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Mirage 2000H Vajra

Mirage-2000 is a single seater air defence and multi-role fighter of French origin powered by a single engine can attain max speed of 2495 km/hr(Mach 2.3). It carries two 30 mm integral cannons and two matra super 530D medium-range and two R-550 magic II close combat missiles on external stations. The Mirage 2000 houses a Snecma M-53P2 after-burning Turbojet which delivers 95KN enabling the Vajra to reach a maxi-mum speed of Mach 2.2. It has a range of 1480 km and a service ceiling of 58,000 feet.

Since 1982, when the first major order was placed, the IAF had ordered a total of at least 46 Mirage 2000H and 13 Mirage 2000TH aircraft. India received 95 first-generation Mirage 2000 fighters in varying configurations and has found the type a very useful asset over the years. In addition to air-to-air roles, the Mirage has served as a precision bomber, carrying ATLIS II designation pods to deliver laser-guided bombs. In this role it saw action in the Kargil conflict in 1999. This type of aircraft was originally produced for carrying nuclear missiles as part of its minimum nuclear deterrent.

The Sanskrit word vajra means thunderbolt or diamond. In Sanskrit the word Vajra means lightning. It is the name of the weapon of Lord Indra of Hindu Mythology. Hardness is its outstanding quality. The diamond in Sanskrit, is known as vajra, which means hard. This quality along with its brilliance and fire makes the diamond reign supreme over other gems.'Vajra' in Sanskrit and Hindi means strong, alluding to the favorite weapon of Indra. But, in everyday speech 'Vajra' carries the connotation 'adamant'. An incorrigible fool is called 'vajra moorkh', or just vajra or bajjar - which means adamant fool, not a strong one. In Hathayoga and Tantra the word Vajra is used for the male sex organ.

India planned to buy ten additional Mirage 2000TH to replace accident losses and as part of the war reserves. Approval had been granted for the purchase of the additional 10 Mirages, but as of January 2002, no orders had been placed. The IAF had lost at least three or four of the 49 single-seat Mirage 2000s inducted into service in the mid 1980s.

The brake parachute, built by the Ordnance Factory Board, is used to reduce the landing run of the aircraft. The brake parachute ensures required reduction of landing run of the aircraft during landing at speed not exceeding 300 kmph, when the system is released. Parachute deployment speeds viz. NORMAL- 300 kmph (160 knots) and EMERGENCY- 390 kmph (210 knots) Recommended aircraft speed at which the parachute should be jettisoned at the end of decelerating run - 30 knots. The brake parachute system is not to be used again, if used at speed of 390 kmph (210 knots) or more in emergency.

All of the IAF's Mirage 2000Hs were slated to receive an avionics upgrade. As of 2002 India was negotiating for the purchase of one squadron (18 aircraft) of Dassault Aviation Mirage 2000D tandem-seat fighter-bombers. As of March 2002 the IAF reportedly had plans to acquire as many as 126 Mirage 2000-5s to equip seven squadrons. The IAF reportedly wanted 36 Mirage 2000-5s to be delivered in completed form, with the remainder to be assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) at Bangalore.

In December 2002 information on the Mirage 2000 was given by the Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes in a written reply to Mr K Rama Mohana Rao in Rajya Sabha. It was stated that the Indian Air Force proposed to procure IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft. These will be delivered by December 2002. "It will not be in the interest of national security to disclose the information about the time schedule when the Air Force is going to get Mirage 2000 fighters fitted with air-to-air refuelling capability."

It was reported in early October 2006 that India was in talks with France to purchase a number of used Mirage 2000 fighters, with some press outlets in India reporting that 40 aircraft were being looked at being purchased. In addition, the Indian Navy was also reported to be in talks for the purchase of a number of Mirage-2000MKI aircraft, as part of a larger plan to acquire 126 fighter aircraft to replace the country's MIG-21 aircraft fleet.

The bulk of the Indian Air Force (IAF) air fleet consists of ageing MIG series aircraft. However, a considerable residual life of this fighter fleet is still left for utilisation by the Indian Air Force. The Indian Air Force combat fleet is being modernised through procurement of SU-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and other combat aircraft and upgradation of existing aircraft inventory on a continuous basis.

President Nicolas Sarkozy's first visit to India on January 25-27, 2008 provided fresh impetus to the strategic partnership between the two countries. During the visit, the two countries discussed the scope for upgrading India's ageing fleet of 52 Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft. Under the deal, worth 1.5 billion Euros cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security, the Indian Mirages would be upgraded to the Mirage 2000-9 level flown by the French Air Force. Through the upgradation, it was hoped to increase the life of the Mirage fighters by 25 years. The upgradation of Mirages would be undertaken at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with the support of French companies Thallus International and Dassault, the original manufacturers of the jets.

As part of steps to keep the country's air power capability at optimal level, India floated a billion-Euro deal to upgrade its 51 Mirage Multi-Role Fighters. Dassault, the French original equipment manufacturer, proposed to upgrade the Indian Air Force's Mirage 2000 fleet, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha April 28, 2008. Antony said the Request For Proposal (RFP) had been issued to Dassault on April 9 after clearance of the Cabinet Committee on Security. Thales replied in July. Price negotiations were set to begin in Novembe 2008.

In February 2009 the IAF was on the verge of awarding a contract for the upgrade of the Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft to French company Thales Aerospace at an estimated cost of more than Rs 100 crore per aircraft. The entire fleet of 51 Mirage 2000 aircraft would be upgraded to Mirage 2000-9. The Mirage upgradation would entail the upgradation of the avionics suite ( glass cockpit, inertial navigation system, open system architecture computer etc.) and the new Thales AESA radar and electronic warfare suite ( radar warning receiver, self- protection jammer etc), and arming the aircraft with MBDA MICA air-to-air missiles that have beyond visual range.

Under the Thales proposal, the company would deliver the first two aircraft from its facilities in France within 40 months of the signing of the contract, and would simultaneously assist Hindustan Aircraft Limited (HAL) in upgrading another two aircraft in India in the same time frame. Thereafter, HAL would upgrade one of the remaining 47 aircraft every month.

The seventh edition of 'Aero India' got off to a spectacular start at the Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru, Wednesday, February 11, 2009. The aerial display began with three Mi-8 helicopters trooping the national tricolour, IAF ensign and the Aero India flag. This was followed by a rarely seen eclectic 'mix formation' of an Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) leading the pair of Kiran trainer aircraft and Su-30 MKIs displaying the versatility and the ability of the three different categories of flying machines to fly in a formation together. The other mix formations included a vic of an AN-32 and a pair of Dorniers followed by a display of air-to-air refuelling of two Mirage-2000 from an IL-78 MKI.

Contracts have been signed with M/s Thales, France and M/s Dassault Aviation, France, along with M/s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for upgrade of the Mirage 2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF). A contract has also been signed with M/s MBDA, France, for procurement of air to air missiles for the Mirage 2000 aircraft. The cost of the contract for upgrade of the Mirage 2000 with M/s Thales and M/s Dassault Aviation is Euro 1470 Million, while the cost of the contract with M/s HAL is Rs.2020 crore. The cost of the contract for procurement of the missiles from M/s MBDA, France, is Euro 958,980,822.44. The entire upgradation of the Mirage aircraft is scheduled to be completed by 2021. Delivery of MICA missiles is scheduled between 2015 and 2019.

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Page last modified: 01-06-2013 19:02:31 ZULU