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Indian Air Force's Mirage 2000H upgrade programme delayed

The programme to upgrade 51 Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage 2000H multirole fighters to 2000-5 standard is delayed by nearly three years, Janes has learned.

Industry sources told Janes on 11 October that only about 25 of these platforms have so far been upgraded to the Mirage 2000-5 standard under a INR175.47 billion (USD2.33 billion) deal agreed in 2011 between India's state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Dassault Aviation, Thales, and MBDA.

In accordance with this agreement two Mirage 2000Hs upgraded by Dassault in France were delivered to the IAF in 2015 while the remaining 49 aircraft were expected to have been retrofitted by HAL in Bangalore by the end of 2021.

However, industry officials said the upgrades have been delayed due to “hold-ups” in the delivery of the fighters' overhauled Snecma M53-5 turbofan engines and other components to HAL, as well as IAF “reservations” over the retrofitted fighters' operational efficiency with the newly integrated systems.

Moreover, the deadly crash of an upgraded Mirage 2000H in February 2019 and the outbreak of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic a year later have further delayed the programme.

The upgrade, which is intended to extend the fighters' service life by 20–25 years, includes equipping them with more advanced avionics, mission computers, integrated electronic warfare (EW) suites, and an advanced beyond-visual-range (BVR) missile capability.

It also encompasses fitting the fighters with an all-glass cockpit, jammers and countermeasure systems, aerial re-fuelling pods, and the integration of RDY-3 multimode long-range radar and Totem 3000 combined inertial/global positioning navigation systems.

Also included in the package are a modular data calculator, identification friend-or-foe (IFF) transponders, MBDA MICA air-to-air missiles, and Israeli SPICE 2000 bomb guidance kits.

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