Developed in the wake of the Suez crisis (1956) to provide France with an autonomous nuclear strike capability, the Mirage IV was a twin-engine twin-seater supersonic bomber. It offered a range of 4,500km with in-flight refueling. It entered operational service and on October 8th, 1964, achieved the first nuclear alert at Mont de Marsan air base 118. Dassault was prime contractor for the complete weapon system: aircraft, navigation and bombardment system, as well as the nuclear weapon envelope and separation.
The Mirage IV 01 made its first flight on June 17th, 1959 at Melun-Villaroche, flown by Roland Glavany. The production aircraft was operated by the French Strategic Air Forces (FAS) between 1964 and 1996.
The external resemblance of this strategic bomber to the Mirage III is striking, particularly the delta wing.
The aircraft presented is number 9. This aircraft was the only one to drop the atomic bomb for a French bomb-release evaluation and nuclear test, on July 19th, 1966. The aircraft, flown by Commander Dubroca assisted by Captain Gaubert, took off from Hao (French Polynesia) and dropped an AN 21 bomb at an altitude of 15,000 meters, at a speed of Mach 2, over the Mururoa atoll. The operation, named “Tamouré”, validated the airborne strategic nuclear weapon system. This aircraft can be seen today, now decked out in camouflage, at the Air and Space Museum in Le Bourget.
With the Mirage IVA, Dassault Aviation paved the way for aircraft carrying nuclear weapons. The Mirage 2000Ns, followed by the Rafale B, remain the guarantors of the nuclear deterrence policy within the FAS.