- Dassault Mirage 2000
Mirage 2000 A Mirage 2000-5F of the French Air Force Role Multirole fighter National origin France Manufacturer Dassault Aviation First flight 10 March 1978 Introduction November 1982 Primary users French Air Force
Indian Air Force
United Arab Emirates Air Force
Republic of China Air Force
Number built 601 Unit cost US$23 million Developed from Dassault Mirage III Variants Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D
Dassault Mirage 4000
The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a French multirole, single-engine fourth-generation jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation. It was designed as a lightweight fighter based on the Mirage III in the late 1970s 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. The variants include the Mirage 2000N and 2000D strike variants, the improved Mirage 2000-5 and several export variants. Over 600 aircraft were built and it is in service in nine countries as of 2009.
The Mirage 2000 evolved from a series of Dassault projects performed from 1965 to 1975. The first in this series was a project known as the "Anglo-French Variable Geometry (AFVG)" swing-wing aircraft, begun in 1965. The collaboration was a fiasco, with the French pulling out in 1967. The British stayed with the concept and formed another collaboration with the Germans and Italians, which eventually produced the Panavia Tornado multirole combat aircraft.
Dassault then worked on several new concepts evolved from the "Mirage G" variable-geometry experimental prototype, resulting in a sophisticated design with the designation "Avion de Combat Futur (ACF / Future Combat Aircraft)". The French Air Force developed a requirement for developing the Avion de Combat Futur (ACF) (French: "Future combat aircraft") in the early 1970s. Dassault offered its twin-engine Super Mirage for the ACF requirement. However, the Super Mirage was to be too costly and was canceled in 1975.
Mirage 2000 project
Dassault had been working on other fighter options in the meantime, partly because the export potential of the ACF was not promising. These alternatives were smaller, simpler, and cheaper than the ACF, and took the form of a number of "Mini-Mirage (Mimi)" concepts. These concepts congealed into an aircraft known at first as the "Super Mirage III", then the "Delta 1000", "Delta 2000", "Super Mirage 2000", and finally just "Mirage 2000".
The ACF was a strike aircraft first and an interceptor second, while the Mirage 2000 was exactly the reverse, but the Mirage 2000 was much more affordable. So When the ACF was cancelled, Dassault offered the single-engine Mirage 2000 as an alternative and was given approval to proceed by the French government on 18 December 1975. This was a return to the first generation Mirages, but with several important innovations that tried to solve their shortcomings. Project chiefs were B.C. Valliéres, J.Cabrière, J.C. Veber and B.Revellin-Falcoz.[volume & issue needed]
There was another important reason for Dassault to push the Mirage 2000. Development of this small aircraft would also give the company a competitor to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, which had defeated the Dassault Mirage F1 in a contest for a new fighter for the air forces of Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands and Norway. Small single-engined fighters were clearly the most appreciated by foreign customers, as experience with the larger, twin-engined Mirage 4000 would show.
Radar development was critical in the Mirage 2000 project. Despite many obstacles, Marcel Dassault felt that a prototype could be flying in a year and a half, with operational introduction in 1982. In fact, the program was delayed, but by the standards of modern defense programs it was not all that big a schedule slip.
The prototype made its first flight in 10 March 1978 with test pilot Jean Coreau at the controls. Despite all the new technologies applied, basing the new aircraft on the Mirage III allowed the development of a prototype in only 27 months from the program start to the first flight.
In that summer, at the Farnborough Airshow, this machine displayed not only excellent handling capabilities, but also a full control at 204 km/h and 26 degree angle of attack. This was totally unexpected in a delta-wing fighter, and proved how CCD controls were capable of overcoming the delta wing shortcomings related to poor low-speed control, while retaining the advantages, such as low-drag, low radar cross section, ideal high speed aerodynamics and simplicity, provided by the absence of horizontal tail surfaces. The Mirage 2000 was one of the stars of that airshow and became the direct adversary for the F-16, which shared the CCD control and relaxed stability. The 02 Prototype followed in 18 September 1978 and 03 in 26 September 1979. After 400 hours of flight, they were sent to CEV (Centre d'Essais en Vol). The 04 Prototype was a demonstrator made by Dassault for its own purposes, and finally the first dual-seat Mirage 2000B flew in 11 October 1980.
The first production example flew on 20 November 1982, and the aircraft went into operational service in November 1982. They were practically pre-production aircraft, because they had no SARH missiles (RDM-1 radar) and the first model of SNECMA 'Super Atar' M-53-2.
Improvements and changes
Using the concept of the delta wing interceptor seen on the Dassault Mirage III, Dassault built a new fighter jet design. This configuration is not ideal with regard to maneuverability, low-altitude flight, and distance required for take-off and landing, but has advantages in high-speed flight characteristics, simplicity of construction, low radar signature and internal volume.
The Mirage 2000 features a low-set thin delta wing with cambered section, 58 degrees leading-edge sweep and moderately blended root; area-ruled; two small canard wings, fixed, placed just behind the air intakes. The flight controls on the wings are: four elevons (+15/-30°), four slats.
