Back to Main Page   Mirage F1AZ and SuperMirage

  South African Air Force
  (S.A. Lugmag)

The Africa Aerospace and Defense 2000 exhibition / SAAF 80 International Air Show at Waterkloof Air Force Base, South Africa was held the first week of September.  Jason Ashworth, who attended the show, reported that there were several static displays of Mirage aircraft as well as flying displays including the Mirage IIIBZ, IIICZ, and an F1CZ.  He sent a couple of photos from the event website showing a static displayed Mirage F1AZ armed with Russian air-to-air missiles.  I've gathered a few other images of the Mirage F1 in South African service on this page.

The South African Air Force (SAAF) operated two versions of the Mirage F1, the F1AZ and the F1CZ.  The Mirage F1AZ is a simplified day/visual attack aircraft version of the F1CZ interceptor.  The SAAF began using the F1 in 1975.  The initial color scheme was sand and dark green upper surfaces in standard pattern.  The F1AZs were initially painted in a glossy finish, the F1CZs in matte.  The Mirage F1AZ above is painted in this color scheme.

The SAAF used the F1AZ for attack missions over Angola from the late 1970s to the late 1980s.  This combat experience led to the three-tone color scheme shown above.  The upper colors have been toned down quite a bit and the light undersurface color had been replaced by a medium gray that covers all lower surfaces and now extends up the fuselage sides including the vertical tail. 

During the mid-1990's Aerosud re-engined one Mirage F1AZ with the Russian Klimov RD-33 engine (as used on the MiG-29).  The aircraft was called the SuperMirage and is the subject of one of Jason Ashworth's Mirage F1 versions.  There was not sufficient interest in the project and the SAAF decided against equipping their Mirage aircraft with the engine.  In November 1997, after nearly 22 years of service, the last operational SAAF Mirage F1 was retired.

The two images above, from the AAD 2000 website, show a Mirage F1AZ equipped with R-73 (NATO code: AA-11 'Archer') air-to-air missiles mounted under the wings.  The Archer, designed with a very advanced IR system and control engine, is considered to be better than the latest Sidewinder missiles.

For more images of the Klimov powered SuperMirage refer to the earlier Mirage slideshow I assembled of images from the Test Flight and Development Centre at the Bredasdorp, South African.  For further information visit the Aerosud website and the Reference page of the IPMS South Africa website.

Images Copyright Aerosud, Michel Klaver, and Marvotech.
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