Dassault delivered the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) first two upgraded Mirage 2000’s on March 25th., at Istres military base near Marseille ( southern France ). This is the first step in the contract, signed in July 2011, with the French manufacturer of € 1.6 billion for the modernization of 51 Indian fighter jets. Under the terms of the agreement, the first two units will serve as models for the following ‘planes, which will be upgraded in India by HAL ( Hindustan Aeronautics Limited ), a leading aeronautics group in the country.
In service for nearly 30 years, the Indian Mirage 2000’s needed to integrate new technologies. The new version has a modernized cockpit, including three colour control screens that can display the fighter’s flight instruments and its environmental information. The radar system has also been improved. Faster and more accurate, it can better distinguish friendly from enemy aircraft, and track several targets at once. If it is itself targetted by a homing missile, the new Indian Mirage 2000 is also equipped with a missile decoy ( flares ) system in its tail.
This update should allow the Indian fighters to remain in service for a further 20 to 25 years. This technology transfer is a good indication of the co-operation between Dassault and India, who are still negotiating a sales contract for 126 Rafales.
Eric Trappier - CEO, Dassault Aviation :
"All the work is now 95%complete. The result is a multi-thousand page contract, and now we have to go through it the with the Indian Ministry of Defence, what we do with the Indian Ministry of Defence at the moment.’’
This enormous task has already taken three years, following on from the Mirage 2000’s modernization contract negotiations, which took ten years to come to fruition.