Its neutral point is in front of its center of gravity, giving the fighter relaxed stability to enhance maneuverability. It was the first fighter jet to incorporate negative stability and fly-by-wire controls in its design. An airbrake is fitted above and below each wing in an arrangement very similar to that of the Mirage III. A noticeably taller tailfin allows the pilot to retain control at higher angles of attack, assisted by the small strakes mounted along each air intake.
A runway arresting hook or a fairing for a brake parachute can be fitted under the tail. The landing roll is reduced by robust carbon brakes. The backward-retracting, steerable nose gear features dual wheels, while the main gear features single wheels and retracts inward into the wings.
A fixed removable refueling probe can be attached in front of the cockpit, offset slightly to the right of center.
Multi-spar metal wing; elevons have carbon-fiber skins with AG5 light alloy honeycomb cores; carbon-fiber/light alloy honeycomb panel covers avionics bay; most of the tailfin and all of the rudder are skinned with boron/epoxy/carbon; the rudder has a light alloy honeycomb core.
Flight control system
The aircraft has a redundant fly-by-wire automatic flight control system, providing a high degree of agility and easier handling, together with stability and precise control in all situations. The fighter's airframe is naturally unstable, and so it is coupled with FBW commands to obtain the best agility; however, in override mode it is still possible to exceed a 270 deg/sec roll rate and allows the aircraft to reach 11 g (within the 12 g structural limit), instead of 9 g when engaged. The system is reliable with no known losses due to its failure.
The aircraft uses a retractable tricycle type landing gear by Messier-Dowty, with twin nosewheels and a single wheel on each main gear. Hydraulic retraction, nosewheels rearward, main units inward. Oleo-pneumatic shock absorbers. Electrohydraulic nosewheel steering (+/-45 degrees). Manual disconnect permits the nosewheel unit to caster through 360 degrees for ground towing. The landing roll was reduced by using robust carbon brakes.
The fighter is available as a single-seat or two-seat multi-role fighter. The pilot flies the aircraft by means of a centre stick and left hand throttles, with both incorporating hands-on-throttle-and-stick (HOTAS) controls. The pilot sits on a SEM MB Mk10 zero-zero ejection seat (a license-built version of the British Martin-Baker Mark 10). Unlike in the F-16, the pilot sits in a conventional position, without the steep backward slope of the F-16 seat. The cockpit is quite small, and there is no bubble canopy. Despite this, the cockpit visibility is quite good, but less than the F-16, especially in the 'six o'clock' (rearwards-looking) position.
The instrument panel (in the Mirage 2000 C) is dominated by a Sextant VE-130 Heads Up Display which presents data relating to flight control, navigation, target engagement and weapon firing, and the VMC-180 radar screen located centrally below it. To the lower left is a stores management panel, above which are the navigation instruments and altimeter. The right half of the instrument panel accommodates the engine and systems displays. Located on the left side of the cockpit, just ahead of the throttle, are controls for the communications equipment, including the Have Quick secure radio.
Avionics for the Mirage-2000B/C include the Sagem ULISS 52 inertial navigation system (INS), TRT radio altimeter, Dassault Electronique Type 2084 central digital computer, Digibus digital data bus and Sextant Avionique Type 90 air data computer. The communication equipment package includes the LMT NRAI-7A IFF transponder, IO-300-A marker beacon receiver, TRT ERA 7000 V/UHF com transceiver, TRT ERA 7200 UHF or EAS secure voice communications.
Thomson-CSF RDM multi-mode radar or Dassault Electronique/Thomson-CSF RDI pulse-Doppler radar for the Mirage 2000C/D, each with an operating range of 54 nm (100 km / 62 miles). This unit was an evolution of Cyrano radars, with more modern processing units and look-down/shoot-down capabilities. The effective range is around 60–70 km with modest capabilities against low-level targets. It is linked with Super R.530F missiles, and equipped the first 37 aircraft delivered to the French Air Force and most exported Mirages. It has multirole capabilities that enable its use in air-to-surface tasks, including anti-ship roles. The very early RDM were still not linked with the Super R.530F missiles, but it was solved quickly. Some recent export versions of the aircraft carry the Thales RDY (Radar Doppler Multitarget) developed for the Mirage 2000-5.
The Mirage 2000 is equipped with the Thales Serval Radar warning receiver (RWR) with antennas on the wingtips and on the rear of the top of the tailfin. It is also equipped with the Dassault Sabre RF jammer in a pod below the bottom of the tailfin, with the antenna in a fairing on the front of the tailfin. The Dassault Éclair dispenser system under the tail was eventually replaced by a pair of Matra Spirale dispensers, each fitted on the extensions behind the rear of each wingroot, giving a total capacity of 224 cartridges.
