Discover the Best of the French Dassault Mirage 2000

The Mirage 2000, crafted by the renowned French aerospace company Dassault Aviation, stands as a fourth-generation, multi-role, single-engine fighter jet. Let’s Discover the Best of the French Dassault Mirage 2000 excellence reveals its sleek delta-wing design, which not only showcases exceptional agility but also attests to its impressive speed. First introduced in the mid-1980s, this highly adaptable aircraft has undergone numerous upgrades, cementing its relevance in contemporary air forces. Boasting advanced avionics, radar systems, and weaponry, the Mirage 2000 proves its prowess in both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Powered by a single SNECMA M53 turbofan engine, the Mirage 2000 achieves remarkable speeds over Mach 2, complemented by its compact size that enhances overall manoeuvrability. Widely recognized for its reliability, this aircraft has gained global acceptance, being adopted by numerous countries as a cornerstone of their air forces and actively participating in various conflicts.

The Mirage 2000’s enduring legacy speaks volumes about its adaptability and effectiveness in diverse operational scenarios. Evolving further, it gave rise to the Mirage 2000N and 2000D strike variants, the enhanced Mirage 2000-5, and various export adaptations. With over 600 units produced, it has found service in the air forces of nine nations.

Discover the Best of the French Dassault Mirage 2000
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography / Discover the Best of the French Dassault Mirage 2000

French-origin fighter jets carried on the tradition of elegant and practical fighters and have been a reasonable export success. In France, it still has considerable life ahead of it, despite the introduction of the Rafale. ” In a one-versus-one fight against the highly agile F-16, the Mirage 2000C should win if flown to its strengths… the Mirage can turn on a sixpence, enabling the pilot to bring it into a firing bracket before the F-16 has a chance to escape“.  ( Ian Black, RAF exchange pilot on the Mirage 2000C )

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography / June 23, 2014, Germany, NATO Tiger Meet, Dassault Mirage 2000
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography / On June 23, 2014, during the NATO Tiger Meet in Germany, a spectacular view of the Dassault Mirage 2000, armed with a MICA air-to-air missile, unfolded.

Background of the Mirage 2000

For the third member of its Mirage family, Dassault reinstated the delta wing layout and wing-mounted undercarriage reminiscent of the Mirage III/5/50. This design was coupled with a slightly larger area-ruled fuselage and an M53 turbofan. The armament includes two DEFA 554 belly-mounted cannons and external weapons on four wing hardpoints and five under-fuselage pylons.

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The Mirage 2000 prototype took its inaugural flight on 10 March 1978. The basic variants include the 2000C all-weather interceptor, the 2000B two-seat trainer, the 2000N nuclear strike aircraft, and the similar 2000D conventional ground attack variant.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography / The Mirage 2000 pilot operates the aircraft using a centre stick and left-hand throttles, both equipped with HOTAS controls. The pilot is seated on an SEM MB Mk10 zero-zero ejection seat (a license-built version of the British Martin-Baker Mark 10).

The Mirage 2000-5 is a specialized export model featuring upgraded avionics and weapons integration, along with provision for MICA air-to-air missiles. The Mirage 2000-5 MK-2 and 2000-9 are variants that incorporate further improvements, including an enhanced datalink system, a new ECM system, a Damocles laser designator, increased gross weight, and a redesigned modular cockpit.

Approximately 37 Armee De 1′ Air Mirage 2000C aircraft have undergone upgrades to the Mirage 2000-5F standard, equivalent to the 2000-5 export models. This aircraft has gained widespread exportation and has been engaged in combat during Desert Storm, over the Balkans, in Afghanistan, and during the India-Pak Kargil war.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Continued Advancements in the Dassault Mirage 2000N and 2000D Variants

The Dassault Mirage 2000N and Mirage 2000D represent distinct versions of the Mirage 2000 tailored for nuclear and conventional strike missions, respectively. The Mirage 2000N was developed to meet French specifications for an aircraft to succeed the ageing Mirage IVP. The airframe underwent reinforcement for low-level flight and was equipped with an Antilope 5 radar, utilized for terrain following, navigation, and ground mapping.

