Atlas Cheetah (Wallpaper 1) aircraft photo gallery | AirSkyBuster

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Atlas Cheetah (Wallpaper 1)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Atlas Cheetah fighter jet Wallpaper 1
image dimensions : 1092 x 682
Atlas Cheetah (Wallpaper 1)
1. Photo wallpaper gallery of Atlas Cheetah fighter jet aircraft. 1. Atlas Cheetah fighter jet aircraft pictures and images collection.
The Atlas Cheetah is a fighter aircraft currently operated by the Ecuadorian Air Force. It was operated by the South African Air Force (SAAF) between 1986 and 2008. It was first built as a major upgrade of the Dassault Mirage III by the Atlas Aircraft Corporation (later Denel Aviation) of South Africa (established 1965) in South Africa. Three different variants were created, the dual-seat Cheetah D, and the single-seat Cheetah E and Cheetah C. The Cheetah E was retired in 1992, and the SAAF had a mixture of 28 Cheetah Cs and Cheetah Ds in operational service until April 2008, when they were retired as the SAAF accepted into service the first of 26 Saab JAS 39 Gripens (17C/9D) which replaced them. The Atlas Cheetah programme grew out of South Africa's requirement for a modern fighter and strike aircraft in the 1980s. There was a need for more advanced aircraft to attain an edge over the ever more sophisticated Soviet aircraft such as the MiG-23 being supplied to Angolan and Cuban forces in action against South African forces in the Border War. Furthermore, the increasing cost of maintenance due to sanctions and the age of the aircraft used by the SAAF had to be addressed. The arms embargo imposed at the time by United Nations Security Council Resolution 418 prevented South Africa from purchasing new aircraft from other countries, thus making an upgrade of existing aircraft the only option. By this stage, the South African aviation industry had reached the level of technical capability to make a large and sophisticated upgrade possible, leading the SAAF to make the only possible decision, to radically upgrade one of the existing types in service. At the time the SAAF's fast jet fleet consisted of Dassault Mirage III (EZ/CZ/BZ/DZ/D2Z/RZ/R2Z) aircraft and Mirage F1 (AZ/CZ) aircraft. Though the Mirage F1s were the most modern of the fleet, having been delivered from 1977 onwards, they were the primary element of South Africa's air defence and strike fleet and to withdraw them for an upgrade would have left an unacceptable gap in its air defence and strike capability. In addition there were already a few successful Mirage III upgrades from which to learn, such as the Kfir and Mirage III NG, so the SAAF's Mirage III fleet was chosen as the basis for the upgrade, to be known initially as Project Cushion.

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