Michael J Gething
The last of 52 upgraded Dassault C.14 Mirage F1 fighters was handed-over to the Spanish Air Force by EADS/CASA at its Getafe facility on 15 March, writes Michael J Gething.
The modernisation contract, valued at FFr700 million (US$96m), was awarded to Thomson-CSF RCM (now part of the Thales Group) in October 1996. It covered a servic- life extension programme (SLEP) and avionics upgrade for 48 F1CE/EE (C.14A/B) single-seaters and four F1EDA (C.14C) two-seat trainers.
Spanish companies Amper Programas, Indra and CASA (which became part of EADS in July 2000) acted as sub-contractors, together with ATE of South Africa (being responsible for the design and integration of the navigation, display and weapons systems).
Apart from the SLEP, the upgrade package includes a revised cockpit configuration with colour liquid crystal displays and a Smart HUD (from Sextant Avionique, now also part of Thales); a Sextant inertial navigation system with GPS interface; air-to-ground radar rangefinding; NATO-compatible Have Quick 2 secure communications; Mode 4 digital IFF; a defensive aids suite; and flight recorders.
The upgraded prototype (prepared by SABCA of Belgium) was test-flown in April 1998. The remaining aircraft being modernised in Spain by CASA. The first upgraded Mirage F1 was delivered in March 1999 and deliveries continued at the rate of two per month since.
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