The Museum’s collection of European Cold War jets is one of the most comprehensive collections in existence. With several aircraft maintained in ground running order, visitors often comment on how authentic this collection is. The opportunity to acquire ex military jets is a long and complex process, so we are thrilled today to announce the official signing of a unique transfer agreement that will bring a French nuclear bomber to the Museum.
It was announced today that the French Minister of Defence in Paris, M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, has formally signed the transfer agreement of a huge Dassault Mirage lVA jet aircraft to the Allied Air Forces Memorial & Yorkshire Air Museum based at Elvington, near York.
This is the first time that a strategic nuclear bomber has been gifted directly to an independent Museum of a different nation, and reflects the reputation of the Museum/Memorial and its close connections with the French Air Force, being the former location of the only two French heavy bomber squadrons of WWll, with over 2300 French airmen based there during the war.
The huge delta winged Dassault Mirage lVA is 23.5m (77′) long and 11.85m (39′) wide. It weighs 31 tonnes and flew at speeds up to Mach 2.2 about 1,100 mph (2124kph). 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 destined for display at the Museum was originally on display at the huge Cité 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, Her Excellency, Mdme Sylvie Bermann, said, “I am delighted to add my congratulations to the Allied Air Forces Memorial at Elvington upon the announcement that our Minister of Defence has agreed to the gift of one of France’s most iconic aircraft, the Mirage lV, in recognition of the close ties between our two nations.”
Museum Director, Ian Reed, who began negotiations for the transfer of the jet with the French Government in 2007, said today, “I would like to thank the French Government, diplomatic staff from the French Embassy and the French Air Force based both in Britain and Paris and aviation associates as far away as Dubai for their efforts in helping us over the last 9 years, to make this unique and historic project happen.”