The new and powerful SNECMA M53 afterburning bypass turbojet engine was developed for the ACF, and was available for the Mirage 2000 project. The Mirage 2000 is equipped with a SNECMA M53-5 (first 37 airplanes), or SNECMA M53-P2 low-bypass ratio turbofan engine, depending on the aircraft version, which provides 64 kilonewtons (14,000 lbf) of thrust dry and 98 kilonewtons (22,000 lbf) in afterburner. The air intakes are fitted with an adjustable half-cone-shaped centerbody, which provides an inclined shock of air pressure for highly efficient air intake. Total internal fuel capacity is 3,978 litres (1,051 US gal) in the Mirage 2000C and E, and 3,904 litres (1,031 US gal) in the Mirage 2000B, N, D and S. There are also provisions for a jettisonable 1,300-litre (340 US gal) centerline fuselage fuel tank and for a 1,700-litre (450 US gal) drop tank under each wing.
Armament and payload
The Mirage 2000 is equipped with built-in twin DEFA 554 (now GIAT 30–550 F4) 30 mm revolver-type cannons with 125 rounds each. The cannons have selectable fire rates of 1,200 or 1,800 rounds per minute. Each round weighs 275 grams (9.7 oz) and has a muzzle velocity of around 800 metres per second (2,600 ft/s).
The Mirage 2000 can carry up to 6.3 tonnes (14,000 lb) (or 7 tonnes for −9 version) of stores on nine pylons, with two pylons on each wing and five under the fuselage. External stores can include Matra Super 530 medium-range semi-active radar-guided air-to-air missile on the inboard wing pylons and underbelly, and Matra Magic short-range infrared-seeking AAM on the outboard wing pylons. Other short-range missiles such as the AIM-9J/L/P are compatible and are often used on Mirages which have been exported, because Magic itself was meant as 'Sidewinder compatible'. The Mirage 2000C and later versions can carry the lighter, more advanced MBDA MICA instead of the Super 530D.
French Mirage 2000s were used during the Gulf War as well as in UN and NATO air operations during the Bosnian War and the Kosovo War. During Operation Deliberate Force, on 30 August 1995, one Mirage 2000D was shot down over Bosnia by a 9K38 Igla shoulder-launched missile fired by air defence units of the Army of Republika Srpska, prompting efforts to obtain improved defensive systems. Both pilots were captured.
Armée de l'Air Mirage 2000Ds later served with the International Security Assistance Force during the conflict in Afghanistan in 2001–2002, operating in close conjunction with international forces and performing precision attacks with laser-guided bombs. In summer 2007, after the Rafale fighters had been removed from the theater of operations, 3 French Mirage 2000s were deployed to Afghanistan in support of NATO troops.
French Mirage 2000s have been committed to enforcing the no-fly zone in Libya as part of Opération Harmattan.
Egypt was the first export buyer, ordering 16 single-seat Mirage 2000M and four 2000BM trainers in late 1981, with deliveries beginning in 1986. The Egyptians also purchased ATLIS II pods and a wide range of appropriate munitions, including Magic and Super 530 AAMs, AS-30L laser-guided air-to-surface missiles (ASMs), and Armat anti-radiation missiles (ARMs).
One lost in a training accident. Egypt originally planned to buy another squadron of Mirage-2000 fighters but financial problems prevented this, so Egypt signed a contract with France to upgrade the fighters and they were supplied by new ECM system. Currently Egypt operates 18 Mirage-2000 (82nd fighter squadron of the 252 fighter brigade) at Bir-Kit AFB in multi-role missions using AS-30L laser guided air-ground missiles and free fall bombs. Egyptian Mirage-2000 fighters train on aerial refueling with the French Air Force during several joint training programs.
Greece ordered 36 single-seat Mirage 2000EGs and 4 2000BG two-seat trainers. They featured an "ICMS 1" defensive countermeasures suite, an updated version of the standard Mirage 2000C countermeasures suite, characterized by two small antennas near the top of the tailfin. These Mirage 2000s were later modified to carry the Aerospatiale AM39 Exocet antiship missile. In 2000, Greece ordered a batch of 25 Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2 fighters. The order included 15 new-build aircraft and 10 upgrades from existing Mirage 2000EG, with aircraft featuring the SATURN secure radio. The Mirage 2000 production line was shut down in 2007 after the last aircraft was delivered to Greece in November 2007.
On 8 October 1996, 7 months after the escalation over Imia/Kardak a Greek Mirage 2000 fired an R550 Magic II and shot down a Turkish F-16D over the Aegean Sea. The Turkish pilot died, while the co-pilot ejected and was rescued by Greek forces.
The only visual difference between the Mirage 2000-5 Mk 2 and the existing Mirage 2000EGM/BGM planes is a fixed IFR probe near the canopy. Mirage 2000-5 Mk 2 and 2000EG operate with 332 Squadron and 331 Squadron of 114 Combat Wing, based at Tanagra. Now it is uncertain if these two squadrons will be deactivated as a consequence of budget restrictions. If this is the case they may be sold to a foreign country (Brazil, Argentina, France).
IAF purchased 49 Mirage 2000s, including 42 single-seaters and 7 two-seaters in the 1980s. In 2004, the Indian government approved purchase of ten more Mirage 2000Hs, featuring improved avionics, particularly an upgraded RDM 7 radar. The IAF named the Mirage the "Vajra", loosely translated as "Thunderbolt". India also purchased appropriate stores along with the fighters, including ATLIS II pods and laser-guided weapons.
