Dassault Mirage 5BD
Single-engine two-seat trainer-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 IIIE 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 the 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. The twin-seat Mirage 5BD was essentialy developed as a two seat trainer version of the Mirage but appart from a reduced fuel capacity this subtype maintained its attack capability. After being withdrawn from use with the Belgian Air Force five Mirage 5BD's were converted into M5MD "Elkans" by Sabca and sold to the Chilean Air Force.