Sunset for classic Mirage in Argentina

The Fuerza Aerea Argentina has waved good bye to its small fleet of classic Dassault Mirage 3 and 5 fighter jets on Sunday 29 November during an airshow and ceremony at Tandil airbase, south Buenos Aires . The Mirage served the country for 43 years. It’s retirement leaves only the A-4 Skyhawk as a credible airborne capability.

Argentina, along with Pakistan, was the last country in the world operating the Mirage 3, a type that amazingly saw its first flight on 17 November 1956 and was once operated in large number by air forces around the world. Pakistan is still flying the type. In Swizterland, a civilian operated Mirage 3 still graces the skoes.

Argentina poised its Mirage into combat during the 1982 Falklands War, when one of them feel victim to a British Harrier firing a Sidewinder air-to-air missile. Over the last years, the fleet was reduced to just six aircraft. They flew their last operational sorties last September during an exercise.


Argentina has been seeking a true replacement for the Mirage, eyeing the Saab Gripen, Chinese J-10 and most recently the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Kfir block 60. No signature has been inked though, as the UK opposed a Saab-deal and financial difficulties in Novermber prevented the Kfir-deal from being signed.

© 2015 editor Elmer van Hest