Dassault Mirage 5BA - BD - BR

As a replacement for Republic F84F Thunderstreak and the Republic RF84F Thunderflash the Belgian government agreed the purchase of 88 Dassault Mirage 5 (54 x Mirage 5BA, 22x Mirage 5BR and 12x Mirage 5BD) with an option of an additonal 18 aircraft (read Sepecat Jaguar).
On August 25th, 1968 a revised order for 106 aircraft was placed with Dassault (63 BA, 16 BD and 27 BR).
The Mirage 5BA (in service with 1, 2 and 8 Squadrons) was optimised for the ground-attack role, and was in fact a 'light' version of the Mirage IIIE in service with the French Armée de l'Air. The Mirage 5BD (mainly in use by 8 Squadron) was a dual-seat combat trainer, and the Mirage 5BR (used by 42 Squadron) was specifically developed for the tactical reconnaissance role.
The first aircraft of each version were build and testflown by Dassault in France, but all the remaining aicraft were build by Sabca at Gosselies.
In 1988 a plan was conceived to modernise 20 of the remaining Mirages under the MirSIP (Mirage System Improvement Program)-project.
Due to the rapidly changing political situation in Europe the need for these modernised disappeared, and although the Mirages were modernised by Sabca at Gosselies, they were never used operationally and put in protective storage at Weelde airbase.
Fortunately Chile showed interest and bought the 20 upgraded (and an additonal 5 non-modernised) aircraft. Before delivery some specific Chilean modifications were added.
The remainder of the Mirage-fleet was sold to the French company Sagem and reportedly broken-up for spares.
Fortunately some of the Mirages remained unsold and are now preserved in various places in Belgium and Europe.

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