SAAF Atlas Cheetah
The SAAF desperately needed a fighter with which to tackle the Mig 23 threat in the skies over Angola during the Angolan Bush War. It was only superior SAAF pilot training that allowed the Mirage III, Mirage F 1 CZ and Mirage F 1 AZ pilots to survive combat against ever increasing number of Mig 21’s and 23’s that were flown by Angolan and Cuban pilots. However the Mirage III fleet were showing their age and it was decided to upgrade the Mirage III fleet with new avionics, radar, cockpit displays early warning equipment. Much of these upgrades were locally designed but some were produced with the aid of the Israeli’s. Thus the Cheetah shared similarities with the IAI Kifr. However, the Cheetah was supposed to have been replaced by the Atlas Carver air superiority fighter that would have been able to take on the Mig Fulcrum. The Carver project was cancelled due to the changing political climate in the early 1990’s in SA.
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