This extraordinary aircraft is heading our way.
The huge Dassault Mirage IVA will soon take pride of place at the Allied Air Forces Memorial & Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington, near York. It has been signed over to the museum by the French Minister of Defence in Paris, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian.
This is the first time that a strategic nuclear bomber has been gifted directly to an independent museum of a different nation.
The decision reflects the reputation of the museum and memorial and its close connections with the French Air Force. It was once the location of the only two French heavy bomber squadrons of the Second World War, with more than 2,300 French airmen based there during the war.
The huge delta winged Dassault Mirage lVA is 23.5m (77ft) long and 11.85m (39ft) wide. It weighs 31 tonnes and flew at speeds up to Mach 2.2 about 1,100mph.
It will be the only Mirage IV on display in Britain and it is hoped the aircraft will be delivered to the Yorkshire Air Museum at Elvington soon.
The aircraft was originally on display at the Citée des Sciences Museum in Paris (Europe’s largest science museum) as France’s iconic super jet.
The huge aircraft is currently at an air force base near Paris and is likely to be shipped over to Britain where it will be re-constructed on the site of the former French air base at Elvington.
French ambassador to the UK Mdme Sylvie Bermann said:
Museum director Ian Reed, who began negotiations for the transfer of the jet with the French Government in 2007, was thrilled by the news. He said:
Last year the museum was formally acknowledged by the European Union as “The Allied Air Forces Memorial”, which undertakes significant memorial events across UK and Europe.