In 2006 it was reported that the Indian Air Force was close to finalizing a EUR 1.5 billion (about $2 billion) deal to upgrade its fleet of 51 Mirage-2000 ‘Vajra’ fighter jets. The aim was to give the aircraft more capabilities, bringing them to Mirage 2000-5 Mk 2 standard, and extending its useful life for another 20–25 years. Due to budget restrictions the contract has not been signed yet.
India has assigned the nuclear strike role to its Mirage 2000 squadrons in service with the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 1985. In 1999 when the Kargil conflict broke out, the Mirage 2000 performed remarkably well during the whole conflict in the high Himalayas, even though the Mirages supplied to India had limited air interdiction capability and had to be heavily modified to drop laser-guided bombs as well as conventional unguided bombs. Two Mirage squadrons flew a total of 515 sorties, and in 240 strike missions dropped 55,000 kg (120,000 lb) of ordnance. Easy maintenance and a very high sortie rate made the Mirage 2000 one of the most efficient fighters of the IAF in the conflict. There are reports that the IAF qualified Soviet-designed missiles with the Mirage 2000, such as the R-27 (NATO AA-10 Alamo) AAM.
In July 2011, India approved an $3 billion upgrade to its entire Mirage 2000 fleet and for over 400 MICA missiles.
Peru placed purchased 10 single-seat Mirage 2000P and two 2000DP trainers. The Peruvians ordered a set of munitions similar to that ordered by Egypt, along with ATLIS II targeting pods. The Peruvian Air Force flew Combat air patrol missions with its Mirage 2000 during the Cenepa war in 1995.
Republic of China
In 1992, the Taiwanese Air Force ordered 48 single-seat "Mirage 2000-5EIs" and 12 "Mirage 2000-5DI" trainers, with introduction of the first squadron in 1997 and the last fighters delivered in 1998. Taiwanese ordered a set of ASTAC electronic intelligence (ELINT) pods for their Mirages.
Republic of China (Taiwan) Air Force has used its Mirage 2000-5EIs in weapons testing and exercises. On 8 May 1998, a two-seat DI fired one MICA missile and successfully hit a target drone 67 km away. It was the first launch of the said missile outside France. The second MICA live fire exercise took place off the east coast of Taiwan on 29 March 2000.
On 21 July 2004, two Mirage 2000-5s from the 2nd TFW landed on the wartime reserve runway located at the Jenteh section of Highway No. 1 as part of the annual Han Kuang No. 20 Exercise. Mirage 2000-5DI 2051, piloted by Maj. Wei-Kuang Chang and Lt. Col. Juei-Chi Duan, and 2054, piloted by Lt. Col. Bin-Fu Wu and Capt. Jien-Liang Chen, took off from their home base Hsinchu Air Base. The two jets landed on the highway then taxied to the other end of the reserve runway to be refueled and re-armed with two Magic air-to-air missiles then shortly took off again.
In March 2010 it was reported that the Republic of China (Taiwan) had been provided over $3 million worth of parts and maintenance service because of an engine flaw in its Mirage 2000s. The engines had cracks in its blades which caused the air force to reduce flight usage.
United Arab Emirates
UAE purchased 22 single-seat Mirage 2000EAD; eight unique single-seat reconnaissance variants designated Mirage 2000RAD; and 6 Mirage 2000DAD trainers. The order specified an Italian-made defensive avionics suite that delayed delivery of the first of these aircraft until 1989.
Some years later UAE ordered 20 single-seaters Mirage 2000-9 and 12 two-seaters 2000-9D. These were equipped with a classified countermeasures system designated IMEWS. Initial deliveries of the UAE Mirages were in the spring of 2003. 30 of the older Mirage 2000EADs were also upgraded to Mirage 2000-9 capability.
The UAE Mirage 2000-9s use the Shehab laser targeting pod and the Nahar navigation pod, complementing the air-to-ground modes of the RDY-2 radar. The UAE is also obtaining the Black Shahine cruise missile, a variant of the APACHE. All 30 survivors of this first batch have been extensively refurbished and upgraded, bringing them to the same standard as Mirage 2000-9.
United Arab Emirates Mirage 2000s flew in the Gulf War, but saw little action. Six Mirage 2000s were to participate in the enforcement of the no-fly zone over Libya.
Currently the UAE is closer to order new Rafale strike fighters to equip its air force, and it has been reported that one of the requirements is that Dassault should buy back them or find a buyer for its Mirage 2000-9 fleet.
In July 2005, the Government of Brazil agreed to purchase 12 ex-French Air Force Mirage 2000 aircraft (ten "C" and two "B" versions). Deliveries began in September 2006 and concluded in June 2008. These received the designation "Mirage 2000BR". They operate with 1º Grupo de Defesa Aérea (1º GDA – 1st Air Defence Group), primarily in the air defence role but can also provide air-to-ground support and ground strike using unguided weapons.
