Atlas Cheetah

The Atlas Cheetah was a fighter aircraft 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) 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 with No.2 Squadron SAAF based at Louis Trichardt until 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 Cheetah retains the exterior of the famous French fighter, but within, it is modernized for combat against any opposition.

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