A-4 Skyhawk vs Mirage III

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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f-16adf

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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 15:50

This is rather an odd question; and I know that the Sea Harrier gave the Mirage III very tough times in the Falklands back in 1982. But I always wondered how the Mirage III might have fared against the A-4 Skyhawk in ACM?

I read that a well flown A-4 under 300 knots would give its opponent a very tough time (aka USN TOPGUN Skyhawks). I figured that the A-4 could easily turn inside the French jet and out roll it at lower speeds. While the Mirage had more power and would take the fight into the vertical? Also, didn't most A-4's LCOSS have no air to air mode?


I was lucky enough to sit in a USMC A-4 back in 1988, and I thought it was a cool little jet-
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 16:32

Likely the A-4 would be mincemeat for any well flown Mirage.

The lack of an air to air weapon (save guns) would be the big limitation. Also, it'd be out classed in the radar department. The Mirage pilot would be well advised to make high speed slashing attacks, against which the A-4 would be at a distinct dis-advantage. Any Mirage pilot getting slow/in a turning fight with an A-4 needs to be sent back to flight school :)
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 16:42

A-4 was AIM-9 capable, in the right hands I think it would make mincemeat of the mirage
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 17:26

Yeah I think nearly all A-4s could carry an AIM-9 type missile - Spaz I expect would have carried out some form of fleet defence in the RAAF A-4Gs with AIM-9.

Some of the later advanced versions like the AR-4 Fightinghawk even got some A-A radar capability.

They were pretty capable in A-A hence why used as aggressors - Israel, Australia and Argentina flew both off the top of my head.
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 18:50

Not to get too far afield of the A-4 topic or take away from what the Falkland SHAR drivers accomplished....

....but it may be apples and oranges to compare an AIM-9L armed adversary to a fuel-strapped, rear aspect only shooter that had to come down from 30,000 feet to find a fight. Had the Daggers and Mirages had Limas, the exchange rate may have been somewhat different.

(I'm always for the underdog :D )
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 20:26

outlaw162 wrote: it may be apples and oranges to compare an AIM-9L armed adversary to a fuel-strapped, rear aspect only

That was my impression too. The SHars did great work, especially in the weather, but my understanding of that air campaign was that the Lima won the skies.
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 20:33

You mean if the Argentines had some half decent A-A training and tactics as well - nearly all the SHAR kills were in AIM-9G rear aspect parameters because A - that is what they had trained to, and B. the missile (AIM-9L) seems to have been unable to lock onto the frontal aspect when attempts were made.
There was no getting around the fuel situation, just like there wasn't much getting around the lack of defence for the Navy such as AEW or lookdown radar for the SHAR.


Although most A-4s had no A-A radar modes, the original Mirage III wasn't much better due to its very limited radar that was only really of much use at high altitude where you were supposed to fire the R.530 - this also seems to be what the Argentines were stuck with.

The Israelis removed the radars and stuck ballast in near the end of their service, and seem to have had a hand in removing the radar and other avionics from the Mirage V because at the time they felt better use could be made of the space for fuel and weight savings!
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 21:02

nearly all the SHAR kills were in AIM-9G rear aspect parameters because A - that is what they had trained to, and B. the missile (AIM-9L) seems to have been unable to lock onto the frontal aspect when attempts were made.


The majority of the Lima kills were primarily rear aspect because by the time the SHARS got turned around, the Argentines were already out of gas and running, not maneuvering.......not because A- that was what they had trained to. All aspect includes the rear, from which they were much more reliable than Gs or Ps. :D

The few that were during maneuvering were not rear aspect.

Never had a problem getting a Lima lock on the front of something even as cool as an A-7. With a Lima you were King-Kong at the time.

Were the Bekaa Lima kills primarily in G parameters? Credit to the weapon where credit is due.
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Unread post19 Oct 2017, 22:02

outlaw162 wrote:The majority of the Lima kills were primarily rear aspect because by the time the SHARS got turned around, the Argentines were already out of gas and running, not maneuvering.......not because A- that was what they had trained to. All aspect includes the rear, from which they were much more reliable than Gs or Ps. :D

The few that were during maneuvering were not rear aspect.

Never had a problem getting a Lima lock on the front of something even as cool as an A-7. With a Lima you were King-Kong at the time.

Were the Bekaa Lima kills primarily in G parameters? Credit to the weapon where credit is due.




The Argentines actually made a brief attempt to establish air superiority by sending over Mirage IIIEAs on the 1st May at the start of the air war - the only time Mirage IIIs were sent over the Island.

Thomas, and Ward give separate accounts of failed lock ons from those first engagements with the AIM-9L in a frontal aspect - after the head on pass Thomas actually ended up in a scissors with the Mirage III flown by Carlos "Daga" Perona (who also verifies this) before being taken out by the wingy (Barton).

After that first day the engagements became more a case of Sea Harriers trying to intercept A-4 and Daggers which they didn't have that much success with.

Almost all fired from astern (AIM-9G parameters) - taken direct from 2017 research by ex USAF bod Doug Dildy - an older missile might not have made the break turn when this happened - #dontknow - but I cant really see any different result I'm afraid with AIM-9Gs - they still had a gun!

One of the Mirage Vs (Daggers) on an attack sortie actually ended up on Wards tail in one of these intercept attempts but only had cannon and missed - they otherwise carried Shafrir 2 in A-A config - a missile which Israel claimed to have a fair amount of success in 73 alongside the AIM-9D.

