IAF’s first upgraded Mirage 2000 takes off
Over two years after the $2.9-billion deal was signed, the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) first upgraded Mirage 2000 multi-role fighter made its debut flight in its new avatar on October 5 at the Istres Air Base in France. In July 2011, the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a deal with Dassault Aviation, Thales and the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to upgrade 51 Mirage 2000 H/TH fighters from three IAF squadrons in Gwalior with new avionics, the Thales RDY-2 multi-mode radar and MBDA Mica air-to-air missiles.
Dassault sources said the flight was successful and that all systems were checked out perfectly. The flight was piloted by a Dassault test pilot who reported that the upgrade made the aircraft in line with the ‘Dash-5’ configuration, pushing the Mirage 2000 to the upper strata of fourth-generation capabilities, with a rudimentary swing-role capability as well.
Most of the Mirages will be upgraded by HAL under licence in Bengaluru.