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.
Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
Single engine single seat reconnaissance aircraft
The RF-84F Thunderflash was the dedicated reconnaissance version of the Republic F-84F Thunderstreak fighter-bomber. The classic “Streak” intake having been moved to the wing roots a new streamlined nose housed the air reconnaissance cameras. Between 1955 and 1958 24 Thunderflashes (FR1 - FR24) were delivered to the Belgian Air Forces through the Mutual Defence Air Programme (MDAP). All Thunderflashes were operated by 42 Squadron. To cover for losses by accidents 6 additional aircraft (FR25 - FR30) were bought by the Belgian Air Force in 1963, these aircraft were former U.S.Air National Guard jets. In January 1965 another 4 aircraft (FR31 - FR34) were bought from the German Luftwaffe. After the introduction of the Mirage 5BR the remaining MDAP Thunderflashes were put into storage at Koksijde and scrapped, the 'national' aircraft were kept for preservation purposes at various locations.