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jafa39
Topic Author
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South African Built Jet Fighter

Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:16 am

A South African friend of mine was telling me about a SA built fighter jet called a Black Panther. I can't find any info on it anywhere....is he yanking my chain or did it really exist??
 
LY744
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:23 am

They had some Mirage (or Mirage-Kfir) derivative, the "Cheetah". Try Googling that.


LY744.
 
jafa39
Topic Author
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:47 am

Quoting LY744 (Reply 1):
They had some Mirage (or Mirage-Kfir) derivative, the "Cheetah". Try Googling that.

I'll do that...ta!
 
hunterson
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:12 am

Yes,it is indeed a derivative of the Mirage family.The South Africans called it the Cheetah, and built it in two versions, a single seater and a two seater.They incorporated a lot of the modifications which the Israelis had introduced when developing the Kfir, especially the canard foreplanes and the "drooped" nose.

However, it differed from the Kfir by its engine. The Israelis installed an American J79(same engine useg on the F-4E Phantom) on the Kfir. The South Africans, on the other hand, opted for an up-rated French SNECMA Atar 9K, similar to the one used to power the Mirage F-1( which they were using at the time) , to replace the older , and less powerful Atar-9C,which used to power their original Mirage-3E, from which the Cheetah was derived.

At the end, the Cheetah looked and performed very much like a Kfir ( the same applies also to the Panthera, developed by Chile from the Mirage-5), and it is still in service with the SAAF, as its main front-line fighter, pending its replacement by the more advanced Gripen, 24 of which are on order.
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:24 am

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 3):
However, it differed from the Kfir by its engine. The Israelis installed an American J79(same engine useg on the F-4E Phantom) on the Kfir. The South Africans, on the other hand, opted for an up-rated French SNECMA Atar 9K, similar to the one used to power the Mirage F-1( which they were using at the time) , to replace the older , and less powerful Atar-9C,which used to power their original Mirage-3E, from which the Cheetah was derived.

Isn't there a new re-engining program where the South Africans are installing the same motors off the Mig-29?
 
hunterson
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:58 am

Replying to L-188

Not as far as I know. There was some thinking along these lines,ie.re-engining MiG-29s with Atar-9Ksinstead of their original Russian RD-33s, some years ago. But, as far as I am aware, nothing happened on that front, and the SAAF went on to order 24 SAAB-39 Gripens along with a similar order for Hawk fighter-trainers to replace its Cheetahs and MB-326 Impalas respectively.
I am not sure if the South Africans are still offering the re-engined MiG-29 as an option for other customers who might be interested in such a modification,though,certainly that remains possible.
Perhaps someone might have more info on this.
 
md90fan
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:39 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 4):
Isn't there a new re-engining program where the South Africans are installing the same motors off the Mig-29?



Quote:
Among the rare western aircraft on display at Zhukovskiy, the Mirage F.1AZ in SAAF markings was definitely the most exotic one. This fighter, powered by a Russian SMR-95 engine (modernised MiG-29 RD-33 engine) is able to carry four R-73E AA-11 'Archer' air-to-air missiles. Named the Super Mirage F.1, it has been developed in co-operation by Klimov and Vympel in Russia and by Aerosud and Marvotech in South Africa. During the early nineties, the SAAF had considered the upgrade of its Mirage F.1 with the help of Russia, but the co-operation agreement broke down just after the first materials had been shipped. However, a single airframe (n°216) had been modified, early in 1994. As the Russian jet engine had been shipped back to Russia, Mirage n°216 went to Zhukovskiy by Il-76. The Super Mirage, again mated with a Russian engine, made its first test flight from Zhukovskiy on 9 August 2001, piloted by Major Johannes Joubert of the SAAF. It was claimed that it was the first flight of a foreign military aircraft to take place from this airfield. It remains to be proved, as for example, F-5s and A-37s were secretly tested in Akhtubinsk years before. Although the last SAAF F.1 were officially retired on 25 November 1997, negotiations between South African and Russian businessmen resumed in 2000, the objective now being to demonstrate the ability of the Russian aeronautical industry to upgrade western aircraft. Numerous countries are still flying the Mirage F.1, including 'rogue' ones, which cannot get any help from Dassault. South Africa has still 21 Mirage F.1AZs in storage at Waterkloof, waiting for a potential buyer. Armscor and Rosoboronexport are now responsible for the marketing of the Super Mirage, the price for the upgrade of a Mirage lying between three and four millions Dollars. This F.1 upgrade concept is however anachronistic: the upgrade of older aircraft most of the time concerns the avionics and the weapons systems rather than the engine. Compared to the SNECMA Atar 9K50 THAT'S the way to do flares!original engine (7,200 kn with AB), the SMR-95 engine is 300 kg lighter and more powerful (8,300 kn with AB). With 17,000 metres, the ceiling is 2,000 metres higher, whereas the range at cruising speed is augmented from 1,820 to 2,250 km. The maximum speed is voluntarily limited to Mach 1.8 (Mach 2.2 with the Atar engine). In any respect the flying display of that Super Mirage was quite more aggressive than that of an ordinary F.1.

