|This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2009)|
|Role||Fighter/ground attack aircraft|
|National origin||South Africa|
|Manufacturer||Atlas Aircraft Corporation|
|Status||Cancelled in 1991|
|Primary user||South African Air Force|
The Atlas Carver (sometimes erroneously referred to as "CAVA") was a project launched in the 1980s by the South African Atlas Aircraft Corporation to replace the aging Canberra, Buccaneer, and Mirage III in the South African Air Force. The Atlas Cheetah was a total upgrade of the Mirage III, but it was only an interim solution until the late 90's when the Carver would have entered into service. The project was necessated by the arms embargo imposed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 418 against Apartheid South Africa of the time.
The Carver project was canceled in 1991. President Frederik Willem de Klerk mentioned its cancellation in parliament along with the six nuclear weapons in the early 1990s. Upwards of 10 billion Rand had been spent on the project already as well as a mock-up to test systems placement. Comprehensive wind tunnel tests and a host of related work had been completed. Apparently construction of a prototype had either commenced or was about to commence. In 1987, towards the end of the research and test phase, some Israeli engineers made redundant by the Lavi cancellation were recruited onto the Carver project, leading to speculation that it would be a Lavi lookalike.
No official pictures or conceptual artwork of any possible prototypes/models are available publicly. However, a number of aviation enthusiasts have imagined the fighter in artwork or created models in the public realm. These works include a model resembling the Dassault Mirage 2000, and sketches of fighters that look similar to the Dassault Mirage 4000 and Rafale.
- "South Africa drops fighter development". Flight International. 19 February 1991. Retrieved 2009-07-27.
- "ATLAS CAVA (South Africa), AIRCRAFT – FIXED-WING – MILITARY". Janes's All The World's Aircraft 1990–91.
- "South Africa plans new twin-engined Fighter". Flight International. 6 May 1989, p. 2.
- "South Africa drops fighter development". Flight International, 13–19 February 1991. p. 11.