Mirage 2000 of IAF Being Upgraded
The Cabinet Committee on Security on Wednesday authorized the long delayed $2.5 billion deal for modernizing 51 Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft, over four years after the Indian Air Force suggested an overhaul. French defence firms Dassault Aviation (aircraft manufacturer), Thales (electronic systems company) and MBDA (missile systems group) will provide the fighters with new avionics, missiles, radars, electronic warfare suites, glass cockpits and helmet-mounted displays sensors.
The air force needs the improve system India’s costliest ever to increase the life span of the French-origin multi-role fighters by 20 years. Price discussions were one of several factors holding up the deal.
The improve consists of equipping the fighters with MBDA’s MICA air-to-air missiles for beyond visual range capacity. The Mirage 2000 modernize is really a critical programme for the air force that’s been hamstrung by depleting combat prospective — its fighter squadron durability appears about 34 compared to the sanctioned 39 and half.
Dassault Aviation can also be angling for the air force’s $10.2-billion tender for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA), India’s biggest military contract.
The competition has reduced to Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon (a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies), once the defence ministry rejected the bids of Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet), Lockheed Martin (F-16 Super Viper), Saab (Gripen) and Russian Aircraft Corporation’s MiG-35.
In an interview to HT in June, air force chief Air Chief Marshal PV Naik had informed that this IAF could lose its combat advantage more than competition within the neighbourhood within the next Ten years if it failed to keep pace using its modernisation targets.
The Mirage 2000 upgrade deal will be the second big-ticket contract secured by France — six Scorpene submarines are now being constructed in the Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Limited with transfer of technology from French firm DCNS, within Rs 18,798-crore programme called Project 75.
Former IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Major said, “The Mirage 2000 is a vital airplane in the air force’s fleet once the Sukhoi-30. The upgrade is vital as we remain a few years far from inducting the MMRCA and the light combat aircraft.”