http://www.airsceneuk.org.uk/airshow01/zhukovsky/Super-Mirage-F1.jpg
 
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Devilfish
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:32 pm

Here are the specs for Klimov's SMR-95 engine.....

http://en.klimov.ru/production/aircraft/SMR-95/

Quote:
"* The first Russian project involving the development of an engine for foreign fighters
* Successfully passed flight tests on the Super Mirage F-1 and Super Cheetah D-2 aircraft
* Power class: 8000 – 9000 kgf


Principal specifications of SMR-95:

Full afterburning performance (H=0, М=0):

thrust, kgf

8300

Maximum performance without afterburning (H=0, М=0):

thrust, kgf

8300

Length, mm

5440

Maximum diameter, mm

1040

Weight at delivery, kg

1295
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:46 pm

Interesting conversion.

Does anybody have any photos of the tail end of that bird or know if it is the standard "feathers" that the Mig-29 has?

If it is the later somebody probably makes a resin detail set.

Might make a great 1/48th scale model conversion.
 
hunterson
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:17 am

A very interesting story indeed. I have always heard of the proposed plans to re-fit MiG-29s with Atar-9Ks, but not of Mirage F-1s fitted with RD-33s. This obviously turns the whole story upside down !

Is there any more info about this bird, eg. its service status (if any), or how many have been modified in this way ?

Also, if there is any data on its performance with the RD-33 compared to the original Mirage F-1 ?
 
A342
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Tue Sep 11, 2007 4:30 am

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 9):
I have always heard of the proposed plans to re-fit MiG-29s with Atar-9Ks

Who on earth proposed that!?!
 
hunterson
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 2:02 am

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:13 am

The South Africans !!
This was the original idea.
 
A342
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:41 pm

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 11):
The South Africans !!
This was the original idea.

But they didn't even have a single MiG-29! And why on earth would you replace technology from the 1970s with that from the 1950s? This doesn't make sense at all.
 
hunterson
Posts: 140
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:28 am

It does sound rather strange, I agree with you. And even stranger was the idea to fit RD-33 engines on Mirage F-1s.
I think they were just " toying" around with all these proposals for a relatively brief period during the 1990s, in their quest to update the combat element of their airforce, and replace their Cheetah fighters. Eventually, of course, they selected the SAAb-39 Gripen.
 
A342
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Thu Sep 13, 2007 2:22 am

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 13):
And even stranger was the idea to fit RD-33 engines on Mirage F-1s.

No, certainly not. Have a look at reply 6 to see the advantages.
 
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Devilfish
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RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:27 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 8):
Does anybody have any photos of the tail end of that bird or know if it is the standard "feathers" that the Mig-29 has?

Only photo available from the DB is of the modded Cheetah D.....

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Martin Pole



Quoting Hunterson (Reply 9):

Is there any more info about this bird, eg. its service status (if any), or how many have been modified in this way?

As far as can be gathered, apart from the F.1AZ, No. 847 (cn 205) was the only Mirage III which underwent the SMR95 engine modification. CG issues and funding cut halted the program. The airframe is in storage with Denel.
 
hunterson
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 2:02 am

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:06 am

Thanks very much indeed to DEVILFIISH for the photos and the quite precise info which serves to clarify the situation on
this matter.

