A total of 16 Spanish Air Force Mirage F1’s will head for South America in the near future, as Argentina has agreed to buy the fighters as replacements for older Mirage IIIs. Rumours were around for some quite some time, but only now have authorities in Buenos Aires officially confirmed the deal. The transaction is worth USD 230 million, according to sources in Argentina.
The Spanish air Force said good bye to the Mirage F1 in June this year. The French built fighters had been in service with the Spanish for almost a quarter of a century. The aircraft underwent several updates while in Spain, including the add on of aerial refueling capability and GPS navigation and targeting instrumentation. The Eurofighter Typhoon has replaced the Mirage F-1 in Spanish service.
Argentina earlier expressed the need for a more modern fourth generation fighter, but budget issues don’t allow such a purchase. The 16 Mirages will likely be based at Tandil Air base, some 200 miles south of Buenos Aires.
Airbus Military confirmed it freezes the delivery of six Airbus/EADS (CASA) C295 transport aircraft to the Egyptian Air Force. The steps by the mother company of EADS are a blow to the income of the Spanish aircraft industry, which relied heavily on the C295 order that is totally produced inside the Iberian country.
With the ongoing turmoil in the North African desert country and the Egyptian military actively involved in sometimes quite violent policing actions against civilians, political pressure on Airbus to stop production of the aircraft has been sincere.
The six aircraft are half of the projected 12 new C295 on order by the Egyptian military. The exact implications of the production stand-down are not certain. The C295 does sell, with more than 121 sold to 17 operators, but these are not skyrocketing numbers on which the Spanish part of Airbus can last long.
A small light at the end of the horizon for Spanish aircraft makers: every month the freeze of the Egyptian order will be reviewed.
The first production Airbus Military A400M new generation airlifter for the Turkish Air Force (Türk Hava Kuvvetleri; TAF) has made its maiden flight on August 9, 2013. The aircraft, known as MSN9, took off from Seville, Spain, at 13:56 local time and landed back in Seville 5 hours and 30 minutes later.
The A400M programme for the TAF is also making good progress at the Airbus Military International Training Centre at Seville, where Turkish pilots, loadmasters, and maintenance technicians have already begun their training. Turkey has ordered 10 A400M tactical transport aircraft.
So, no more Brazilian Mirages from December on. Well, that’s one reason less to go there, although we are pretty sure there are many reasons left. But that’s future stuff; over the past 25 years or so, Mirages have worked their magic pretty well on us. Let’s see a few.