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Mirage 2000 (Dassault-Breguet)

The Mirage-2000 Fighter was developed as a next generation warplane. It was planned in three basic versions: a single-place fighter for accomplishing air defense missions; a single-place tactical fighter for winning air superiority, battlefield inter-diction and delivering strikes against ground targets; and the Mirage-2000N two-seat attack aircraft as a platform for the ASMP air-to-surface guided missile with nuclear warhead. In addition, production is planned for the Mirage-2000B two-seat combat trainer. The first flight of the fighter proto-type occurred in March 1978, and later four more prototypes, including one two-seater, were built to conduct flight testing. Series production of the Mirage-2000 aircraft began in 1983.

The Mirage 2000 is very similar to the Mirage III/5 and 50, though it is not a variant of the Mirage III/5 or 50 but an entirely new aircraft with advanced interceptor controls. The wings are low-mounted delta with clipped tips. There is one turbofan engine mounted in the fuselage. There are semicircular air intakes alongside the fuselage forward of the wings. There is a large, single exhaust which protrudes past the tail. The fuselage is tube-shaped with a pointed nose and a bubble canopy. There are no tail flats. The fin is swept-back and tapered with a clipped tip.

The fighter is equipped with an electro-remote control system. The powerplant consists of one SNECMA M53-5 bypass turbojet engine with a maximumthrust of 9,100 kg with afterburning. Beginning in 1985 the aircraft will be produced with the more powerful M53-P2 engine (a thrust of 9,800 kg). The capacity of internal fuel tanks is 3,800 liters, and two auxiliary 1,700 liter tanks can be accommodated beneath the wings. The multifunction RDM radar comprised the basis of the sighting-navigation equipment of the single-seat Mirage-2000 aircraft, and beginning in 1985 the more advanced RDI pulse-Doppler set was installed. The Mirage-2000N was fitted with the Antilope-5 radar, providing a view of the earth's surface in the forward hemisphere and supporting a flight in terrain-following mode.

The fighter's built-in armament includes two DEFA-554 30-mm cannon with a unit of fire of 125 rounds each. It will be able to carry armament on nine external attachment points (four beneath the wings and five beneath the fuselage) in the following versions: three Super Matra R.530 air-to-air guided missiles; 18 500 pound bombs; three 2,000 bombs; four M155 launchers (each with18 68 mm NAR [free-flight rockets]); seven Belouga cluster bombs; three AS-30air-to-surface guided missiles; and three Exocet antiship missiles. In its secondary ground-attack role, the Mirage 2000 carries laser guided missiles rockets and bombs. There is a two-seat version of this aircraft, the 2000N (Penetration) which has nuclear standoff capability.

The Mirage 2000 evolved from a series of Dassault design efforts performed from 1965 to 1975. The first in this series was a collaborative project known as the Anglo-French Variable Geometry (AFVG) swing-wing aircraft, begun in 1965. The collaboration was a fiasco, and the French pulled out in 1967. The British stayed with the concept and formed another collaboration with the Germans and Italians, which eventually produced the Panavia Tornado.

Dassault then worked on several new aircraft concepts evolved from their Mirage G variable-geometry experimental prototype, resulting in a sophisticated design with the designation Avion de Combat Futur (ACF), or Future Combat Aircraft. The ACF prototype was almost complete when the French government cancelled it in 1975. The ACF was simply too big and expensive. However, Dassault had been considering other fighter options in the meantime, partly because of limited ACP export potential. These alternatives were smaller, simpler, and cheaper than the ACF, and took the form of a number of "Mini-Mirage", or "Mimi"; concepts developed beginning in 1972 as a "back-bumer" project. These concepts congealed into an aircraft known at first as the Super Mirage III, then the Delta 1000, Delta 2000, and finally Super Mirage 2000.

When the ACF was cancelled, Dassault was able to immediately offer the Mirage 2000 as an alternative, and the French Defense Council accepted it. It wasn't exactly an even trade, since the ACF was a strike aircraft first and an interceptor second, while the Mirage 2000 was exactly the reverse. However, the Mirage 2000 was much more affordable. There was another reason for Dassault to push the Mirage 2000. In 1975, four European nations selected the General Dynamics F-16 as their new first-line fighter, rejecting an updated Mirage Fl.