Tons of detail on the Falkland / Malvinas from both sides that matches up - there is little from Bekaa valley (in English) from Israel let alone Syria. Most claims for AIM-9L are almost all F-16A - although they were also using and claiming kills with P-3s.
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Unread post20 Oct 2017, 17:10

basher54321 wrote:Yeah I think nearly all A-4s could carry an AIM-9 type missile - Spaz I expect would have carried out some form of fleet defence in the RAAF A-4Gs with AIM-9.

Some of the later advanced versions like the AR-4 Fightinghawk even got some A-A radar capability.

They were pretty capable in A-A hence why used as aggressors - Israel, Australia and Argentina flew both off the top of my head.


Brazil as well, for a time.
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Unread post21 Oct 2017, 02:56

basher54321 wrote:Yeah I think nearly all A-4s could carry an AIM-9 type missile - Spaz I expect would have carried out some form of fleet defence in the RAAF A-4Gs with AIM-9.

Some of the later advanced versions like the AR-4 Fightinghawk even got some A-A radar capability.

They were pretty capable in A-A hence why used as aggressors - Israel, Australia and Argentina flew both off the top of my head.

The A4G in late 1960s to early 1970s until the Indonesian Badger threat with anti-ship missiles was permanently grounded was the 'poor man fleet defender' with the capacity to carry four (one on each pylon) AIM-9B missiles. Later I'm told in the late 1970s the RAN FAA bought AIM-9Ls however these were never carried - even in practice so there must have been few.

One AIM-9B was fired at a Jindivik target towed flare every year by every operational A4G pilot (for various reasons).

After the remaining A4Gs were sold to the RNZAF in the late 1980s all RNZAF Skyhawk (A4G & A-4Fs with empty hump) were converted to the KAHU standard which was similar avionic fit to an F-16 at that time with Air to Air Radar etc.
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post21 Oct 2017, 14:34

Oops RAN FAA not RAAF of course - cheers Spaz

Indonesian Badgers! - didn't know there was such a thing till now - and just reading they might have been planning to use them against the Dutch Karen Doorman in the 60s - which of course was later sold to Argentina!

With a little radar in the nose I don't suppose the A-4 was much different to the SHAR as a poor mans fleet interceptor - and that was certainly never supposed to be trying to intercept Mirage Vs or even Exocet armed Super Etendards (that it couldn't touch).
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Unread post21 Oct 2017, 19:50

Spaz,

Did you do any DACT against RAAF Mirages or Phantoms, if so, how did the Skyhawk perform?
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Unread post22 Oct 2017, 03:14

basher54321 wrote:Oops RAN FAA not RAAF of course - cheers Spaz

Indonesian Badgers! - didn't know there was such a thing till now - and just reading they might have been planning to use them against the Dutch Karen Doorman in the 60s - which of course was later sold to Argentina!

With a little radar in the nose I don't suppose the A-4 was much different to the SHAR as a poor mans fleet interceptor - and that was certainly never supposed to be trying to intercept Mirage Vs or even Exocet armed Super Etendards (that it couldn't touch).

Regular exercises with our RAN ships the A4G (or other fast jets - even RAAF later on) would simulate the Kennel in a KENNELEX.
“Badger-B - Tu-16KS -- Badger B is equipped with two Kennel air-to-surface missiles suspended beneath the wings. The TU-16KS began initial tests in August 1954. It carried two KS-1 Kometa air-to-surface missiles with a range of 90 km, and had an operational range of 1800 km. The Kobalt-N guidance transmitter was installed, though the glazed 'bomber' nose was retained. The aircraft subsequently served in the Soviet Naval AF [AV-MF] & Indonesian AF” & “In the summer of 1961, twenty TU-16KS [Badgers] were sold to Indonesia.” http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/bomber/tu-16.htm
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post22 Oct 2017, 03:26

f-16adf wrote:Spaz,

Did you do any DACT against RAAF Mirages or Phantoms, if so, how did the Skyhawk perform?

Early on (I have posted this info before in the F-35 forum subsection) the RAAF were reluctant (to be polite) exercise much with our A4Gs. I'm told that later in the 1970s the situation improved. This meant that I personally only had one sortie against a MIRACLE just after finishing my OFS Operational Flying School in the A4G in late 1970. Two RAAF Mirages came to NAS Nowra. I flew 1v1 with a trainer miracle flown by an FCI Fighter Combat Instructor. The Mirage IIIO had two supersonic tanks but needed extra fuel to divert to Willytown in case of undercarriage issues which were plaguing the Miracles at that time. This meant our DACT was short with the two-seater getting to bingo fuel quickly.

Long story short: it was frustrating to be outperformed speed wise as the Mirage boomed & zoomed. I could turn inside but out of range. Having only that ancient gunsight it was up to me to estimate range for an AIM-9B shot and never got close for guns or either, so it was a standoff, I was never in the sights of the Mirage but I did attempt to follow a steep dive to go supersonic - very briefly - with my empty 2,000lb drop tanks (IAS limit was M 0.9 with them on) so that was a big mistake. I was attempting to gain speed and cut the corner as the Miracle boomed up ahead of me out of the dive.

Early VF-805 A4Gs did encounter RAAF Phantoms in an exercise based from Williamtown but I don't know details at all.

I'll find that story: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=20700&p=236790&hilit=Mirage+Nowra#p236790

Back Seat of Miracle Ride Impressions: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=6094&p=306359&hilit=Mirage+Nowra#p306359

Going Fast Only Few Times: viewtopic.php?f=55&t=26740&p=285554&hilit=Mirage+Nowra#p285554
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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