HomeMILITARYMirage 2000: The History of the deadly French Fighter Jet

Mirage 2000: The History of the deadly French Fighter Jet

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An initiative known as the “Future fighter jet” was established in the early 1970s in response to a request from the French Air Force, which led to one of the most agile and beautiful fighter jets in the world, the Mirage 2000.

Mirage 2000: The History of the French Fighter Jet
A U.S. KC-130J Super Hercules assigned to the Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron-352, refuels a French Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jet near Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Feb. 8, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Blake Wiles)

In 1975, the manufacturer Dassault Aviation proposed a twin-engine Dassault Mirage, but the jet proved to be prohibitively expensive, and the project was shelved. After that, Dassault Aviation suggested the single-engine Dassault 2000 as an option, and on December 18, 1975, the French government gave its clearance for the project to move further.

The success of the Mirage 2000 spurred the creation of the twin-engine Mirage 4000, which, however, was a flop when compared to its predecessor in terms of performance and reliability.

Its first flight took place on March 10 1978, and was the first flight of the prototype aircraft.

Because of the usage of new technology as well as the foundation of the new aircraft being based on the Mirage III, it took only 27 months from the start of the project to the first flight of the aircraft.

At the Farnborough Airshow in the summer of 1978, the plane showed how well it could turn by flying at 204 km/h with an attack angle of 26 degrees.

The M-2000 was one of the main attractions at the airshow and it quickly established itself as a direct competitor to the F-16.

Mirage 2000
PHOTO By Henrickson, CC BY-SA 3.0,

In the following months, a second prototype was built on September 18 1978, and a third prototype was built on September 26 1979, respectively.

On October 11, 1980, the first two-seater Mirage 2000B took to the air for the first time after the fourth prototype was built for Dassault’s requirements.

The first production copies of the aircraft flew to the skies on November 20, 1982, and the aircraft entered operational service at the same time. The last Mirage 2000 aircraft was delivered to the Greek Air Force in 2007, marking the end of the Mirage 2000’s production cycle on 23 November 2007.

The Mirage 2000C, which was the first M2000 to enter service.

In total, four prototype single-seaters were built, one of which was the first Mirage 2000 to be constructed.

In November 1982, production of the Mirage 2000C commenced, and deliveries began the following year. The first operational squadron of the French Air Force was established in 1984 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the French Air Force. The French army had a total of 124 2000C vehicles. There were a total of 37 Mirage 2000Cs delivered, each of which is fitted with a Thomson-CSF RDM (multifunctional radar) and a SNECMA M53-5 turbo-fen engine.

The SNECMA M53-5 P2 turbo-fan engine powered the thirty-eighth Mirage 2000C, making it the most powerful Mirage ever built.

A Thales impulse radar, which first entered service in 1987, was developed for the 2000C type. The ability to “see down” as well as the ability to “target downward” were both enhanced. Despite this, radar was only employed to guide air-to-air missiles and not air-to-ground missiles.

The Mirage 2000C model was also featured in the 2005 French film “Sky Fighters.”

The Mirage-2000N is designed specifically for a nuclear attack.

This is accomplished through the deployment of the Air-Sol Moyenne Portée nuclear missile (ASMP).

These two Mirage 2000N/D prototypes were tested for the first time on February 3, 1983. The Mirage 2000N was put into service in 1988, and a total of 75 aircraft were constructed. In addition to being designed for conventional attack, the Mirage 2000D was also developed on the basis of the Mirage 2000N type. On March 31, 1993, the 2000D model, which had already been finalized, took to the air for the first time.

After a decade of development, the Mirage 2000 fighter jet began to compete with the latest models of the US F-16 fighter jet.

The prototype of the Mirage 2000B (two-seater) was also redesigned for this purpose, and as a result, the Mirage 2000B prototype became the first prototype of the Mirage 2000-5.

Mirage 2000-5: The History of the French Fighter Jet
A French air force Mirage 2000 fighter jet (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Austin Hazard/Released)

The first flight took place on October 24, 1990.

In addition, the fighter jet, like the Mirage 2000C, employed the MBDA MICA IR/IF air-to-air missiles for a variety of missions.

With regard to defense systems, the Mirage 2000 employs the ICMS 2 system as well as the Samir DDM warning system in order to detect missile launches. For the detection of enemy missiles, the system includes a receiver that is connected to a computer, which processes the information received and signals received. The same approach can also be used to analyze land.

The glass cockpit has the capability of night vision to be used in operations or exercises.

These capabilities were taken from the more advanced and newer Dassault Rafale fighter plane. In addition, the Mirage 2000-5 is capable of transporting disposable fuel tanks designed for the 2000N variant. The 2000-5F designation is assigned to these improved fighter jets, and they entered active service in 2000. The French Air Force equipped them with the MBDA MICA IR/IF air-to-air missiles as part of an upgrade program.

