Exploring the flight envelope-The Mirage G

The Dassault Mirage G was a French two-seat twinjet variable-geometry prototype fighter powered by a single Pratt & Whitney/Snecma TF 306 turbofan built by Dassault Aviation in the late 1960s. The G had the same fuselage and engine configuration and was similar in terms of size and technology as the F 2 fixed-wing prototype.

In February 1965, the Mirage III G, designed by Jean-Jacques Samin and Jean-Paul Emoré, was adopted by the Defence Ministry. The wings were swept at 22 degrees when fully forward and 70 degrees when fully aft and featured full-span double-slotted trailing edge flaps and two-position leading edge flaps.

Photo © Dassault

The aircraft made an initial short hop at Melun-Villaroche on 18 October with its wings fixed in the normal position. On the 18th, it made its maiden flight, with a 20º wing setting, piloted by Jean Coureau. It landed at 120 knots. Only two years had gone by since the first pencil-mark on the drawing-board.

The type was further developed into the twin-engine Mirage G4 and G8 variants as a multi-role jet fighter capable of both interception and nuclear strike missions.

Photo © Dassault

On December 8, only three weeks after the first flight, Jean Coureau reached Mach 2.1 with the maximum sweepback setting.

In 20 flights and less than two months, a flight envelope had been opened up extending to Mach 2.1 and 700 knots. The low-altitude performance was extraordinary: approach speed 125 knots, touch-down at 108, wings manoeuvrable at 3 g.

Photo © Dassault

Although Dassault built and flew prototypes, the entire programme was terminated in the 1970s without the aircraft entering production

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