Mirage III IAI Nesher/Dagger

Israel Aircraft Industries manufactured more than fifty of Mirage 5, within the Israele Defence Force/Air Force were known as Nesher; after an outstanding performance in the Yom Kippur War, most were sold to Argentina in the late 70s.

By the beginning of that decade, the Argentina Air Force was in the process of modernizing its fleet of combat aircraft. While that stage had begun some years earlier with the introduction of the first batch of Douglas A-4P Skyhawks, it began with the incorporation BAC Canberra bombers (intended to replace veteran Avro Lincoln and Lancaster phased out in 1967) and the signing of the contract for Argentin’s first supersonic jet the Mirage III.
This contract would mean the starting point for a long tradition in the operation of the delta winged fighter designed by Avions Marcel Dassault Delta - Breguet Aviation (AMD-BA).
In parallel, by then was culminating its career an emblematic machine, which marked the elite of the fighter pilots, the Gloster Meteor F.Mk.4. The logical frontline replacement of combat aircraft contemplated the withdrawal of North American F-86F Sabre by 1976 and its replacement by another jet that could perform the tasks of fighter-bomber and secondary functions of air defense.
This decision began to become a priority given the rapid deterioration of relations with Chile due to border issues, and was expected to trigger an armed conflict in the short term.
On the other hand, contacts for an additional batch of Skyhawk to the United States began, which was finalized successfully. However, in this case could not be contracted the complete overhaul of the airframes (as had happened with the A-4P - called by the FAA as A-4B) whereby 25 A-4C Skyhawks were received in condition “as is, where is” and put into service by the area Material Rio Cuarto in a long and difficult task, giving the first operational aircraft to his unit in 1976.
To further complicate the picture, the fall of the constitutional regime in 1976, motivated by anarchy and disarray in the country, which had initially been supported by the United States, led to this country imposing shortly afterwards an arms embargo by pressure from the international community.

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Thus, the implementation of Presidential Directive 13, known as the Humphrey-Kennedy Amendment, signed by James Carter in 1977 and prohibiting the sale of advanced weapons, technology and training to governments with human rights problems, locked all negotiations for the acquisition new material, so the Air Force undertook the task of acquiring combat aircraft via alternative routes, but this search became extremely complicated by the pressure exerted on their usual combat equipment providers.
Initial contacts with France for a number of Mirage 5, the simplified version of the
Mirage III and optimized for fighter-bomber missions were quickly discarded because the factory argued that it could not meet the deadlines that required the FAA. While this was an important limitation, the reality was that the French firm did not make much effort to pressure from international organizations to blockade the sale. At that time, in Israel the production of a machine that would be the aim of the FAA for many years and could never materialize: the IAI Kfir.

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Developed as a much improved evolution of Mirage 5 airframe, this product of Israel Aircraft Industries represented a marked increase on the performances of the French Mirage, largely due to the adoption of canard foreplanes and a more powerful American-made engine, the General Electric J79 of 8,119 kg of thrust, similar to that used by the F-4E Phantom.
However, the source of that power plant would be an insurmountable obstacle that would scuttle with Argentine aspirations. However, IAI countered with an offer that at first seemed unbeatable under the established political situation.
With the addition of the Kfir, the Hey’l Ha Avir (Israel Defense Force/Air Force - IDF/ AF) was about to begin the process of withdrawal its IAI Nesher, a transition variante developed from Mirage 5 with some modifications.
These jets were available virtually immediately and the factory also offered a further development to take the Nesher to a standard similar to the Kfir, but retaining the French Snecma Atar engine.
The offer included a first batch of 24 single-seaters Nesher and two twin seaters Nesher Ts with an inspection of 600 hours and changing different items according to Argentine requirements.
The machines had on average about 600 flight hours, representing 85% of their remaining useful life and were built between 1971 and 1974.