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 4 examples of the two-seater version Mirage IIIBS (EMIR -"Einführung MIRage") were purchased, followed by 2 Mirage IIIDS in 1983 to replace two aircraft lost in crashes.
For high altitude (HA) intercept missions, the Mirage IIIS pilots were issued French equipment or equipment manufactured in Switzerland under French license .
Over a first layer of underwear the pilot was wearing a (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 was worn over the pressure suit.
Completing the equipment is 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 were 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:
- by the application of a new leg pockets design with map clip, notepad holder and differently shaped zip.
- 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.
The Swiss AF decided not to use pressurized gloves. This explains the fact that the pressure feed hoses connectores were blanked by aluminum plugs.
Small Pictures below (clockwise)
- details of the helmet's rear and front hold-down harness
- inflatable gloves' inoperative pressure connector
The ARZ-25 ventilated suit was fed by a mobile cooling unit.
This device was switched on and connected to the suit for the comfort of the QRA strapped-in pilot and 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 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