The Mirage – 2000 By  French Dassault Aviation

Multi-Role  Multi-Mission Combat Fighter Aircraft 

The Mirage 2000 is a multi-mission, multirole fighter aircraft developed by French company  Dassault Aviation. The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a delta wing , single-engine Fourth Generation fighter aircraft and designed to replace the Mirage III already in service with the French Airforce.

The Mirage 2000 is in service with the French Airforce since 1984 and the first operational squadron was also formed in the  same year on the eve of  50th anniversary of the French Air Force.

The Dassault has exported Mirage 2000  to many countries which  include India , Taiwan , Abu Dhabi, Greece, Egypt, Qatar  and Peru. The total of almost 600 Mirage’s is currently operational worldwide which makes it one of the most successful fighter planes in Dassault clan.

The Design Phase :

The Mirage 2000 was initially conceptualized in 1965 and  planned to be designed in collaboration with Britain under joint venture project  “Anglo-French Variable Geometry” ( AFVG ) which was designed to be a  swing-wing aircraft.

After working for two years on this project the French Dassault decided to exit from this project on the grounds of cost and other differences. The Dassault had already done substantial work on delta wing model which is based on variable-geometry aircraft design.

On the other hand , Britain decided to join the hands with west Germany  and Italy , After the French exit from  “Anglo-French Variable Geometry”  project and started work on to produce the Panavia Tornado aircraft .

Subsequently, Dassault also experimented with twin-engine version of Mirage G8 but this aircraft turned out to be very expensive as compared Mirage F1 and this design was later on cancelled . By  1988  the nnuclear-capable Mirage 2000 N was also operational . This variant was designed  to carry the Air-Sol Moyenne Portée (ASMP) nuclear stand-off missile capable.

Indian Air Force Mirage 2000
Indian Air Force Mirage 2000

Design Specifications  And Technical Features :

Although  Mirage 2000  inherits its legacy from Mirage III but these are two totally different aircraft.

Mirage 2000 Technical Features
Origin Country France
Different Variants Mirage 2000 C , Mirage 2000 D , Mirage 2000 N
Single Seater , Double Seater
Maximum Speed Mach 2.2 For High Altitude , Mach 1.1 for Low Altitude
Range 1550 km ( 837 nmi, 963 mi) with Drop Tanks
Design Shape Delta Wing with clipped tips but Without Canard wings
No Of Engine Single Engine
Engine Type SNECMA M 53 P2 Jet Engine / 9.7 t with afterburner
Role Multi-role , Multi-mission , All weather day and night  missions capability . Designed for both Air Superiority and Ground Attack .
Maximum Weight 17,500 KG , 17.5 Tons
Maximum Armamane Weight 5,900 kg ( Mirage 2000C )
6,200 kg ( 9 store stations) ( Mirage 2000D)
Maximum Ceiling Above 50,000 feets (  16,500 Meters )
Armaments Ait-To-Ground Anti Ship Missile :  2  AM.39 Exocet By MBDA
Short Range Air-To-Air  Missile :  2 ARMAT, 2 R.550 Magic ( 885 nm )
Short Range Air-To-Air  Missile : Matra Super  R.530D (885 nm)
Medium Range Air-To-Air  Missile : MBDA MICA IR / RF
LGB And Missiles :  AS 30 L , GBU – 12 , 16 , 24 , 49
Avionics Thomson-CSF RDY (Radar Doppler Multi-target) radar (Mirage 2000-5)
Weapon Hardpoints Total  nine hardpoints for carrying weapon system payloads

India Acquired Mirage 2000  :

The Indian government approved the acquisition of  Mirage 2000  for Indian Air Force ( IAF )  in response to the induction of F-16 in Pakistani Air Force  provided by the US . India placed the order with Dassault Aviation in October 1982  for two squadrons of  Mirage 2000 Hs which consist of  36 single-seat planes and  4  twin-seat  Mirage 2000 THs which is a trainer version . The first squadron of Mirage 2000 became operational in Indian air force on 29th June 1985 .

Dassault Mirage 2000
Indian Air force Mirage 2000

The Indian government were  negotiating with the French government  for the acquisition of  total 150 planes . As per this plan, the two squadrons  were to be purchased in flyaway condition and the remaining would be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ( HAL ) under license .

However , this plan was scraped due to political reasons mainly due to Russia being the largest supplier weapons to India. The Indian government instead  decided to acquire Soviet Su 30 MKI air superiority fighter in substantial numbers . Later on India  started locally  manufacturing Su 30 MKI under license and  this number is close to 250 planes assembled by the HAL .

Mirage 2000 in Action During India Pakistan Kargil war 1999

The  Kargil war is the fourth armed conflict between India and Pakistan fought in the hilly regions of Kargil  district of Kashmir in 1999 . The Kargil war started by Pakistan by infiltrating into the Indian Kashmir and occupying the Indian posts located along the hills of Kargil. These forward posts are  vacated by the Indian army every year due to extreme cold weather conditions .

Taking advantage of these vacant Indian posts ,  the Pakistani soldiers disguised as Kashmiri militants infiltrated into these vacant positions on the Indian side of the LOC ( Line Of Actual Control ). By the time these Pakistani act of aggression is noticed by the Indian side , Pakistani soldiers had already taken well-entrenched positions.

The Indian army launched a massive counterattack to evict the Pakistani soldiers from these Indian posts . In this Kargil war , the Indian Air Force ( IAF ) extensively used French Built Mirage 2000 . During the Kargil war, Indian Air Force used Mirage 2000 for both Ground attack and reconnaissance operation. The IAF Mirage 2000 targeted the Pakistani Positions with Laser-Guided Bombs with pinpoint accuracy. These attacks by Mirage 2000 were very effective and caused heavy losses to the Pakistani army during the Kargil war.

Mirage 2000
Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 In  India Pakistan  Kargil War 1999

The Indian Mirage 2000 Upgrade :

After three decades of service with IAF , the Indian government finally decided to upgrade the Mirage 2000 . These upgrades were a major upgrade and the negotiations for these upgrades  lasted for almost seven years with the French government .

The Indian government  signed an agreement for $2.1 billion with French companies Thales and Dassault Aviation in July 2011 for up-gradation of 51  Mirage 2000Hs  currently being operated by the  IAF .

As per this contract , these OEM ( Original Equipment Manufacturer ) companies will upgrade the Indian the 51  Mirage 2000 to Mirage 2000-5 standard. The agreement also includes the supply of the latest systems and sub-systems as per the specifications specified in the agreement.

Under this contract, 4 planes have already been upgraded in France and the remaining 47 planes would  be upgraded by HAL as per the contract . A separate agreement for $900 million has also been signed with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ( HAL )  in 2011 to carry out the up-gradation program for remaining 47 Mirage aircraft in India.

As per the contract , the French OEM companies Thales and Dassault Aviation were contracted as a lead integrator for the upgrade program. The French company MBDA  would provide the latest  weapons package for this upgrade program.

The scope of the upgrade program includes :

  • Installation of new mission computers .
  • New Pulse Doppler Radar, ( Now New AESA Radar )
  • Advanced Navigation And Electronic Warfare systems,
  • Advanced Communication Systems .
  • Latest identification Of Friend Or Foe system.
  • New Two Lateral Cockpits Displays .
  • Advanced Head Down Display systems .
  • Latest Night Vision Goggle Glass Compatible Cockpits.
  • New Electronic Warfare Suit .
  • New Radar Warning receivers For Missile.
  • Electronic Counter Measures .
  • Latest Weapons Developed by French MBDA .

Watch  Mirage 2000 In Action :