The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire 24 second-hand Mirage 2000 fighters, made by Dassault Aviation, in an attempt to strengthen its ageing fleet of the fourth-generation fighters and also secure parts for its two existing squadrons of the aircraft. IAF has initialled a contract worth 27 million euros to buy the fighters, eight of which are in ready-to-fly condition, the people cited above added. That works out to a per-aircraft acquisition cost of 1.125 million euros. IAF purchased Mirage 2000 C and B fighters way back in 1985 with a maintenance contract that expired in 2005. It signed another contract in 2015-2016 with the French original equipment manufacturer.
Until the Narendra Modi government took the decision of acquiring the 4.5 generation Rafale fighters (also from Dassault), the Mirage 2000 was India’s front-line fighter, a position it has held since the Kargil war. The Indian Air Force Mirage fleet is undergoing a mid-life upgrade with the trigger for the acquisition of the second-hand aircraft being the immediate need for 300 critical spares. In September 2021, France agreed to sell its ageing fleet of Mirage 2000 at 1 Million Euro per plane to India, raising one squadron.
The aircraft is becoming obsolete in France, they added, and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaduaria decided to go in for the purchase. Out of the 24 fighters to be bought, 13 are in ready to fly condition, 8 with intact engine and airframe shall fly after servicing, the remaining 11 fighters are partially complete but with fuel tanks and ejection seats, which will be scavenged to secure parts for IAF’s two existing squadrons of the fighter. The purchase highlights the importance of shifting spare parts and engine supply chains to India for future acquisitions as fighters abroad reach obsolescence much faster than in India.
The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engined, fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was designed in the late 1970s as a lightweight fighter to replace the Mirage III for the French Air Force (Armée de l’air). The Mirage 2000 evolved into a multirole aircraft with several variants developed, with sales to a number of nations. It was later developed into the Mirage 2000N and 2000D strike variants, the improved Mirage 2000-5, and several export variants. Over 600 aircraft were built and it has been in service with 9 nations.