Mirage IIIBS: Export version of the Mirage IIIB for the Swiss Air Force; only four built.
The Dassault Mirage III is a family of single/dual-seat, single-engine, fighter aircraft developed and manufactured by French aircraft company Dassault Aviation. It was the first Western European combat aircraft to exceed Mach 2 in horizontal flight, a feat which was achieved on 24 October 1958.
In 1952, the French government issued its specification, calling for a lightweight, all-weather interceptor. Amongst the respondents were Dassault with their design, initially known as the Mirage I. Following favourable flight testing held over the course of 1954, in which speeds of up to Mach 1.6 were attained, it was decided that a larger follow-on aircraft would be required to bear the necessary equipment and payloads.
An enlarged Mirage II proposal was considered, as well as MD 610 Cavalier (3 versions), but was discarded in favour of a further-developed design, powered by the newly developed Snecma Atar afterburning turbojet engine, designated as the Mirage III.
In October 1960, the first major production model, designated as the Mirage IIIC, performed its maiden flight.
Initial operational deliveries of this model commenced in July 1961; a total of 95 Mirage IIICs were obtained by the French Air Force (Armée de l’Air, AdA).
The Mirage IIIC was rapidly followed by numerous other variants.