The Mirage F.1C came to being as a private venture of the French Dassault company. The French Air Force, or the Armée de l´Air, had ordered two prototype aircraft named Mirage F.2 and Mirage F.3 which were to be equipped with a JTF10 engine. However, Dassault built at their own expense an additional prototype, smaller than the two previous and fitted with an Atar 9K power plant. This machine, which was eventually chosen, took off for its maiden flight on 23 December 1966 and production aircraft were put on strength of the Armée de l´Air in single-seater fighter version known as the F.1C and two-seater F.1B trainer version. During their service, a number of the machines were upgraded by fitting of In –Flight Refuelling (IFR) probes which gave the F-1C-200 version. The French Air Force also used a dedicated reconnaissance and a ground-attack version, designated the F.1CR and CT respectivelly, the latter being converted from F.1-200 machines. In total, 246 of all versions served with the French, and the type was exported abroad where it enjoyed success with foreign air forces. In Europe, the Greeks and the Spanish flew the Mirage F.1C, in South America the sole operator was the Fuerza Aerea Ecuatoriana, but in Africa and Asia the Mirage F.1C an B were put on strength of the air forces of Gabon, South Africa, Morocco, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait and were used in many clashes around the world, including non-shooting dogfights between Greek pilots and their Turkish adversaries, as well as French military actions in Chad, Ecuadorian over-border skirmishes with Peru, battles of South African Mirages against Angola-based Cuban fighters, and the list might end with mentioning the Iran-Iraq war in which the Mirages were used by both sides. Even today the type continues in service in several countries.
The reconnaissance version Mirage F.1CR was operated solely by the Armée de l´Air and was the last French version of the F.1 jet to remain in service, being withdrawn in June 2014. The last unit of the French military to field the Mirage F.1 was the Escadron de Reconnaissance 2/33 Savoie. Before their withdrawal, the reconnaissance Mirages had been used in campaigns in Chad, Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, Mali and Libya.
Comparing the kit with our earlier Mirage F.1 models, this one will benefit from an additional sprue, making it possible to portray the model in a correct reconnaissance configuration. This sprue has been designed to contain Corail underwing chaff/flare dispensers used in the final stages of the Mirage F.1CR service, the air-cooling unit for the Cyclope thermographic sensor, or the unique tailcone mounted Lacroix flare dispenser. A sprue with canopy clear parts also comes with this model.
The decal sheet printed by Cartograf covers three French machines, each of them in a different camouflage scheme. The Mirage with 33-TA fuselage codes wore very special four-tone camouflage used during Red Flag excercises in the USA in the late 80s and its nose section was adorned with a tally of two F-15 adversary fighters brought down. Of interest may be the identity of the pilot responsible for this success, by the name of André Lanata, a young captain then, who currently has reached the top position in the ranks of the French Air Force, being the Chief of Staff of the Armée de l´Air. The second option is a desert-camouflaged machine that in the winter of 1987-88 took part in the Chad campaign, and the last one is a grey-green painted CR Mirage that saw action over the former Yugoslavia, operating in 1999 from Solenzara base, Corsica and participating in recce missions over Kosovo as a part of NATO launched Operation Allied Force.