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Thread: What is the best looking French combat aircraft made so far?

  1. #1
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    What is the best looking French combat aircraft made so far?

    You ask this question to the Russophiles, they will nearly unanimously say the Flanker is the top (although the Su-57 Fazor might take that spot soon)
    You ask the MAGA-kids, they will likely say the Raptor, Eagle or Falcon, with a few old school guys pointing to the Starfighter or Phantom II
    Swedes will also nearly unanimously say Draken

    So how about France (which is almost synonymous with Dassault Baguette)?
    Is it the F1? the Rafale? the M2K?

  2. #2
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    Definitely has to be the Grognard...

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    On a more serious note, it is a toss up between the F1 and the Sud Aviation Vautour.



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  3. #3
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    This or that..


  4. #4
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    State of the art for its time.
    Graceful lines.
    A true beauty.
    Last edited by djcross; 6th January 2018 at 12:29.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Mirage IV

  8. #8
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    Obviously to me, the Nord Aviation Griffon*, a first in the long run attempt to fit turbo-ramjet technology in an operational fighter jet.

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    But the mighty IV is definitively on the top 5 too.


    *Here is a good summary (in Fr)
    Last edited by TomcatViP; 7th January 2018 at 09:07.

  9. #9
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    Objectively it has to be Mirage 2000. But I have always had a soft spot for Etendard IV.


  10. #10
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    I would go with the Mirage III/2000. Very clean and simple. I've always thought the Mirage F.1 was the best overall average fighter design that wasn't a stovepipe. Question is who borrowed who's design France (Mirage III/V) or the U.S. (F-102/106)?

  11. #11
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    The Mirage 4000.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yama View Post
    Objectively it has to be Mirage 2000. But I have always had a soft spot for Etendard IV.

    The Étendard always looked odd when they added that ugly nose strake. The original IVM prototype was a classic transonic design though:



    Anyway 60 years from breaking the world long distance speed record in Jan 1958 (speed over 1,000km) to dropping its last bomb over Iraq in 2017. And still going in Argentine service. A classic.
    Last edited by H_K; 7th January 2018 at 23:09.

  13. #13
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    I would go with the Mirage III/2000. Very clean and simple. I've always thought the Mirage F.1 was the best overall average fighter design that wasn't a stovepipe. Question is who borrowed who's design France (Mirage III/V) or the U.S. (F-102/106)?
    F-102 lineage is older by few years, dating back to XF-92 in late '40s. However delta wing itself was based on Lippisch's research which independently influenced both XF-92 and its contemporaries Gloster Javelin and Fairey Delta. So I don't think it can be said French were borrowing US delta wing designs. French likely did benefit from US research on area rule, which was used in both Mirage and Etendard designs. Though, even area rule research was pioneered by Germans.

    Anyway 60 years from breaking the world long distance speed record in Jan 1958 (speed over 1,000km) to dropping its last bomb over Iraq in 2017. And still going in Argentine service. A classic.
    And the original Étendard was heavily based on even older Mystere IV (resemblance is very notable with first prototypes which did not yet have area ruled fuselage). Amazing how much mileage (kilometreage?) they squeezed out from the design.
    Pity that Avon-engined Étendard never sold, performance would have been much better.
    Last edited by Yama; 8th January 2018 at 00:18.

  14. #14
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    French likely did benefit from US research on area rule, which was used in both Mirage and Etendard designs. Though, even area rule research was pioneered by Germans...

    ... And the original Étendard was heavily based on even older Mystere IV (resemblance is very notable with first prototypes which did not yet have area ruled fuselage
    Er, even the Super Etendard Modernisé, the last version, has a nice straight fat fuselage... never seen or read anything speaking about area rule applied to it

  15. #15
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    Can't decide between Rafale C, Mirage IV or Mirage F.1...

  16. #16
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    Er, even the Super Etendard Modernisé, the last version, has a nice straight fat fuselage... never seen or read anything speaking about area rule applied to it
    It is area ruled, just not as aggressively as say Mirage 2000:

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    Contrast this to first generation Etendard prototype which had rounded cigar-shaped fuselage like Mystere and Ouragan:

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    Last edited by Yama; 8th January 2018 at 12:49.

  17. #17
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    Mirage 4000

  18. #18
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    I think I'd give the M2K (especially the twin seater) a slight edge over the single seat Rafale

  19. #19
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    For me it's this view of the Rafale that marks it out as different:

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    It almost looks like it's alive.

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