The avionic components include dual INS units and dynamic map displays for both the pilot and weapon systems officer. The Mirage 2000N has the capability to transport one ASMP (Air-Sol Moyenne Portée) medium-range nuclear missile beneath the centre fuselage and can also accommodate two under-wing drop tanks of 2,000 litres each, along with air-to-air missiles. Additional protective measures comprise the Sabre jamming system and the Spirale chaff system.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography / The Mirage 2000 instrument panel is highlighted by a Sextant VE-130 head-up display (HUD), showcasing data related to flight control, navigation, target engagement, and weapon firing. Positioned directly below it is a radar screen placed centrally.

The Mirage 2000N, alternatively referred to as the Mirage 2000N-K2, was specifically designed to meet the nuclear strike capability needs of the French Air Force. It commenced active service in the late 1980s and was eventually phased out in 2018, succeeded by Dassault Rafale aircraft. The production yielded a total of 75 Mirage 2000N units.

The Mirage 2000D, in contrast, was designed as a conventional strike variant. It shares comparable airframe characteristics with the Mirage 2000N but is configured for precision strikes using conventional munitions, including Apache and Scalp missiles, as well as AASM Hammer weapons. Entering service in the 1990s, the Mirage 2000D has actively participated in diverse conflicts, demonstrating its proficiency in executing ground-attack missions. The French Air and Space Force placed an order for a total of 86 aircraft.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Mirage 2000D Upgrade Program

The Mirage 2000D continues to be operational within the French Air and Space Force, featuring several enhancements like the integration of MICA IR and RF. An overall upgrade, identified as the Mirage 2000D-R2, was implemented starting in 2001. Another upgrade initiative commenced in 2009, focusing on enhanced support for the strike role and improvements in air-to-air capabilities. This upgrade program aimed to provide a multirole capability, compensating for the eventual retirement of the Mirage 2000Cs.

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Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Currently, 55 aircraft are undergoing a mid-life upgrade, known as Mirage 2000D RMV (Rénovation Mi-Vie), until 2024, with the goal of maintaining their operational status well beyond 2030. This comprehensive upgrade includes avionics updates, the installation of a CC422 gun pod, the replacement of Magic missiles with MICA and Meteor for beyond visual range (BVR) interception, and the integration of GBU-48 and GBU-50. The total cost of these enhancements amounts to 532.5 million euros.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Global Export Variants of the Mirage 2000

Dassault’s Mirage 2000 boasts an extensive array of export variants tailored to meet the specific requirements of various nations. These include the Mirage 2000M, delivered to Egypt, the Mirage 2000H designated for India, the Mirage 2000P provided to Peru, the Mirage 2000-5EI serving in the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Mirage 2000-5EDA deployed in Qatar, the Mirage 2000EAD/RAD operated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Mirage 2000EG in service with Greece, and the Mirage 2000BR designated for Brazil. Each variant is customized to cater to the unique operational needs of its respective country, showcasing the Mirage 2000’s versatility and adaptability on the global stage.

Photo Credit: AirPra@Aero India 2023
Photo Credit: AirPra@Aero India 2023 / The Indian Air Force Mirage 2000H showcased on display, is armed with MICA and Spice weaponry.
Current Mirage 2000 Operational Status as of 2024

Currently, the Egyptian Air Force maintains an operational fleet of 19 Mirage 2000s. In the case of the French Air Force, a robust inventory of 97 Mirage 2000s is deployed. This formidable force includes 65 Mirage 2000D fighters, 26 Mirage 2000-5F fighters, and 6 Mirage 2000B-S5 trainers. The Hellenic Air Force oversees a fleet of 29 Mirage 2000s, consisting of 5 Mirage 2000EG and 24 Mirage 2000-5/Mk II fighters, with some of them dedicated to training purposes.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force boasts an operational strength of 55 Mirage 2000s, encompassing 44 Mirage 2000H/I fighters and 11 Mirage 2000TH/TI trainers. The Peruvian Air Force operates a fleet of 12 Mirage 2000s, and the Taiwan Air Force commands a total of 54 Mirage 2000s, which includes 45 Mirage 2000-5EI fighters and 9 Mirage 2000-5DI trainers. Additionally, the United Arab Emirates Air Force oversees a fleet of 59 Mirage 2000s.

