Created by France's Dassault Breguet company, the Mirage F1 was was France's staple fighter until the Mirage 2000 entered service (although F1's are still serving the French Air Force). The aircraft first flew on March 20, 1969, and replaced the aging Mirage III as France's new front-line fighter. The first of more than 220 fighters was delivered to France on May 14, 1973. That December, the 30 Escarde de Chasse became the first operational F1 unit.
Lacking the delta-wings common to Mirage aircraft, it still had considerable more agility than the Mirage III, while maintaining high-speed and high-altitude performance. Although faster and able to climb higher than even the American F-16, the F1 does not have as much firepower, and lacks many of the advanced avionics systems found on the American fighter, depending on small analog instruments and a shielded radar scope. It also uses the Cyrano IV radar. The aircraft requires service every 300 hours, and a full overhaul every 900 hours.
A reconaissance variant of the aircraft known as the F1CR is France's primary recon fighter, and first flew on November 20, 1981. The F1 has seen export to nine other countries including Ecuador, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, Morocco, South Africa, and Spain. The Mirage fought on both sides of the Gulf War, although eight of Iraq's F1's were downed by US F-15's, and one crashed into the ground chasing an American electronics warfare aircraft. South African Mirages have also downed at least one MiG in combat with Angola.
Powerplant:One 15,840 lb.-thrust SNECM Atar 9K-5 afterburning turbojet.
Max Speed: 1,450 mph
Initial Climb Rate: 41,918 fpm
Ceiling: 65,600 ft.
Range: 1,612 mil. with droptanks and light combat load.
Weapons:Two 30-mm DEFA 553 cannon with 270 rounds; two Matra Super 530 radar missiles and/or two Matra R.550 Magic infrared missiles (range 3 miles); up to 7,986 lbs. of ordinance.
Wing Area 269 sq.ft.
*Some of the information in this writeup was derived from "Aircraft of the World: A Complete Guide."