The Dassault Mirage III is a family of single/dual-seat, single-engine, fighter aircraft developed and manufactured by the French aircraft company Dassault Aviation. It was the first Western European combat aircraft to exceed Mach 2 in horizontal flight. This was achieved in October 1958, two years after the type’s first flight on 17th November 1956.
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, and a total of 95 Mirage IIICs were obtained by the French Air Force. The Mirage IIIC was rapidly followed by numerous other variants.
The Mirage III was produced in large numbers for both the French Air Force and various export customers. Prominent overseas operators of the fighter included Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Pakistan and Israel, as well as a number of non-aligned nations. Often considered to be a second-generation fighter aircraft, the Mirage III experienced a lengthy service life with several of these operators. Its design proved to be versatile, allowing it to be readily adapted to serve in a variety of roles, including trainer, reconnaissance and ground-attack versions, along with several more extensive derivatives of the aircraft, including the Dassault Mirage 5, Dassault Mirage IIIV and Atlas Cheetah.
Our tags come from Mirage IIIE Number 517. This aircraft began its career on 21st December 1966 as part of the Dauphiné 01/004 Fighter Squadron, an element of the 4th Fighter Wing based at Air Base 116 Luxeuil-Saint-Sauveur in Eastern France.