Israel Dassault "Mirage" Saga - Part 1


1 - Introduction
In 1966, Israel order 50 "Mirage" 5 to strengthen its "Shahak", "Mirage" IIIE simplify version.
Following the six days war of 1967, France decree an embargo on weapons, and Israel could not take delivery of these "Mirage" 5; finally, Israel build its own "Mirage" 5 called "Nesher".

Underside view photo of Mirage III (Shahak)

1 - Yom Kippur War Prelude 
1.1 - Recognitions Mission with "Shahak" 
According to the cease-fire agreement that put an end to the war of attrition, on 7 August 1970, no Egyptian air defense would be moved to the east and the Suez Canal. The same day the Colonel Itshak Nir, "Bat Squadron" leader, "Shahak" 99 pilot, went recognize the channel:

Suez Canal (west side : Egyptian / East Cost : Israeli)
"Before the cease-fire, we starte to photograph the canal at high altitude because the Egyptians advance their anti-aircraft missile batteries SA-2 and SA-3. It's very important for us to know what the position of these missiles, also flew us at very high .... 60,000.65 000 feet, with pressurized flight combinations.

The morning of the cease-fire, I accomplishe a lonesome mission  over the canal, at 60,000 feet. The photos show that the Egyptians cheat by advancing their missiles during the night. I photographs early in the morning, from north to south, as the sun has allow. Then they remain where they are, by waiting us until the Yom Kippur war." 

Two days later, on the 9 August 1970, Nir perform another recognition over the canal,  this time with the "Shahak" 98. These recognitions continue after the cease-fire. Nir perfom three other, very low .... at 50 feet!! 
When the "Bat" Squadron dissolve, Nir is assigne to the "First Fighter" Squadron, which is assigne to recognition mission.
From 1971, Israel is also flew over by MIG-25 Soviet based at Cairo-West. The "Shahak" try to intercept them , but without the slightest chance of success. It's impossible for them to approach them because of their speed and moreover MIG-25 flight at an altitude where the air-to-air infrared missiles are inoperative.
The missions are transferred to the F-4E " Phantom" and their missiles AIM-7 guidance to semi-active. 

MIG-25
The June 23, 1972, two RF-4E Israelis are sent in recognition above the Nile. On returning, they are accompanied by two F-4E and two "Shahak" from the "First Fighter"Squadron, whose leader was Maj Israel Baharav: 

"We have to collect the reconnaissance aircraft which, at this altitude, could not maneuver and take position to 15 km behind so that no MIG could not have tackled the RF-4E without meet us first. The pilots of the F-4E are Adi Bnaya and Eithan Peled. We arrive very low at above the sea, and then we are climbing directly to the rendezvous point. 
Several MIG took off from all corners of the Nile delta. We see them. None has discovered the good point of exit from our aircraft, except two of them. 
2 MIG-21 are behind us, and began to move closer. The IAF Boss orders, the general "Beni" Peled, were clear: 
In no case should we abandon a reconnaissance aircraft. They have not combat means and we are their rear-guard ... But there limits!! 
The F-4E are in front, we follow and these two MIG-21 are not further than to 2500 m behind. It's time to do something. If we do not face, they will shot down our aircraft. The "Phantom" see nothing, but me, yes !!!

"Shahak" Cockpit view
I flight on the left and i could easily see the MIG coming. I announce "eight kilometers, "six kilos" , "five kilos, "four kilos" , "2000 meter .... 
At four kilometers, I ask the leader, Eithan Peled, to engage in a dogfight, then he ask the controller which refuse us permission. At four kilometer it's relax, then i do not insite. But at 2000 meters i urge . This time, the controller do not reply. We were told later that at this crucial moment an electrical  failure occur in the control center. then nobody hear us and no one give us order. At 2000 meters i decide to wait no longer. I break and engage a dogfight in a situation perfectly disadvantageous. But I do not shotdown MIG, because of weapon failure. 
By contrast, the F-4E, yes ..... 
We chew the work. When I face the MIG, they made a half-turn. For the F-4E, this was a child game, then  they succeed to shot down two MIG-21".

To follow in a next post.....

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