Qatar bought 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5DAs (nine Single Seat and three two-seat ). Four Qatari Mirage 2000 fighter jets joined NATO operation over the Libyan zone of operations in 2011. These fighters fly from Crete, operating with French Mirage 2000s.
The first Mirage 2000 to go into service was the single-seat Mirage 2000C interceptor, C stands for Chasseur (Fighter) variant. There were four single-seat prototypes, including the initial Mirage 2000 prototype. The first production Mirage 2000C flew in November 1982. Deliveries began in 1983. The first operational squadron was formed in 1984, the 50th anniversary of the French Air Force. A total of 124 Mirage-2000Cs were obtained by the AdA.
The first 37 Mirage 2000Cs delivered were fitted with the Thomson-CSF RDM (Radar Doppler Multifunction) and were powered by the SNECMA M53-5 turbofan engine. The 38th Mirage 2000C had an upgraded SNECMA M53-5 P2 turbofan engine. The Radar Doppler Impulse (RDI) built by Thales for the Mirage 2000C entered service in 1987. It has a much improved range of about 150 km, and is linked to Matra Super 530D missiles, which are much improved compared to the older Super 530F. Look-down/shoot-down capabilities are much improved as well, but this radar is not usually used for air-to-surface roles. (Note that "look-down/shoot-down" often refers to being able to track and target another flying object at a lower altitude, rather than targeting an object on the surface itself.)
Upgrades includes the addition of the Non-Cooperative Target Recognition (NCTR) mode to the RDI Radar to allow identification of airborne targets not responding on IFF, integration for the Matra MICA IR heat-seeking missile, and the ability to carry air-to-ground stores such as Matra 68 mm rocket pods (18 each), Mk 80 series or French 250, 400, and 1000 kg iron bombs, and cluster bombs such as the Belouga or non-French models. Some variants, especially those equipped with the RDM radar (mainly used in export models) have the capability to use the Exocet anti-ship missile. Also, Indian Mirage 2000s have been integrated to carry the Russian R-73AE Archer missile and the indigenous Indian built Astra missile.
The Mirage 2000B is a two-seat operational conversion trainer variant which first flew on 11 October 1980. The French Air Force acquired 30 Mirage 2000Bs, and all three AdA fighter wings each obtained several of them for conversion training.
Mirage 2000N and 2000D
The Mirage 2000N is the nuclear strike variant which was intended to carry the Aerospatiale Air-Sol Moyenne Portee (ASMP) nuclear stand-off missile. Initial flight tests of two prototypes began on 3 February 1983, and the Mirage 2000N entered operational service in 1988. A total of 75 were built.
The Mirage 2000D is a dedicated conventional attack variant developed from the Mirage 2000N. Initial flight of the Mirage 2000D prototype, a modified Mirage 2000N prototype, was on 19 February 1991. The first flight of a production aircraft occurred 31 March 1993, and service introduction followed in April 1995. A total of 86 were built.
By the late 1980s, the Mirage 2000 was beginning to age compared with the latest models of U.S. F-16 fighters, so Thomson-CSF began work on a privately funded update of the Mirage 2000C which was to be named the Mirage 2000-5. A two-seat Mirage 2000B prototype was extensively modified as the first Mirage 2000-5 prototype, and it first flew on 24 October 1990. A Mirage 2000C prototype was also reworked to a similar standard, making its initial flight on 27 April 1991. The production aircraft entered operational service in 1997. A two-seat version was developed as well, whose rear seat has a HUD but not an associated head-level display and lacks a built-in cannon, although cannon pods can be carried.
Improvements included the Thales TV/CT CLDP laser designator pod as well as the Thales multimode RDY (Radar Doppler Multitarget), which allows detection of up to 24 targets and the ability to simultaneously track 8 threats while guiding 4 MICA missiles to different targets. Updates to defensive systems included the ICMS 2 countermeasures suite and the Samir DDM missile warning system. ICMS 2 incorporates a receiver and associated signal processing system in the nose for detecting hostile missile command data links, and can be interfaced to a new programmable mission-planning and post-mission analysis ground system. Avionics were also updated, using a new Night vision-compatible glass cockpit layout borrowed from the Rafale, a dual-linked wide-angle Head-up display, and HOTAS controls. The Mirage 2000-5 can also carry the oversized drop tanks developed for the Mirage 2000N, greatly extending its range.
Dassault needed an order from the AdA to help promote foreign sales and, in 1993, the AdA decided to upgrade 37 of their existing Mirage 2000s to the 2000-5 specification as a stopgap before the arrival of the Rafale in AdA service. The upgraded aircraft were redesignated Mirage 2000-5F, and became operational in 2000. They retained the old countermeasures system with the Serval/Sabre/Spirale units and did not receive the ICMS 2 system. The AdA is now considering upgrades for the type, including the MIDS datalink, MICA IR support, and the Thales Topsight helmet-mounted display and sighting system.
Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2
Dassault further improved the Mirage 2000-5, creating the Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2 which is currently the most advanced variant of the Mirage 2000. Enhancements to offensive systems included a datalink for the targeting of MICA ER missiles, the addition of the Damocles FLIR targeting pod, and a newer, stealthier Thales RDY-2 all-weather synthetic aperture radar with moving target indicator capability, which also grants the aircraft improved air-to-ground capability. The avionics were further updated with higher resolution color displays, an optional Topsight helmet-mounted display, and the addition of the Modular Data Processing Unit (MDPU) designed for the Rafale. A new Thales Totem 3000 inertial navigation system with ring laser gyroscope and GPS capability was added, providing much greater accuracy, higher reliability, and shorter alignment time than the older ULISS 52 navigation system which it replaced. Other upgrades included the addition of an on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS) for the pilot and an ICMS 3 digital countermeasures suite.
Further planned upgrades will include Thales AIDA visual identification pod, a GPS receiver, MIDS datalink, new long-range sensors, and the Topsight E helmet-mounted display. Other technology developed for the Rafale will also be integrated into the Mirage 2000, including infrared and optical sensors for IFF and targeting.
"Mirage 2000E" was a blanket designation for a series of export variants of the Mirage 2000. These aircraft were fitted the M53-P2 engine and an enhanced "RDM+" radar, and all can carry the day-only ATLIS II laser targeting pod.
Mirage 2000M (Egypt)
The Mirage 2000M is the version purchased by Egypt. Two-seat Mirage 2000BM trainers were also ordered.
Mirage 2000H (India)
India has acquired a total of 51 Mirages, which include 41 single-seater Mirage 2000Hs and 10 two-seater Mirage 2000TH trainers. Since India wanted the fighter quickly, the first part of an initial batch of 26 single-seaters and 4 two-seaters was shipped to the IAF beginning in 1985 with the older M53-5 engines. These aircraft were given the designations of Mirage 2000H5 and Mirage 2000TH5. The second part of this initial batch consisted of 10 more single-seaters with the M53-P2 engine, with these aircraft designated Mirage 2000H. All the first batch was reengined with the M53-P2, with the single-seaters re-designated "Mirage 2000H" and the two-seaters re-designated Mirage 2000TH. A second batch of six Mirage 2000H single-seaters and three Mirage 2000TH two-seaters was shipped in 1987–1988. A Total of 49 fighters were received.
In 2004, the Indian government (during NDA tenure), approved purchase of ten more Mirage 2000Hs, with improved avionics. The Mirage 2000-5 was a contender for a planned Indian Air Force 126 fighter aircraft procurement in which it was competing with the Mikoyan MiG-35, F-16 Fighting Falcon and JAS 39 Gripen. However, Dassault replaced the Mirage 2000 with the Rafale as its contender since the Mirage 2000 production line was to be closed. India received all 10 around 2007 during UPA tenure. The total purchase went up to 59.
India has announced a $1.9 billion program to arm 51 of its Mirage 2000 aircraft with the MBDA AIM-132 ASRAAM dogfighting missile beginning in 2007. Installation will require new radar, electronic warfare equipment, and updates to the cockpit and data bus. Pilot helmets will require addition of a helmet-mounted sight. These will be the first Mirage aircraft to carry the British missile and Dassault, Thales, and MBDA are to participate in the effort.
In March 2010, India and France finalized the long delayed deal to upgrade all of India's Mirage-2000H to Mirage-2000-5 Mk 2 variant with new radar systems, a new weapon suite, missiles, electronic warfare system etc. The first four to six Mirages will be upgraded in France, with the rest 50 or so being upgraded in India by Hindustan Aeronautics under transfer of technology. Under the upgrade, the entire airframe will be stripped down to be re-wired and re-equipped with new avionics, mission computers, glass cockpits, helmet-mounted displays, electronic warfare suites and of course weapon systems to extend and enhance the operational life of the multi-role fighters by around 20 years. In July 2011, India approved an upgrade to the avionics and other systems on its Mirage 2000s.
Mirage 2000P (Peru)
Peru placed an order for 10 single-seat Mirage 2000Ps and 2 Mirage 2000DP trainers. The Peruvians ordered a set of munitions similar to that ordered by Egypt, along with ATLIS II targeting pods.
Mirage 2000-5EI (ROC-Taiwan)
France announced in 1992 that it would offer Mirage 2000-5 fighters to the Republic of China (Taiwan). The number of aircraft was rumoured to be 120, but the deal was finalized at 60 aircraft on 17 November of that year. Of the 60 fighters, the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) would receive 48 single-seat Mirage 2000-5EI interceptors and 12 Mirage 2000-5DI trainers. The Taiwanese ordered a set of ASTAC electronic intelligence (ELINT) pods for their Mirages. This version of Mirage 2000-5 had the mid-air refuel ability as well as its ground attack ability deleted. This marks the first ROCAF purchase of French fighters since the arrival of 24 Dewoitine D.510C piston-engine monoplanes in 1937. The program was given the codename "Fei Lung" (Flying Dragon).
The ROCAF also obtained 960 MICA medium-range and 480 Magic II short-range air-to-air missiles from Matra. The former provides the Mirage with the BVR capability needed for its role as front-line interceptor. A number of centerline twin gun pods with DEFA 554 cannons were also acquired and fitted on the two-seaters, as they do not have an internal gun armament. Other support equipment, such as auxiliary fuel tanks, helmets, and G-suits, have also been procured.