As for A342( reply 14), I really do not think that any Mirage F-1 pilot who flew that extremely good fighter with its original Atar -9K engine in the French Air Force, or Greek, or Spanish , or Jordanian, etc..., would have been very keen to get it replaced by the early variants of the RD-33. Yes they would have gotten an extra couple of thousands pounds of thrust, but at a cost of 600 hours TBO ( Time Between Overhaul ), compared to 2400-3000 for the French engine, and at more than double the specific fuel consuption (sfc), thus cutting the range/radius of action/endurance in half?
I
think that would have been very doubtful indeed !!!
 
L-188
Posts: 29881
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 1999 11:27 am

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:36 pm

Quoting DEVILFISH (Reply 15):
Only photo available from the DB is of the modded Cheetah D.....

That is the airplane I was thinking of.......unfortunately the photo isn't of it's arse.

I think we have the dueling specs here.

Quoting MD90fan (Reply 6):
Compared to the SNECMA Atar 9K50 THAT'S the way to do flares!original engine (7,200 kn with AB), the SMR-95 engine is 300 kg lighter and more powerful (8,300 kn with AB). With 17,000 metres, the ceiling is 2,000 metres higher, whereas the range at cruising speed is augmented from 1,820 to 2,250 km. The maximum speed is voluntarily limited to Mach 1.8 (Mach 2.2 with the Atar engine). In any respect the flying display of that Super Mirage was quite more aggressive than that of an ordinary F.1.



Quoting Hunterson (Reply 16):
As for A342( reply 14), I really do not think that any Mirage F-1 pilot who flew that extremely good fighter with its original Atar -9K engine in the French Air Force, or Greek, or Spanish , or Jordanian, etc..., would have been very keen to get it replaced by the early variants of the RD-33. Yes they would have gotten an extra couple of thousands pounds of thrust, but at a cost of 600 hours TBO ( Time Between Overhaul ), compared to 2400-3000 for the French engine, and at more than double the specific fuel consuption (sfc), thus cutting the range/radius of action/endurance in half?

So who is right.
 
A342
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Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:05 pm

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:42 pm

Quoting Hunterson (Reply 16):
Yes they would have gotten an extra couple of thousands pounds of thrust, but at a cost of 600 hours TBO ( Time Between Overhaul ), compared to 2400-3000 for the French engine, and at more than double the specific fuel consuption (sfc), thus cutting the range/radius of action/endurance in half?

It may be true that early RD-33s have a TBO of only 600 hours, but there's no way that the Atar, a turbojet whose origins date back to WWII, has a TBO of 2400-3000 hours. Maybe that's the total life of late versions, but certainly not the TBO.

Regarding the SFC: I think your sources show the Atar SFC in dry mode and that of the RD-33 with afterburner engaged. That's the only way you could arrive at the (false) conclusion that the RD-33s SFC is twice as high as the Atar's. Or it is given in different units.
If you designed a turbofan fighter engine which has a worse, or even the same SFC as a comparable turbojet, then you REALLY messed up. It's almost impossible.
 
hunterson
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon May 28, 2007 2:02 am

RE: South African Built Jet Fighter

Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:07 pm

Replying to A342

Please do not get me wrong. The MiG-29 is certainly one of the best fighters of its generation. There is absolutely no doubt about that. On the other hand, it did suffer its particular drawbacks, just like any other fighter would ( after all no one is perfect ! ).
These drawbacks , as any one would tell you, mainly had to do with the low reliability of its engines in their early RD-33 form, as well as its relatively short range, due to the high spc of those engines, plus the rudimentary standards of its maintenance requirements ( ask the Indian Air Force if you do not believe me ! ) .
All of those shortcomings were addressed in the latter versions of that fine and extremely potent fighter. But that did not apply, either by time scale or operationl parameters, to the South African ideas of either putting an RD-33 on a Mirage F-1, or putting a couple of Atar-9ks on a MiG-29.
I believe that the whole exercise was a bit of a " pie in the sky ". After all, and as you said quite rightly, the SAAF never had access to either MiG-29s or RD-33s in any quantities enough to make either of the two ideas operationally viable.
At the end, the SAAF selected the SAAB-39 Gripen as itg future fighter.
Now , and thinking about it in hindsight, perhaps they would have been much better of had they chosen the hugely improved multi-role MiG-29M instead. But, that of course, as they say, is another story !!!

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