Dassault Mirage 5BR
Single-engine single seat reconnaissance 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 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 Mirage 5BR was specifically developped for the aerial reconnaissance and for that purpose received a speial nose which could incorporate different types of cameras. N° 42 Squadron was the dedicated reconnaissance unit within the Belgian Air Force and as such the main users of the 27 BR versions. Four aircraft (BR-13, BR-25, BR-26 and BR-27) were completely overhauled and sold to the Chilean Air Force as 721, 722, 723 and 724 respectively.