Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dassault Mirage IIIR from ER 3/33 'Moselle', Strasbourg-Entzheim, early 1970s.

The iconic French Mirage fighter came in many versions, including this reconnaissance version that replaced the RF-84F Thunderflash in French service. It was also used by Abu Dhabi, South Africa, Pakistan and Switzerland.

The navigational calculator of the IIIR was not up to par, and a modernized version was designed to be fitted with systems from the Mirage IIIE. ER 3/33 'Moselle' was the only unit to use this modernized version of the IIIR, the Mirage IIIRD, this version having the same Doppler effect Cyrano radar as the IIIE (the designation 'D' was for Doppler). The 'Moselle' squadron received these aircraft between 1967 and 1969, and they were eventually replaced in 1988. Twenty Mirage IIIRD were delivered to the Armee de l'Air, and they were in turn replaced by the Mirage F1CR.

A Mirage IIIR was used by Jacqueline Auriol to improve her closed-circuit speed record on June 14, 1963, when she completed the course at an average speed of 1,268.75 mph or 2,030 kph.

The Revell 1/72 Mirage III is from the 1970s, and it retained some of the features of an era when models were built to be toys: a canopy that could be opened, an engine that could be pulled out for examination, and wheels that could be made to roll. It is nice kit for its era, and it provides markings for Mirage IIIE, IIIS, IIIRS and IIIRD aircraft of the French and Swiss air forces, although the decals were quite disappointing. The Mirage was painted in Vallejo colors. Headlights and front antennae were added to the kit.

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