Dassault opted to improve the Mirage 2000-5 by developing the Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2, which is now the most technologically advanced Mirage 2000 variant.

Mirage 2000: The History of the French Fighter Jet
Photo by Alan Wilson, CC BY-SA 2.0 (Flickr)

The advanced MICA-ER missiles, a FLIR targeting system, and an RDY-2 radar with a moving target indication are all included in the major Dassault upgrade.

The RDY-2 proved to be superior to its predecessor, the RDY and had no problems in all weather conditions.

The fighter jet is equipped with a modular data processing unit (MDPU), which was initially designed for the Dassault Rafale, and the cockpit color display has a greater resolution than the MDPU.

A total of 48 Mirage 2000-5EI single-seater fighters and 12 Mirage 2000-5DI two-seater aircraft were ordered by Taiwan in 1992 for training purposes.

It was in 1997 that Taiwan’s first air squadron received its purchase of Mirage 2000 fighters, and it was in 1999 that the last squadron received its purchase. The fighters were built for aerial combat, such that there was no chance of bombing targets on the ground.

Taiwan has ordered ASTAC missiles in addition to the fighter jets.

According to some reports, Taiwan would purchase 120 military jets, but the contract has been lowered to 60 aircraft (48 single-seater fighters and 12 two-seater training planes). On November 17, the same year, an agreement and an order were obtained between the parties. Furthermore, it was the first time since 1937 that Taiwan had placed an order for a French aircraft. Taiwan purchased 24 French Dewoitine D.510C planes in 1937, which was the last time the country did so before the Mirage acquisition.

On May 6, 1997, the first batch of five Mirage 2000-5 fighters was transported to the port of Hualien, on Taiwan’s eastern coast, for testing.

The planes were then flown to the Hsinchu base after being inspected there. The final delivery of the remaining planes took place on November 26, 1998, and they were transferred to the Taiwanese air squadron the following year, in 1999. The 499th Air Squadron in Hsinchu is home to all of the Mirage 2000-5s that were purchased.

Qatar has ordered nine Mirage 2000-5EDA fighters and three Mirage 2000-5DDA training fighter jets, all of which are one-seaters. The first shipment arrived in 1997.

Greece ordered 26 Mirage 2000EG single-seat fighter jets and four Mirage 2000BG two-seaters for training and aerial exercises in early March 1985 as part of a scheme to modernize the Greek army, codenamed Talos.

The planes were equipped with ICMS 1, which is a device used for the detection hostile missiles. The fighter jets were also armed with AM 39 Exocet anti-ship missile.

Greece had place an order for 15 new Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2 fighter jets. In addition, the existing 10 Mirage 2000EG aircraft were rebuilt as Mirage 2000-5 Mk. 2 aircraft, and one 2000BG training aircraft was converted into Mirage 2000EG. The installation of SATURN “safe” radios on the Greek Mirage 2000-5 Mk. 2 fighters is a distinguishing feature of the aircraft.

The Mirage 2000-9 is an export variation of the Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2 aircraft, which was first introduced in 1996.

Mirage 2000-9: The History of the French Fighter Jet
A French Mirage 2000-9 demonstrates its capabilities on Nov. 10, 2015 at the 2015 Dubai Air Show, United Arab Emirates. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lipscomb)

In particular, the United Arab Emirates has already placed orders for 20 single-seaters and 12 two-seaters of the 2000-9 variant. The first shipment of aircraft to the United Arab Emirates arrived in the spring of 2003.

As a result, the United Arab Emirates now has 68 Mirage 2000 jets, making them the second greatest operator of this model of aircraft after France (315 planes).

Each of their fighters is outfitted with a laser targeting system, a Nahar navigation system and an RDY-2 radar system. In addition, there is an IMEWS electronic warfare and countermeasures system that is comparable to the more recent ICMS-3 system.

“Black Shaheen” missiles, which are essentially a modified version of the MBDA SCALP-EG cruise missile, are used to engage land targets.

Mirage 2000-9s
MIRAGE 2000-9 UAE PHOTO: ROBERT SULIVAN (Flickr)

Combat History of the Mirage 2000

The Indian Mirage 2000 showed its first combat activities in the Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan. It’s worth noting that the two Mirage 2000s from the squadron flew 515 missions and carried out 240 airstrikes.

The Mirage 2000 aircraft of the French Air Force was used in the Gulf War, as well as in NATO and United Nations air operations during the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. On February 11, 1995, the Republika Srpska army used the Soviet 9K38 Igla rocket launcher to bring down one Mirage while conducting an operation in Bosnia.

On October 8 1996, a Greek Mirage 2000 fighter jet is rumored to have been the Greek jet that shot down a Turkish F-16D is rumored that shot down a Turkish F-16D over the Aegean Sea after firing an R.550 Magic 2 air to air missile

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