Draken International’s first regenerated Mirage F1 multirole fighter aircraft conducted its maiden flight over Lakeland Linder International Airport in Lakeland, Florida on Nov. 12.
The supersonic, radar-equipped F1 is part of a fleet of ex-military fighter aircraft currently being regenerated by American contract air services provider Draken with assistance from Paramount Aerospace Systems, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Paramount Group.
The former Spanish Air Force F1 fleet will soon join Draken’s 13 Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and 23 Aero Vodochody L-159 Honey Badgers that currently support the U.S. Air Force with adversary air services out of Nellis AFB.
Paramount Aerospace Systems and Draken signed a contract last year for the overhaul and ongoing engineering support of the fleet of Mirage F1’s. The Mirage F1’s are undergoing reassembly, restoration and airworthiness certification at Draken’s Lakeland, Florida maintenance facility.
In 1996, the Spanish Air Force, along with Thomson-CSF (Thales Group), spent $96M on a modernization upgrade, including cockpit enhancements, LCD MFDs, Advanced HUD, INS/GPS, Electronic Attack systems and a special performance upgrade for the Cyrano IVM radar. The Spanish Mirage F1M fleet was decommissioned in February 2013 and stored in Albacete Air Base, Spain until Draken’s purchase in September 2017.
Dassault Mirage F1 is a French fighter and attack aircraft designed and manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was developed as a successor to the popular Mirage III family, and was succeeded in production by the Dassault Mirage 2000.
Powered by a single SNECMA Atar 9K-50 turbojet engine, which provided about 7 tonnes-force (69 kN; 15,000 lbf) of thrust, and armed with an array of French and American-sourced armaments, the Mirage F1 has been operated as a light multipurpose fighter and has been exported to around a dozen nations.