Springing from the Mirage G project that had itself spawned after a breakdown in a joint New Tyrannian-Sieuxerrian fighter development program started in the mid-1960s, the Aérospatiale-Dassault Mirage-Menace G program was a private venture by Dassault to develop a swing-wing, or variable geometry fighter aircraft design.
The aircraft began as a single engine swing-wing aircraft but later morphed into a twin-engine multirole combat aircraft. However the intended operator, the Sieuxerrian Air Force, was already in the midst of the "Avion de Combat Futur" (ACF) project which was supposed to create a Mach 3 dogfighting aircraft, and the Mirage-Menace program did not appeal to then-specifications.
In the mid-1970s, the Sieuxerrian Navy had finished construction and trials of the first of four Painlevé
-class fleet carriers, which could hold and launch upwards of fifty combat aircraft of various sizes and types. The Dassault Faucon, which had been used successfully on the previous Clemenceau
-class was slated to be the primary fighter of the new carrier, however with the looming threat of new long-range anti-shipping missiles from large formations of mutli-engine bombers and dedicated patrol aircraft, the relatively short ranged, both in weapons and radius, Faucon was seen as lacking in its ability to conduct effective fleet air defense and interception operations. The Sieuxerrian Navy sent inquiries to various domestic and foreign aircraft corporations as a result.
Aérospatiale-Dassault, in 1977, offered the Mirage-Menace to the Sieuxerrian Navy and later in the year the aircraft had begun development into being a naval fighter.
At this time, Matra was given a contract from the Sieuxerrian Navy to develop a new long range air-to-air missile to use against enemy aircraft. It would have an active-radar seeker with a terminal infrared seeker. A radar from Thompson-CSF would also be built, the three companies working closely together in development. The missile, known as the R.750 Arbalète, would be used exclusively by the Mirage-Menace for extended fleet air defense against both long-range bombers but also tactical fighter aircraft.
The program moved along well into 1982, until finally both the R.750 and the Mirage-Menace, now known just as the Menace, would be accepted. In 1983, the first squadron, Flottille 16F, would reach fully operational status. Stationed aboard the carrier Arromanches
, both the carrier and her new squadron of Menace C fighters would find their first combat deployment in the Jedorian-Mozrian War in 1985.
In the war, Menace fighters flew long-range combat air patrol, escort, and fleet air defense missions and was generally well regarded and liked by her pilots. During the course of the war, the eight Menace fighters of Flottille 16F would rack up over twenty air-to-air kills with the loss of one aircraft in combat and one in an accident. Two fighter aces, Capitaine Gaston Morin and Capitaine Denis Sylvestre achieving nine kills in their aircraft, would come from the conflict.
Since the war in 1985, the Menace has been upgraded and has taken up some of the original multirole mission it had originally intended to fill in the 1960s. However, with the new Rafale, both the single and twin seat models and the new Meteor missile with a theoretical range of 300km, the mission of the Menace has come into question and by 2020 the aircraft may begin to be replaced by the Rafale.
Aircraft no. 32 from 16F. It and its pilot, Capitaine Louis Stuart, would be lost in combat.
Multiple views of the same no. 32 aircraft showing an example from 1985.
Crew: 2 (Pilot and Radar Intercept Officer)
Length: 19.2 m
Wingspan spread: 15 m
Wingspan swept: 8.1 m
Height: 5 m
Empty weight: 15,500 kg (34,171 lbs)
Loaded weight: 24,500 kg (54,013. lbs) (x2 Magic, x2 R.530D, x2 R.750, x2 1,000 liter drop tanks)
Max takeoff weight: 28,000 kg (61,729 lbs)
Powerplant: 2× SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofans
Dry thrust: 64.7 kN (14,500 lbf) each
Thrust with afterburner: 95.1 kN (21,400 lbf) each
High altitude: Mach 2.2+ (1,650+ mph, 2,700+ km/h)
Low altitude: Mach 1.2 (900 mph, 1,450 km/h)
Combat radius: 1,000 km (621 mi) for interdiction mission
Ferry range: 4,000 km (2,485 mi)
Service ceiling: 18,500 m (60,000 ft)
Rate of climb: 240+ m/s (47,000+ ft/min)
Maximum design g-load: +9 g
Guns: 2× DEFA 554 30mm revolver cannon, 125 rpg
Hardpoints: Total 6:
two on wing-gloves, two under nacelles, two under-fuselage with provisions to carry combinations of:
2× R.550 Magic II
2-4 × R.750
Various guided and unguided munitions in service
Thomson-CSF "Giraffe" I-IV X-Band radar
Thomson-CSF "Chercheur" Infra-red search and track system