Dassault Mirage 5BA
Single-engine single seat attack aircraft
In order to replace the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak and the RF-84F Thunderflash, the Belgian Government decided on 16 February 1968 to acquire 88 Mirages (54BA, 22BR and 12 BD) with an option for 18 more aircraft the sub-type of which was to be decided later. On 25 August 1968, after a lot of political discussions and a failed possible cooperation with The Netherlands a final order was placed with Dassault for 106 aircraft (63 BA, 16BD end 27 BR). The Mirage 5BA was optimized for ground attacks and was in fact a version of the Mirage IIIC as used by the French Armée de l'Air but equipped with less sophisticated avionics. After an extended series of studies, the Mirage was preferred over a.o. the Northrop F-5A, LTV A-7A Corsair, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, A6A Intruder, new versions of the Starfighter F-104H and F-104S and the Swedish Draken. In 1988 it was decided to upgrade some 20 Mirages in what was called the Mirage System Improvement Program (MirSIP) but with the fall of the Berlin Wall the political situation changed to a point were this was not justified any longer. Chile took over the improved Mirages (incorporating also Chilean modifications and called "Elkan") and 5 more non-modified aircraft. The remaining stored Mirages were bought by the French company SAGEM while a number of aircraft became gate guardians or museum exhibits.