French Jet Arrives At British Museum

The 77-foot-long and 39-foot-wide Dassault Mirage IV nuclear strike Cold War bomber has been gifted by the French Air Force.

A French nuclear bomber has arrived at its new home in the UK, after being gifted by the French Air Force.

The 77-foot-long and 39-foot-wide Dassault Mirage IV has been gifted to the Yorkshire Air Museum in Elvington.

It left France earlier this week, and after a long journey over land and sea it has reached its new home.

The museum was once the site of RAF Elvington, where around 2,300 French personnel served at the base during World War Two.

Elvington was home to the only two French Heavy Bomber Squadrons of the allied air forces.

At the end of the war, the two squadrons returned to France and became the founding members of the modern French Air Force.

Mirage IV Bomber
A total of 66 of the aircraft were built, and operated as strike and reconnaissance planes during the Gulf and Afghanistan wars.

The gift marks the significant role Elvington played in the history of the French Airforce.

After 12 years of negotiation, the team signed the final paperwork allowing the bomber to be transferred to its new home.

"This is a tremendous day for us. The most exciting thing about this gift is that its probably France's most iconic aircraft of the 20th century," says Ian Reed, Yorkshire Museum Director.

"It was the fastest jet ever built by Western Europe, and it's very, very rare."

"It is a beautiful example. It's come straight out of a museum in Paris, so it is in excellent condition," he said.

"France couldn't give us a better gift."

Sandrine Bauchet from the museum says: "Everyone is very excited about the Mirage coming.

"Everyone's been waiting for a long time. We've known about it for 12 years."

The bomber attracted a fair amount of attention as the fuselage wings and wheels - not to mention the 732,000 bolts - made their way from Chateaudun Air Force base south-west of Paris to its new home in Yorkshire.

The bomber will now be unloaded and the process of putting her back together will begin on Sunday.

Pictures courtesy: Yorkshire Air Museum.