The Dassault Mirage IIIO is a single-engine, single-seat, supersonic fighter first flown in 1956 and introduced in 1961. The Australian Mirage IIIO is an Australian-constructed variant of the Dassault Mirage IIIE, but with different avionics. The Government Aircraft Factory produced three types of Mirage IIIO; the Mirage IIIO(A) attack variant, the Mirage IIIO(F) interception variant, and the Mirage IIIO(D) two-seat trainer. Over time, the (F) variants were converted to the (A) in between 1967 and 1979.
The Mirage IIIO(F) is a relatively inexpensive air superiority fighter available to ANZAC and BLUFOR decks. It carries twin 30mm DEFA 550 cannons, two R.550 fire-and-forget air to air missiles, and a single R530 long-range radar guided missile to round off its weapon compliment. The Mirage IIIO(F)'s weapon loadout allows the type to be used as an expedient interceptor and to attack enemy helicopters. The twin DEFA 30mm cannons give the Mirage IIIO(F) some tactical flexibility, allowing the type to follow up its missile attacks or to strafe ground targets. The Mirage IIIO(F) has several drawbacks, namely its lack of ECM and small missile compliment. With no ECM on board, the Mirage IIIO(F) is much more vulnerable to attacks from long range SAMs and AAMs. Also, the type carries only three missiles, making sustained aerial combat difficult. At 70 points per aircraft, these drawbacks are not prohibitive.