MIRAGE IIIS HA PILOT, 1979
The Swiss AF used the Mirage III between 1967 and 2003, in the fighter version until 1999 (36 Mirage IIIS - MIRO) and as a Recce platform until 2003 (18 Mirage IIIRS - AMIR - "Aufklärer MIRage ). For training purposes, initially four examples of the two-seater version Mirage IIIBS (EMIR -"Einführung MIRage") purchased, followed by two Mirage IIIDS in 1983 to replace two aircraft lost in crashes.
For high altitude (HA) intercept missions, the Mirage IIIS pilots issued with French equipment or equipment manufactured in Switzerland under French license .
Over a first layer of underclothes the pilot wore an (Etudes et Fabrications Aeronautiques) EFA-25 ventilated suit, followed by a partial pressure suit (Aerazur) ARZ 30 with an EFA T-21 helmet. For protection purposes a (Société Générale des Parachutes)
SGP-21 leather suit worn over the pressure suit.
Completing the equipment an ARZ-33 (or ARZ-34) life preserver and a pair of standard Swiss made pilot shoes. Despite the ARZ 30 being provided with connections for inflatable pressure gloves, only standard Swiss made grey leather gloves worn.
Called the "Habit de Lumière" ('Shining Suit'), this equipment was initially used with the same configuration as with the French Armée de l'Air, but would subsequently (as usual) be modified:
- Most likely with the start of production of SGP-21 in Switzerland, by the application of a new leg pockets design with map clip, notepad holder and differently shaped zip, similar to those found on flight suits.
- By fitting a survival kit strap holder. Is to note that at the beginning a similar strap holder was attached to the life preserver, but being uncomfortable for obvious reasons, this arrangement was rather short-lived.
- Finally by adding a pocket for the Flugwaffe jet pilots standard weapon of the era, the Walther PPK-L, "Fliegerpistole 65", fitted to the rear of the right leg.
Completing the equipment are an Aerazur ARZ-33 life preserver, a pair of standard Swiss made "Pilotenschuhe 63" and a pair of "Finger Handschuhe" (leather finger gloves)
The ARZ-30 is a partial pressure suit made of nylon. The suit is provided with adjustment lacing (the pictured suit has never been adjusted, due to this the loose laces) and an integrated inflatable bladder secured to the suit with snap fasteners. If required, the suit's inflatable bladders apply pressure to the chest, abdomen, back and partially to arms and legs.
Given the nature of HI ALT missions, the use of anti-g garments was not foreseen;
The Swiss AF also decided not to use pressurized gloves. This explains the fact that the pressure feed hoses connectors blanked by aluminium plugs.
Small Pictures below:
- inflatable gloves' inoperative pressure connector
- details of the helmet's rear and front hold-down harness
The ARZ-25 it was tested but never entered in service.
The ventilated suit was intended to increase the comfort of the pilot strapped into the aircraft during QRA shifts; a mobile cooling unit fed the ventilated suit. It had to be disconnected by ground personnel before the start-up procedure.
During the flight, no direct cooling was provided to the pilot and the ventilated suit connector was stored under the ARZ 30 suit.
The LH upper large picture shows the front side of the suit with the cooling unit connector and suit cooled air distribution harness.
The LH lower large picture shows the rear side of the suit with the
suit-to-helmet cooling hose and connector.
Small Pictures below (clockwise)
- ARZ-30 cooling unit connector zipped exit
- ARZ-25 to EFA T-21 helmet collar cooling connectors
- detailed view of connectors