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Dassault mirage iii australian procurement

The meaning of «dassault mirage iii australian procurement»

Dassault Mirage III Australian procurement was a transaction between the French and Australian governments which led to the procurement of the French designed fixed wing jet aircraft, the Mirage III, for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). In the late 1950s the Australian government announced its intention to modernize its air force with state of the art technology and the French manufacturing company Dassault won the bid over the American Lockheed when the Australian government agreed to buy over 100 Mirages at an estimated cost of AUS$193.7 million in the early 1960s.[1]

The deal made Australia the second export customer for the Mirage III after Israel.

The first Mirage III flew in 1956[2] after a period of development by Générale Aéronautique Marcel Dassault (GAMD) leading to a significant rise in French defence exports in the next two decades, placing France as the world’s third largest defence supplier by 1971.[3] As one of the largest deals contributing to France’s export success, the deal with Australia had a significant impact on French foreign policy, increasing the country’s influence as it succeeded to compete with the two global powers of the Cold War. The deal was equally significant for Australia which, during the 1950s, had not yet decided on an aircraft to replace the outdated CAC-27 Avon Sabre.

On 4 April 1957 the Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies said in his defence statement:

"Our present planning and preparations are proceeding on the basis of an operational contribution to allied strategy of highly trained men armed with the most modern conventional weapons and equipment."[4]

On December 15, 1960, the Australian Minister of Defence announced the first order for 30 Mirage III "Os", at a cost of 18 million Australian pounds,[5] soon followed by additional orders for 30, then 40 single-seaters and 10 two-seaters (Mirage III D). The signed agreements also included the manufacture of the aircraft in Australia, with Dassault supplying the components for the airframe and SNECMA the engines. The latter, as well as the canopy and rudder were to be assembled by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, while the Government Aircraft Factories in Melbourne were to take care of the fuselage and final assembly. It was agreed that the first two airplanes would be built in France, that six others would be sent dismantled (fuselage, wings, engine) and that two others, finally, would arrive in Australia as unassembled parts.[6]

On April 9, 1963, Group Captain Susans took delivery of the first aircraft at Melun Villaroche Aerodrome. This aircraft was then dismantled and transported aboard a Lockheed C-130 Hercules cargo plane on November 1, 1963. On arrival it was reassembled and flown on January 11, 1964. It was taken on strength by the RAAF on January 19, 1964. On November 10, 1966, the first of ten two-seater versions was accepted.[6]

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