The Mirage 2000 has both high maneuverability, accurate weapons, and is a nightmare for enemies wherever it appears. Many experts believe that this aircraft is more powerful than the US F-16 and Russian MiG-29.
In the present context, the arms race between world powers seems to have no end. Although not very well known, and there are few military activities abroad, but France is the country with the most powerful military potential in Europe, surpassing even the past ‘former enemies’ like Germany or England.
France has built a fairly comprehensive air force with more than 40,000 personnel and 687 aircraft of all kinds, of which fighter aircraft account for more than one third of the force. Most of the French fighters are self-developed or joint ventures with other countries in Europe. Among fighters, the Mirage 2000 is considered one of the most successful multirole aircraft manufactured by France.
The Mirage 2000 has both high maneuverability, accurate weapons, and is a nightmare for enemies wherever it appears. Many experts believe that this aircraft is more powerful than the US F-16 and Russian MiG-29. Currently, the Mirage 2000 is in service in 9 countries with more than 600 built.
The Mirage 2000 program originated in 1965. At that time, France and Britain were planning an “Anglo-French Variable Geometry” swing-wing aircraft project. A short time later, due to cost reasons, the French withdrew from the project to focus on their own variable-geometry aircraft project, the Dassault Mirage G. The British then collaborated with West Germany and Italy to launch Panavia Tornado.
The Mirage 2000 began as a further development project of the Mirage G8, which was expected to replace the popular Mirage III in the service of the French Air Force at the time. Dassault Aviation engineers have continued to work on a single-engine aircraft that is much more affordable than the twin-engine Super Mirage G8A project. The Mirage 2000 had its first flight in March 1978, the aircraft was produced until 2007 with an estimated unit price of $ 30.6 million each.
Basically, the Mirage 2000 was designed as a fourth generation light fighter. The Mirage 2000 has a length of 14.36m, a wingspan of 9.13m, a height of 5.2m and a maximum takeoff weight of 17 tons.
The aerodynamic configuration of the Mirage 2000 shares similarities with its predecessor, the Mirage III. The Mirage 2000 is designed with a triangular delta-wing configuration, it also doesn’t have a tail stabilizer. To improve maneuverability, and compensated for that by using then-new fly-by-wire technology to automatically stabilize the plane for the pilot. A pair of low-mounted thin triangular wings, swept an angle of 58 degrees, the wing-root blended into the fuselage, with two small nose wings fixed in front of the air intakes. The air intakes are fitted with an adjustable half-cone-shaped centre body, which provides an inclined shock of air pressure for highly efficient air input.
The aircraft uses retractable tricycle-type landing gear by Messier-Dowty, with twin nosewheels and a single wheel on each main gear. A runway tailhook or a fairing for a brake parachute can be fitted under the tail, which can operate in conjunction with the landing gear’s carbon brakes to shorten landing distances. A removable refueling probe can be attached in front of the cockpit, offset slightly to the right of centre.
The Mirage 2000 is available as a single-seat or two-seat multi-role fighter. The pilot flies the aircraft by means of a centre stick and left-hand throttles, with both incorporating hands-on-throttle-and-stick controls. The instrument panel is dominated by a Sextant VE-130 head-up display which presents data relating to flight control, navigation, target engagement and weapon firing, and a radar screen located centrally below it.
Powering the Mirage 2000 is a SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan engine, providing 64.3 Kilo Newtons of dry thrust and up to 95.1 Kilo Newtons with afterburner. The French plane can reach a maximum speed of Mach 2.2, operating range of 1,550 km, ferry range of 3,335 km, service ceiling of 17,000m and rate of climb of 285 meters per second.
The Mirage 2000 is equipped with built-in twin DEFA 554 autocannon 30 mm revolver-type cannons with 125 rounds each. The cannons have selectable fire rates of 1,200 or 1,800 rounds per minute. Mirage 2000 has nine hard points for carrying weapon system payloads: five on the fuselage and two on each wing. It can be equipped with a variety of missiles including the MICA, R550 Magic air-to-air missiles and AM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles. The aircraft can carry four MICA missiles, two Magic missiles and three drop tanks simultaneously. Mirage 2000 is also equipped to carry a range of air-to-surface missiles and weapons, including laser-guided bombs.
The Mirage 2000s of the French air force first saw action during the Gulf War flying air superiority patrols, as did Peruvian Mirages during a 1995 border conflict with Ecuador and Indian Mirages during the Kargil War.
At the time of launch, the Mirage 2000 was expected to be the main rival of the F-16. The lighter Mirage 2000 arguably has a modest edge in close air-to-air dogfighting performance, as it boasts a 10-percent-higher maximum speed and a superior instantaneous turn rate. At the only confrontation between these two types of aircraft on October 10, 1996, a Greek Mirage 2000 launched a R-550 Magic 2 missile and shot down a Turkish F-16D on the Aegean Sea. At the 1999 Kargil conflict, India’s Mirage 2000 demonstrated its capabilities, successfully completing bombing missions at high altitudes.Although highly regarded, the countries and territories currently using the Mirage 2000 are no longer interested in this lightweight fighter. The UAE has even given Iraq 10 Mirage 2000s, Taiwan is also looking to quickly replace them. According to military experts, expensive operating costs and weapons, limited upgrades and a lack of long-term spare parts supply made the Mirage 2000 much more inferior when compared to the F-16. There is another factor that is very important to consider is that France has never been a reliable arms supplier. They often let political factors influence their contracts.