Mirage IIICJ by Eduard

1/48 scale
Kit No. 8102
Cost: $30.00
Decals: Five versions – all Israeli Air Force
Comments: Engraved panel lines, detailed cockpit, photo-etch details, paint masks included

History

The Israeli Air Force (Heyl Ha’Avir) closely followed the development of the Dassault Mirage III, even before it entered service with the French Armee de l’Air in October 1960. As a private company eager to promote its products, Dassault had invited IAF personnel to visit its plant and fly the new aircraft. When the MiG-21 appeared in Arab inventories, Israel placed its first order for the Mirage in 1959. While French Mirages were designed to intercept high flying bombers, the Israeli requirement was for a tactical fighter interceptor. This led directly to the development of the Mirage IIICJ.

The IIICJ was developed from the first major production model, the Mirage IIIC, which first flew in October 1960. The IIIC was largely similar to the IIIA, being less than a half meter longer and having a full operational fit. The IIIC was a single-seat interceptor, with an Atar 09B turbojet engine, featuring an eyelid type variable exhaust. The Mirage IIIC was armed with twin 30 mm DEFA cannon fitted in the belly with the gun ports under the air intakes. Early Mirage IIIC production had three stores pylons, one under the fuselage and one under each wing; another outboard pylon was soon added to each wing, for a total of five, excluding a sleek supersonic tank, which when not carried enhanced the Mirage’s bomb carrying capacity.

The outboard pylon was intended to carry an AIM-9B Sidewinder air-to-air missile, later replaced by the Matra R550 Magic, and also was armed with the radar guided Matra R530 Missile on the center line pylon.

Israeli Mirages carried more fuel tanks instead of the takeoff rocket installed in French Mirages, in addition to the two 30mm DEFA cannon. Israel’s initial order for 24 aircraft was increased in 1961 to 72 Mirages. The first IAF Mirages arrived in Hazor AFB on April 7, 1962 and entered service with the 101st Fighter Squadron. In June 1962, the 117th Fighter Squadron at Ramat-David became the second IAF squadron to operate the Mirage and in March 1964 the 119th “Atalef” (Bat) squadron at Tel-Nof begun receiving its aircraft.

The three squadrons also operated the double seated variant of the Mirage, the IIIB, which differed from the IIICs by having its interception radar removed. The first IIIBs arrived in Israel in 1966. Israel also received two photo reconnaissance (PR) Mirage IIICJ(R)s which entered service with the “Atalef” squadron. As Israel begun fabricating its own PR installations as interchangeable camera noses, 4 or more IIICJs were modified to supplement the IIICJ(R)s.

Israel first used the Mirage (in Israel, the “Shahak”} in combat with devastating results in Operation “Moked” (Focus), in the opening strikes of the 1967 Six Day War. Early on the morning of June 5th, the Heyl Ha’Avir sent the bulk of its fighter, attack and jet trainer aircraft in a pre-emptive attack against airfields and other targets in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon. The Mirage IIICJs were the spearhead, decimating Arab air forces, and completely overwhelming the few enemy aircraft that survived to challenge the IDF. Most aircraft were destroyed on the ground. The waves were composed of several formations of threes and fours. The Shahak equipped units were also earmarked for protection of the airspace over Israel.

Dassault could not have asked for a more effective advertisement. Dassault’s Mirage managed to corner a major share of the world wide market for first-generation Mach 2 fighters, obtaining the kind of export success eluded by the British Electric Lighting or the Lockheed Starfighter. The name “Mirage” had become synonymous with “advanced fighter” and nation after nation placed orders for the type.

By the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War on October 6, 1973, attrition had worn the Mirage fleet down to 40 examples. Two IAF squadrons were equipped with the Mirage during the war: the 101st and 117th Fighter Squadrons, which also operated the IAI Nesher. Operated as a dedicated air superiority fighter, the Mirage enjoyed great success during the war, scoring numerous kills. The IAF continued to operate the Mirage until 1982, by which time newer aircraft including the American F-4 and F-15 Eagle had been added to the Heyl Ha’Avir inventory.

Specifications: Dassault Mirage IIICJ

Type: single seat interceptor and gound attack fighter
Powerplant: SNECMA Atar 9C afterburning turbojet
Performance: Maximum speed – Mach 2.2; Service Ceiling – 17,000m; Range – 1,350km
Weights: Empty – 5,915kg; Maximum Takeoff – 12,700kg
Dimensions: Wingspan – 8.22 meters; Length – 14.75 meters; Height – 4.25 meters
Armament: Two 30mm DEFA cannons plus up to 2,268kg of ordnance carried on one underfuselage and 4 underwing hardpoints

The Kit

Eduard’s Mirage IIICJ is injection molded in dark grey and consists of 170 parts. The kit is highly detailed with engraved panel lines, and a detailed cockpit including photo-etch parts for the seat straps and overhead loops for the shroud of the ejection seat. There are decals for the main and side instrument panels, and a separate gun sight and instrument panel hood. The landing gear and wheel wells are highly detailed, and there is a 7-part jet exhaust.

The kit features a nose weight and six trailing edge slats for the wings. There is a standing pilot figure, option for an open or closed canopy and the kit includes a variety of ordinance including a pair of JL 100 R rocket pods, a pair is AIM-9D Sidewinder missiles, a single Matra 530 air-to-air missile to be carried on the center line pylon, and one pair each of 500 liter and 625 liter drop tanks.

Decals

Markings are provided for five versions of the IIICJ, all operating with the IAF/Heyl Ha’Avir:
1) Aircraft No. 745, with the 117th Tayaset, based at Chel Ha’ Avir, 1967 (natural metal scheme with red flashes)
2) Aircraft No. 768, with the 119th Tayaset, based at Chel Ha’ Avir, 1967 (natural metal scheme with red and blue flashes) – known to have seen action during the Six Day War
3) Aircraft No. 176, with the 117th Tayaset, 1973 (camouflage scheme of desert tan, light brown and olive drab over grey)
4) Aircraft No. 159, withthe 101st Tayaset, based at Chel Ha’ Avir during 1973 Yom Kippur War
5) Aircraft No. 764, with the 119th Tayaset, based at Chel Ha’ Avir, 1970-71 (camouflage scheme of desert tan, light brown and olive drab over grey)

 

Conclusion

An excellent kit of an outstanding fighter-interceptor. Highly recommended,

References

  • www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org
  • www.weaponsandwarfare.com
  • www.wikipedia.org

 

 

 

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