While the Brazilian Mirage 2000 aircraft were retired in December 2013 and subsequently replaced with Saab JAS 39 Gripen aircraft, the Qatari Emiri Air Force also retired its 12 Mirage 2000s, which were subsequently sold to the Indonesian Air Force in January 2023. Before this transaction, India expressed interest in acquiring the aircraft, but the deal did not materialize due to pricing considerations. Indonesia is now scheduled to receive the 12 refurbished aircraft in 2025.

Photo Credit: Dassault Aviation / In 1998, the founder of AirPra, Prajesh Majumdar, received a bunch of brochures and catalogues as a gift from Dassault Aviation. The gift included comprehensive details about the Mirage 2000, Rafale, and Falcon 2000 aircraft. It was in response to a letter sent to Dassault about potential future designs of stealth aircraft might look like.

Specifications of the Dassault Mirage 2000 Aircraft

Crew Configuration: 1 or 2, Depending on the Variant

Dimensions:   Height: 17 ft 1 in ( 5.20 m )

  • Length: 47 ft 1 in ( 14.36 m )
  • Wingspan: 29ft 11 in ( 9.13 m )
  • Wing Area: 441.33 sq ft ( 41 m2 ). 

Powerplant:  One SNEMCA M53-P2 turbofan rated at 14,462 lb st ( 64.33 kN ) dry and 21,384 lb st ( 95.12 kN ) with afterburning.

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Weights:  Empty: 16,534 lb ( 7,500 kg ),  Normal takeoff: 23,534 lb ( 10,680 kg ), Maximum takeoff: 37,478 lb ( 17,000 kg )

Fuel and Load:  3,950 L internal / 8,000 L maximal  with  Maximum Ordnance: 13,889 lb ( 6,300 kg )

Performance:  Maximum speed at High level: Mach 2.2 and at Sea level: Mach 1.2

  • Range:  979 Miles ( 1,575 km ) with 4,409 lb ( 2,000 kg ) of underwing ordnance and external fuel tanks.
  • Service ceiling: 55,970 ft ( 17,060 m )

Armament: Two internal DEFA 554 30-mm cannons with 125 rounds per gun. The aircraft can carry a total of 13,889 lb (6,300 kg) of stores on five under-fuselage and four under-wing hardpoints.

This configuration allows for a versatile loadout with a combination of the latest generation air-to-air missiles (AAM) such as MBDA Mica and Matra R550 Magic-II, as well as air-to-surface (ASM) options like Spice 2000, ASMP-A tactical nuclear cruise missile, Exocet, Storm Shadow/Scalp, and various laser-guided bombs including AASM HAMMER, GBU-12, 16, 24, 49 Paveway, and AS-30L.

Scan Mirage 2000

 

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In conclusion, the Dassault Mirage 2000 stands as a symbol of engineering ingenuity and adaptability. Its sleek delta-wing design, advanced avionics, and continuous upgrades have allowed it to maintain its effectiveness in a rapidly evolving aerospace landscape. With a rich history spanning decades, the Mirage 2000 has proven its mettle in diverse roles, from air superiority to ground attack. Its global adoption attests to its reliability and versatility, making it a cornerstone in the defence capabilities of various nations. As the Mirage 2000 continues to evolve with modernization programs, it remains a timeless icon in the realm of fighter jets, showcasing the successful fusion of innovation and operational excellence.

Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography
Photo Credit: Hesja Air-Art Photography

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Photo Credit: Dassault Aviation
Photo Credit: Dassault Aviation / In 1998, Prajesh Majumdar, founder of AirPra, received brochures and catalogs as a gift from Dassault Aviation, containing details about Mirage 2000, Rafale, and Falcon 2000. One of the scanned images is now published as a sample.

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