Revised: February 1, 1999
Copyright © 1997-1999 by Juan Carlos Barroux R.
After El Salvador bought 18 ex-Israeli Avions Marcel Dassault MD.450 Ouragan fighter-bombers in 1973, the FAH negotiated a contract for some ex-Israeli Avions Marcel Dassault Super Mystère B2 as part of the arms race between El Salvador and Honduras caused by the "Soccer War". Honduras was in such an urgent need of fighters that it was decided not to wait for the slow negotiations with the Israelis and eight Yugoslavian Canadair CL-13 (basically North American F-86E Sabres) were bought just before Israel agreed to the sale of their fighters.
A batch of 5 was first bought arriving in Honduras middle of 1976 with former IDF/AF Lt-Col. Shlomo Shapira as an employee of IAI in charge of the training of the Honduran pilots. Lt-Col. Shlomo Shapira was incidently not only the first israeli pilot to fly the Super Mystère B2 in 196? but also flew the plane with great success during the Operation Moked and was in command of Squadron 105 during the Yom Kippur war, the only IDF/AF unit equipped with the fighter during that war. In the end, Lt-Col. Shlomo Shapira also trained the Hondurans in the use of the Canadair CL-13 Sabres.
The government of the United States of North America was not very pleased with this move as the engines were of American manufacture and this was an area where their goal was to contain the risk levels of agression.
Another batch of 5 Super Mystère B2 was bought latter (197?) with the first 2 arriving in 1976, 1 in 1977 and the last 2 at the end of 1978.
In 197? Honduras bought the last remaining 6 aircrafts, with only 2 staying in Israel as museum pieces.
They were the first supersonic aircrafts of the FAH and are somewhat unique in the sense that they were reengined by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) with non-afterburning Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8A engines instead of the original Snecma Atar 101G-3. The new engine was not only lighter than the original but also had nearly half of the fuel consumption rate. The only issue was that it was longer which lead IAI to extend the fuselage of the Super Mystère B2. Another important modification was the addition of launch rails for the IAI Shafrir missiles on the wings next to the fuselage.
These aircrafts were assigned to the Escuadrilla de Caza based at Base Aérea Coronel Héctor Caracciolo Moncada (La Ceiba) of which they still belong. Until the arrival of the F-5E Tiger II in March 1988 the Super Mystère B2 were in charge of the air defense of the whole country. They where quite involved in the incidents near the frontier with Nicaragua during those years and the typical operation mode would be for the A-37 Dragonfly to made bombing runs while the Super Mystère B2 would provide top cover.
On September 13, 1985 an incident with Nicaraguan Sandinistas troops that were in hot pursuit of Contra elements inside Honduras territory resulted in a Fuerza Aérea Sandinista (FAS) Mi-8 shot down by an IAI Shafrir missile fired from a Super Mystère B2 and in a Mi-24 damaged by gun fire also from a Super Mystère B2.
The surviving planes got a complete refurbish in 1985 by the MAP (San Angelo, Texas, USA) company.
The arrival on the F-5E Tiger II in March 1988 made this old fighter less important in the defense of Honduras and by 1992 only 7 Super Mystère B2 remained in active service.
The last Super Mystère B2 of the FAH were retired on January 27, 1996 due to the lack of spare parts with four of them (FAH 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2014) giving a flying display.
In an interesting twist of history, the FAH decided at the end of 1997 to refurbish the remaining eight aircrafts and to put them again in active service. The modernisation would be quite complete with a new Martin Baker ejection seat, new navigation equipment (Collins BLF-Omega), a new radar from GE and a completely new hydraulic system. It is still not clear if this program had been completed given the usual budget limitations and the few hours likely to remain in the airframes.
One could ask on the opportunity of such an extravaganza when it would be far more effective to upgrade the F-5E Tiger II fleet (like the F-5+ Tigre III Chilean program), and then one would have to assume that this option is not doable. The rumored transfer of part if not of most of the Hondurans F-5E Tiger II fleet to Chile would nicely fit as a potential explanation for this modernisation program.
Designation: Super Mystère Manufacturer: Avions Marcel Dassault Dassault, France; modified by IAI, Israel. Crew: 1 Seats: Engine: 1 x Pratt & Whitney J52-P-8A Engine Type: Engine Thrust: kN ( Kg force) Length: m Height: m Wing Span: m Wing Area: square meters Empty Weight: kg Max. Weight: kg Max. Speed at Sea Level: km/h Max. Speed at 36,000 ft: km/h Max. Cruising Speed: km/h Normal Cruising Speed: km/h Ceiling: Range on Internal Fuel: km Range with Max. Fuel: km Range with Max. Payload: km Combat Radius: km () Radar: EW: Avionics: Weapons: Notes: S/N C/N Unit Built Bought Disposition Notes FAH 2001 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2002 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2003 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2004 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2005 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2006 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2007 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2008 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2009 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- (IDF/AF 25) FAH 2010 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2011 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2012 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2013 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2014 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2015 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2016 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2017 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2018 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2019 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2020 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 -- FAH 2021 -- Esc. de Caza -- Feb/75 --
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Copyright © 1997-1999 by Juan Carlos Barroux R.
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