Mirage Auction

 

In 1953, World War II was still fresh in the minds of many people, not least the military. The French Air Force sought a new small and fast fighter plane. In June 1955, the MD-550 Mystère Delta, a proposal by the French aircraft constructor Dassault Aviation made its maiden flight. Renamed the Mirage I, it was however found to be inadequate and could not reach the required speeds. A larger version, the Mirage II, was designed but calculations showed that this was also incapable of reaching the demanded Mach 2. However in 1957, this led to the much improved Mirage III and it quickly became clear that this was a very versatile aircraft which more than fulfilled the demands of the French Air Force. It ordered 10 Mirage IIIAs for testing and further orders quickly followed in 1958. Other countries soon recognized that this was a superb aircraft and orders were placed by numerous countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Israel Lebanon, Pakistan, Spain, South Africa and Switzerland.

The Swiss actually only bought one aircraft, but built a further 36 under license. Although the Mirages of the Swiss Air force underwent extensive upgrading in the early 1990s, they were finally withdrawn from service in December 2003. The remaining 13 Mirages were sold off at Buochs Airfield, near Lucerne in November 2004. Prices paid at the auction ranged between 23,000 and 60,000 Swiss francs per aircraft, well in excess of the reserve price of 5,000 Swiss francs.

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