Marcel Dassault was disgusted with the choice, and felt his company could build a better aircraft. Using the delta wing configuration seemed to many like a backward step. The company had used that configuration on the Mirage III and 5, but abandoned it for the Mirage Fl. A delta wing tends to be a good choice in terms of high-speed flight characteristics, simplicity of aircraft construction, relatively low radar signature, and internal volume. It tends to be a poor choice in terms of maneuverability, low-altitude flight, and length oftake-off and landing run.

While the delta wing was outdated by that time, Dassault modified the aerodynamics of the new aircraft to ensure a degree of inherent instability, obtained by moving the aircraft's center of lift in front of its center of gravity. Control was maintained by a fly-by-wire control system and automatic, full length, two-segment leading-edge flaps. This gave the Mirage 2000 a level of agility that the Mirage III and 5 lacked, and the aircraft would become known for its handling. A noticeably taller tail allowed the pilot to retain control at higher angles of attack, assisted by small strakes mounted along each air intake. The versions of MIRAGE 2000 include MIRAGE 2000B, C, D, E, and N.

A superior aircraft despite its reduced size, the Dassault-Breguet Mirage 2000 in Air Force service was optimized for mastery of the sky, a mastery which demands success both in interception or aerial combat and on air patrol and air assistance missions. The secret of its maneuvering capabilities in combat is it optimized aerodynamics allied with electrical flight controls with exceptional reliability and a very reliable engine. Let us add that its takeoff and landing capabilities over comparatively short distances and ultramodern maintenance make this "2000" weapons system an aircraft highly respected by its pilots and mechanics.

The Mirage 2000-5 is a multi-role single-seater or two seater fighter. It differs from its predecessors mainly in its avionics; its new multiple target air-to-ground and air-to-air firing procedures linked to the use of RDY radar and its new visualization and control system. As a multi-role combat aircraft with versatile air-to-air mission capabilities, the Mirage 2000-5 integrates the state-of-the-art of the know-how based on the experience gained from the previous Mirage 2000 versions (Mirage 2000 DA, Mirage 2000 E, Mirage 2000 D) and is designed for the most-advanced armaments.

The Mirage 2000 D, derived from the Mirage 2000N operated by the French Air Force, is a two-seater air-to-ground attack aircraft. The Mirage 2000D tactical penetration two-seater fighter carries air-to-ground high precision weapons which can be fired at a safe distance, by day or by night. Its navigation and attack system enable it to fly in any weather conditions, hugging the terrain at a very low altitude. Beyond the nuclear-weapons capabilities adopted for the Mirage 2000 N, the Mirage 2000 D armament includes laser-guided weapons, low-drag bombs, and the aircraft can also carry the APACHE cruise missile. The Mirage 2000 D geometrical characteristics and the main performance data are the same as those of the Mirage 2000-5.

Mirage 2000-9 deliveries to the United Arab Emirates Air Force began in mid-2003. The Mirage 2000-9 is the latest evolution of Mirage 2000 family which includes different aircraft versions operated by eight different countries. Mirage 2000-9 is mainly characterised by highly evoluated avionics, including a new RDY2 radar, a sophisticated EW suit, IMEWS, and a wide range of modern weapons. Major involved companies are Dassault Aviation, MBDA, SNECMA, Thales and Elettronica. This challenging program was developed on request of MG Khaled bin Abulla Mubarak al Buainnain, UAE air force and air defense commander. It was formally launch with global contracts in November 1998, and the first flight of this new version took place in December 2000. Troop deliveries of the Mirage-2000 fighters began in late 1983. Some 400 aircraft were to be built for the French Air Force, of which 200 were be used to accomplish air defense missions and the remainder as tactical fighters. MIRAGE 2000 are in operational service within several Air Forces since 1983. The outstanding structural sturdiness of the Mirage allowing them to fly over 2015-2020, allow Dassault Aviation to consider mid-life updates. The target of this mid-life update is to obtain a new version of MIRAGE 2000 with a fly away price for new aircraft of 80% of the one of MIRAGE 2000-5 but with attractive operational characteristics.

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Page last modified: 18-05-2013 18:56:07 ZULU