The first batch of ROCAF Mirage 2000-5s, consisting of five aircraft, arrived at Hualien Harbor on the east coast of Taiwan by sea on 6 May 1997. After being unloaded, they were towed to Hualien AB, where they were unpacked and checked, and then flown to Hsinchu AB. Subsequent deliveries also followed the same procedure. The last ROCAF Mirage 2000-5 was delivered in an official ceremony on 26 November 1998.
All Mirage 2000-5s are operated by the 499th TFW at Hsinchu. The first unit to convert to the type, the 41st TFS, was commissioned on 1 December 1997. Subsequently the 42nd TFS was commissioned on 26 November 1998. The 499th TFW achieved initial operating capability (IOC) status on 10 May 2001, and the 48th TFS was commissioned on the same day.
On 1 November 2004, the 41st and 42nd TFSs were upgraded to the "Tactical Fighter Group" status, while the 48th TFS became the 48th Training Group, in the largest restructure undertaken by the ROCAF since 1999. At the same time, the original 11th TFG went into history.
There have been reports about the high costs and the low operational readiness for the RoCAF Mirages. Harsh environment and high operational tempo have put higher-than-expected tear and wear on Mirage 2000. The problems were also spare parts costs and operational expenses (around double than a F-16 or an IDF), flying costs, and faults with turbine blades. Minister of Defence Kao Hua-chu in October 2009 considered mothballing the entire fleet of Mirages. The fleet currently has 56–57 examples, with several already mothballed due to lack of spare parts. Rupture of engine blades has been a recent problem, dropping the amount of flying hours for Mirage pilots to only six in April 2009.
Recent efforts between the RoCAF and Dassault have managed to raise the operational readiness of the Mirages and have allowed the fleet to return to their normal training operations of 15 hours a month, which had dipped to 8 hours due to engine damage. Dassault compensated Taiwan in 2010 for engine damage to its Mirage 2000s, and the fighter jets have since been returned to their normal training operations
Mirage 2000-5EDA (Qatar)
Qatar ordered nine single-seat Mirage 2000-5EDA and three 2000-5DDA trainers, with initial deliveries in late 1997.
In 1994, Qatar ordered nine single-seat Mirage 2000-5EDAs and three Mirage 2000-5DDA trainers, with initial deliveries starting in 1997.
Mirage 2000EAD/RAD (UAE)
In 1983, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) purchased 22 single-seat Mirage 2000EADs, 8 unique single-seat Mirage 2000RAD reconnaissance variants, and 6 Mirage 2000DAD trainers, for a total order of 36 machines. The order specified an Italian-made defensive avionics suite that delayed delivery of the first of these aircraft until 1989.
The Mirage 2000RAD reconnaissance variant does not have any built-in cameras or sensors, and the aircraft can still be operated in air combat or strike roles. The reconnaissance systems are implemented in pods, including the Thales "SLAR 2000" radar pod, Dassault "COR2" multi-camera pod with visible and infrared imaging capability, and the Dassault "AA-3-38 HAROLD" telescopic long-range optical camera pod. The UAE is the only nation operating such a specialized reconnaissance variant of the Mirage 2000 at this time.
Mirage 2000EG (Greece)
Beginning in March 1985, Greece ordered 36 single-seat Mirage 2000EGs and 4 Mirage 2000BG two-seat trainers, as a part of the "Talos" modernization project. They feature an ICMS 1 defensive countermeasures suite, which is an updated version of the standard Mirage 2000C countermeasures suite and is characterized by two small antennas near the top of the tailfin. These Mirage 2000s were later modified in the field to carry the Aerospatiale AM39 Exocet anti-ship missile. In 2000, Greece ordered a batch of 15 new Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2 fighters, and had 10 existing Mirage 2000EGs upgraded to Mirage 2000-5 Mk. 2 standards. The Greek Mirage 2000-5 Mk. 2s feature the SATURN secure radio.
Mirage 2000BR (Brazil)
Dassault participated in a competition to replace the Brazilian Air Force's aging Mirage IIIEBR/DBRs with the Mirage 2000BR, another variant of the Mirage 2000-9. However, due to Brazilian fiscal problems, the competition dragged on for years until it was suspended in February 2005. Later in July 2005, however, Brazil agreed to purchase 10 Mirage 2000C and 2 Mirage 2000B trainer aircraft which had been retired from French service under the designation "F-2000". The first two Mirage 2000C and Mirage 2000B were delivered to the FAB base at Anápolis on 4 September 2006, and the last two were delivered on 26 August 2008.
Mirage 2000-9 is the export variant of Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2. The UAE was the launch customer, ordering 32 new-build aircraft, comprising 20 Mirage 2000-9 single-seaters and 12 Mirage 2000-9D two-seaters. Initial deliveries of the UAE Mirages began in the spring 2003. A further 30 of Abu Dhabi's older Mirage 2000s will also be upgraded to Mirage 2000-9 standard.
