Latin American Military - Chile - Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh) - Avions Marcel Dassault Mirage 50 Pantera

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Revised: February 1, 1999
Copyright © 1997-1999 by Juan Carlos Barroux R.

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Mirage 50C Pantera 514.

Chile became the first customer of this newer version of the Mirage family, which consisted basically in a Mirage 5 powered by the Snecma Atar 9K-50 engine also used by the Mirage F1, when in 1979 bought 14 single-seaters and 2 two-seaters. Due to the tensions with Argentina at that time, the first 8 single-seat fighters were Mirage 5F that were quickly modified by Dassault to the Mirage 50FC standard.

Mirage 50C Pantera landing.

During 1982-83 the FACh received 6 new built single-seaters Mirage 50C and 2 two-seaters Mirage 50DC (which used the old Snecma Atar 09C).

These planes were assigned to the Grupo Nº 4 on September 15th, 1980 and initially based in Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez (Pudahuel). In order to provide with fighter cover the extreme south area of Chile the Grupo Nº 4 moved to the base Carlos Ibáñez near Punta Arenas during March 1986.

One of the two-seaters (516) crashed during take-off and was replaced by an ex-ADLA Mirage III BE. The operational challenges of operating what was essentially a fair weather only fighter in such an extreme environment as the Magellan Straits proved important, specially in the areas of navigation, range and bad weather.

Mirage 50CD Pantera 516.

Sometime in 1986 the Pantera program was started by ENAER in conjunction with IAI to fix some of those issues. The program became a perfect example of the "scope creep" than can affect modernisation programs. What started as a simple fix became a mayor program where important electronic subsystems were relaced and/or modified, like the replacement of the Agave by the Elta EL/M-2001B radar, a new HUD and a new INS, and structural changes were made like the addition of canards, the extension of the nose, the addition of an in-flight refueling probe and the late replacement of the landing train because the aircraft was now overweight. As a result, it was not until mid-1993 that the first production Pantera was rolled out by ENAER, only 7 years after the start of the program. After the successful Aguila modernisation program for the Hawker Hunters the FACh fell to the trap of the "second project syndrome".

Mirage 50C Pantera flight.

With the incorporation of the Mirage 5M Elkán the FACh has now two (or three, with the Mirage 5BR) quite different modernised versions of the basic Mirage 5 and this is bound to be a logistical nightmare...

There seem to be a mystery surrounding the current fleet of Mirage Pantera as some fotos clearly show FACh Serial Numbers like 518 or 555, which are unheard of. Possible solutions to the mystery can be a disinformation campaign by the FACh or that the reported rumors of the FACh acquiring some of the South African Cheetas, a close cousin of the Pantera in fact, were actually true.

Mirage Pantera and Elkán.

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Avions Marcel Dassault Mirage 50 Pantera

Avions Marcel Dassault Mirage 50FC fighter-bomber

Designation: 
Manufacturer: Avions Marcel Dassault initially, modified by ENAER/IAI.
Crew: 1
Engine: 1 x Atar 9K-50
Engine Type: 
Engine Thrust:  kN ( Kg force)
Length:  m
Height:  m
Wing Span:  m
Wing Area:  square meters
Empty Weight:  kg
Max. Weight:  kg
Max. Speed at Sea Level:  km/h
Max. Speed at 36,000 ft:  km/h
Max. Cruising Speed:  km/h
Normal Cruising Speed:  km/h
Ceiling: 
Range on Internal Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Payload:  km
Combat Radius:  km ()
Radar: Agave initially, Elta EL/M-2001B now.
EW: 
Avionics: 
Weapons: 
Notes: 

S/N       C/N        Unit          Built   Bought     Disposition         Notes 
501       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 01)
502       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 03)
503       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 05)
504       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 08)
505       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 16)
506       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 23)
507       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 28)
508       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA 30)

Avions Marcel Dassault Mirage 50C fighter-bomber

Designation: 
Manufacturer: Avions Marcel Dassault initially, modified by ENAER/IAI.
Crew: 1
Engine: 1 x Atar 9K-50
Engine Type: 
Engine Thrust:  kN ( Kg force)
Length:  m
Height:  m
Wing Span:  m
Wing Area:  square meters
Empty Weight:  kg
Max. Weight:  kg
Max. Speed at Sea Level:  km/h
Max. Speed at 36,000 ft:  km/h
Max. Cruising Speed:  km/h
Normal Cruising Speed:  km/h
Ceiling: 
Range on Internal Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Payload:  km
Combat Radius:  km ()
Radar: Agave initially, Elta EL/M-2001B now.
EW: 
Avionics: 
Weapons: 
Notes: 

S/N       C/N        Unit          Built   Bought     Disposition         Notes
509       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --
510       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  First production Pantera.
511       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --
512       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --
513       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --
514       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  Pantera prototype.

Avions Marcel Dassault Mirage 50CD fighter-bomber

Designation: 
Manufacturer: Avions Marcel Dassault initially, modified by ENAER/IAI.
Crew: 2
Engine: 1 x Atar 09C
Engine Type: 
Engine Thrust:  kN ( Kg force)
Length:  m
Height:  m
Wing Span:  m
Wing Area:  square meters
Empty Weight:  kg
Max. Weight:  kg
Max. Speed at Sea Level:  km/h
Max. Speed at 36,000 ft:  km/h
Max. Cruising Speed:  km/h
Normal Cruising Speed:  km/h
Ceiling: 
Range on Internal Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Payload:  km
Combat Radius:  km ()
Radar: 
EW: 
Avionics: 
Weapons: 
Notes: 

S/N       C/N        Unit          Built   Bought     Disposition         Notes
515       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --
516       --         Grupo 4       --      --         Crashed ??/??/??

Avions Marcel Dassault Mirage IIIBE fighter-bomber

Designation: 
Manufacturer: Avions Marcel Dassault initially, modified by ENAER/IAI.
Crew: 1
Seats:  
Engine:  x 
Engine Type: 
Engine Thrust:  kN ( Kg force)
Length:  m
Height:  m
Wing Span:  m
Wing Area:  square meters
Empty Weight:  kg
Max. Weight:  kg
Max. Speed at Sea Level:  km/h
Max. Speed at 36,000 ft:  km/h
Max. Cruising Speed:  km/h
Normal Cruising Speed:  km/h
Ceiling: 
Range on Internal Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Fuel:  km
Range with Max. Payload:  km
Combat Radius:  km ()
Radar: 
EW: 
Avionics: 
Weapons: 
Notes: Replaced the original 516.

S/N       C/N        Unit          Built   Bought     Disposition         Notes
516       --         Grupo 4       --      --         --                  (ADLA ???)

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Bibliography

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Other Photos

Not only Mr. Aldo Flores has drawn some very good views of the colors of the Pantera but he has also built a nice model of the plane, all of them are shown here. We thank him a lot for this excellent work.

Mirage 50C Pantera 514.

Mirage 50C Pantera 514.

Mirage 50C Pantera 514.

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Copyright © 1997-1999 by Juan Carlos Barroux R.

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Juan Carlos Barroux R. - lamilitary@reocities.com

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