Mirage F1s will train US Air Force fighter pilots

In 2014, the last Mirage F1 of the French Air Force were retiring after four decades of good and loyal service. Until the end, this single-jet fighter from Dassault Aviation will have continued to prove itself, in particular by carrying out strike and reconnaissance missions in Mali. Too specialized, and no longer able to integrate the most recent weapon systems, the Mirage F1CR (reconnaissance) and F1CT (tactical support) will be replaced in the field by refurbished Mirage 2000s, much more efficient Rafales and even by new Reaper drones purchased in the United States.

However, the cells of the last French Mirages were still in excellent condition when they left active service. Aware of the potential of these devices, the French authorities decided to place the Mirage F1 "in cocoons", thus sparing them breakage while waiting for them to find buyer on the second-hand market. But rather than reselling the cells to African or South American air forces, the Ministry of the Armed Forces decided in 2017 to resell around sixty Mirage F1 cells to the private American company ATAC, of ​​the Textron group. And a few days ago, ATAC was selected by the Air Combat Command of the US Air Force to provide combat training capabilities for the benefit of American F-16 and F-35 pilots, via its fleet of refurbished Mirage F1s.

ATAC only spent 20 million euros for the acquisition of its 63 Mirage F1. Nevertheless, the cells will have undergone a complete overhaul involving many French, European and American companies, not to mention the maintenance costs for the years to come.

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