The UAE's Mirage 2000-9s are equipped for the strike mission, with the Shehab laser targeting pod (a variant of the Damocles) and the Nahar navigation pod, complementing the air-to-ground modes of the RDY-2 radar. They are also equipped with a classified countermeasures system designated "IMEWS", which is comparable to the ICMS 3. The UAE is also obtaining the "Black Shaheen" cruise missile, which is basically a variant of the MBDA Apache cruise missile similar to Storm Shadow.
List of users and variants France Variant Purpose Number 2000C Single-seat fighter 124 Updated to 2000-5F specs 37 2000D Two-seat conventional strike 86 2000N Two-seat nuclear strike 75 2000B Two-seater with 2000C kit 30 Total 315 India 2000H To be upgraded to 2000–5 Mk 2 41 2000TH Two-seat trainer to be upgraded to Mk 2 10 Total 51 United Arab Emirates 2000EAD Single-seat multirole 22 2000-9 Single-seat 20 2000-9D Two-seat trainer 12 2000RAD Unique reconnaissance variant 8 2000DAD Two-seat trainer 6 Total 68 Republic of China (Taiwan) 2000-5EI Similar to 2000–5 48 2000-5DI Similar to 2000-5D 12 Total 60 Greece 2000EG Similar to 2000C 17 2000-5 Mk 2 Multirole fighter 25 2000BG Two-seat trainer 3 Total 45 Egypt 2000EM Similar to 2000C 16 2000BM Two-seat trainer 4 Total 20 Qatar 2000-5EDA Single-seat fighter 9 2000-5DDA Two-seat trainer 3 Total 12 Peru 2000-5P Single-seat multirole fighter 10 2000-5DP Two-seat trainer 2 Total 12 Brazil 2000C Single-seat fighter 10 2000B Two-seat trainer 2 Total 12
Specifications (Mirage 2000C)
- Crew: 1
- Length: 14.36 m (47 ft 1 in)
- Wingspan: 9.13 m (29 ft)
- Height: 5.20 m (17 ft)
- Wing area: 41 m² (441.3 ft²)
- Empty weight: 7,500 kg (16,350 lb)
- Loaded weight: 13,800 kg (30,420 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 17,000 kg (37,500 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan
- Dry thrust: 64.3 kN (14,500 lbf)
- Thrust with afterburner: 95.1 kN (21,400 lbf)
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.2 (2,530+ km/h, 1,500+ mph) at high altitude/ 1,110 km/h (690 mph) at low altitude
- Range: 1,550 km (837 nmi, 963 mi) with drop tanks
- Ferry range: 3,335 km (1,800 nmi, 2,073 mi) with auxiliary fuel
- Service ceiling: 17,060 m (59,000 ft)
- Rate of climb: 285 m/s (56,000 ft/min)
- Wing loading: 337 kg/m² (69 lb/ft²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.91
- Guns: 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) DEFA 554 revolver cannon, 125 rounds per gun
- Hardpoints: 9 total (4× under-wing, 5× under-fuselage) with a capacity of 6,300 kg (13,900 lb) external fuel and ordnance
- Rockets: Matra 68 mm unguided rocket pods, 18 rockets per pod
- Bombs: 9× Mk.82
Notable appearances in media
Mirage 2000C variants were featured in the 2005 French film Les Chevaliers du Ciel (Lit.The Knights of the Sky, English release title: Sky Fighters). Mirage-2000c of Indian Air Force also features in the 2011 Bollywood movie Mausam.
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Chengdu J-10
- General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon
- McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
- IAI Lavi
- JAS 39 Gripen
- Mikoyan MiG-29
- Mitsubishi F-2
- Related lists
- List of fighter aircraft
- List of military aircraft of France
- ^ a b Spick 2000, p. 420.
- ^ a b Spick 2000, p. 421.
- ^ a b c Goebel, Greg. "The Dassault Mirage 2000 & 4000". Vectorsite.net, 1 April 2009.
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- ^ Sgarlato
- ^ Take Off enc.
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- Gunston, Bill and Mike Spick, Modern Combat Aircraft (part of The Great Weapons Encyclopedia, Salamander book 1983, printed in Italy by Peruzzo editions, 1988), pp. 44–45.
- Iermanno, Roberto Mirage 2000 Pilot report Aerei Magazine, Delta Editions, Parma, n.2/1993
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- "Hellenic Defence Report 2009-2010",Yearbook of the Magazine "Hellenic Defence & Security"
External images Dassault Mirage 2000 cutaway Hi-res cutaway of the Dassault Mirage 2000 by Flight Global.
- Mirage 2000 family website Official website
- Mirage 2000 on Airforce-technology.com
- Mirage 2000 on Globalsecurity.org
- Mirage 2000 and 4000 on Wingweb.co.uk
- Taiwan buys Mirage 2000s
- Brazilians Mirage 2000 (F-2000) operations (100 pictures)- Milavia.net
- Brazil Purchases 12 Used Mirage 2000C Fighters from France
- Thales keen on upgrading Indian Air Force Mirage 2000
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