Atlas Cheetah C Fighters for Ecuador

 - July 16, 2010, 1:08 AM
Atlas/Denel converted 38 Mirage IIIs to the Cheetah C variant from ex-Israeli airframes. This aircraft is seen just before the fleet’s retirement, and is armed with R-Darter active-radar missiles. (South African Air Force)

Reports from Ecuador state that the nation is close to acquiring nine Atlas Cheetah C fighters from South Africa. The South African Air Force retired nearly 30 of the much-modified Mirage IIIs in 2008 to free up funds for the introduction of the Gripen, and the aircraft were made available for export through Denel and Armscor. A proposal was made to Ecuador last August, and it is understood that a formal RFP has to be raised and responded to before a final contract is signed. The Cheetahs are to replace Ecuador’s Mirage F1 fleet, and will operate alongside IAI Kfir CE fighters, with which they have much in common, including Elta EL/M-2032 radar. The Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana also operates around six Mirage 50EVs from 10 recently donated by Venezuela.