The Super Mystère represents the final step in evolution which began with the Dassault Ouragan and progressed through the Mystère II/III and Mystère IV.
The first Western European fighter to exceed Mach 1, the Super Mystere was an extension of the previous Mystere IV, and became the single-seat, swept-wing, jet-powered fighter-bombers, originating from France. A total of 180 were produced from 1956 to 1959. The Super Mystère did not achieve the same success in production as its predecessor, the Dassault Mystere IV, but was in long-term use with the French Air Force, and subsequently in service with both Israel and Honduras.
The Super Mystère represents the final step in evolution which began with the Dassault Ouragan and progressed through the Mystère II/III and Mystère IV. While earlier Mystère variants could attain supersonic speeds only in a dive, the Super Mystère could exceed the speed of sound in level flight. This was achieved thanks to the new thin wing with 45° of sweep, and the use of an afterburner-equipped turbojet engine.
The finished version had a single seat at the aft of the nose-mounted intake, and under a lightly-framed canopy. It held an overall length of 46.3 feet with a wingspan reaching 34.5 feet and a height of 15 feet. Empty weight was 14,100lb, with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of 22,000lb. The SNECMA Atar 101G-2 offered 7,500lb of dry thrust output, and up to 9,920lb of thrust with afterburning engaged.
Performance included a maximum speed of 745 miles per hour, about Mach 1.12, and a combat range out to 540 miles. Its service ceiling reached 56,000 feet and rate-of-climb was an impressive 18,000 feet-per-minute.
In terms of weapons, the Super Mystère was equipped with 2 30mm DEFA 552 autocannons, with 150 projectiles afford per gun. The aircraft could carry 2 Matra rocket pods. Early airframes housed a 35-count 68mm retractable ventral rocket pack but this was soon dropped from production. Provision also included support for air-to-air missiles, including the American “AIM-9 Sidewinder”. There were four hardpoints in all and these were cleared to carry conventional drop bombs, rockets, mission pods and fuel drop tanks, up to 5,000lb.
The French Air Force made use of the Super Mystere for two decades, finally giving them up in 1977. Some of the stock was then sold to Israel who took delivery of thirty-six in 1958 and these saw combat in the 1967 “Six Day War” as well as the subsequent “Yom Kippur War” of 1973 where they gave good service – even against enemy MiG-19 fighters. In 1976, Honduras bought 12 complete Super Mystère airframes from Israel. In 1979, Honduras purchased four more aircraft, where they ended their days.
In 1973, the Israeli Air Force and Honduras Air Force upgraded their Super Mystère B.2s with a non-afterburning version of the Pratt & Whitney J52-P8A, extended tailpipe, and new avionics. In Israeli service these upgraded SMB.2s were also known as the IAI Sa’ar, meaning “storm”.