lost in an accident.

Country: France

Manufacturer: Dassault Aviation

First flight: 18 November 1967

Production: 3

Length: 18.8 m (61 ft 8 in)

Wingspan: 15.4 m (50 ft 6 in)

Height: 5.35 m (17 ft 7 in)

Crew: 1

Powerplant: 2 × SNECMA Atar 9K50

Maximum speed: Mach 2.2 (2,336 km/h)

Range: 3,850 km (2,390 mi, 2,080 nmi)

Service ceiling: 18,500 m (60,700 ft)

Weight: 14,740 kg (32,496 lb)

Bourget Museum (ParisFrance)

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