There is indeed a commercial niche for a successor to the Mirage 2000!

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On March 10, 1978, the prototype of the Mirage 2000 took off for the first time. Intended to replace the Mirage III/V and IV of the Air Force, the aircraft was an undeniable success, both from a technological point of view and operational and commercial, with 601 aircraft produced, half of which dedicated to export to 8 international air forces.

It is also so from a technological and operational point of view, the "2000" being the first aircraft to combine the performance of the Delta wing which made the success of the Mirage III, with electric flight controls and advanced high-lift devices, giving very high performance to this single-engine aircraft considered by many to be the only competitor of the famous F-16.

The fact is, like the American plane, the Mirage 2000 still represents the armed fist of many armed forces today, almost 45 years after its first flight, and remains considered the best fighter in service in Greece, but also in India , in the opinion of the pilots themselves, at least until the arrival of his designated successor, the Rafale.

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The reasons for the success of the Mirage 2000

Less than 15 meters long with a 10-meter wingspan, the French fighter relied on an excellent new turbojet engine from SNECMA, the M53, developing 6,8 tons of dry thrust, and almost 10 tons with afterburner, for a mass of only 7 kg empty.

This engine offers the aircraft remarkable performance, with a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 at high altitude and Mach 1,2 at low altitude, but also in terms of climbing speed with more than 18 m/minute at the level of the sea.

In addition, its delta wing gives it excellent lift and maneuverability, especially at medium and high speed. And if its on-board electronics took longer than the airframe to reach maturity, the Mirage 2000 was nonetheless on a par with the F-16 in this area from the end of the 80s, especially since it could rely on new ammunition, also very efficient, such as the MICA air-air missile.

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In addition to its performance allowing it to compete with the majority of modern combat aircraft, including some much heavier and more expensive, the Mirage 2000 perfectly prepared the ground for the Rafale. Thus, Egypt, but also Qatar, India, Greece and the United Arab Emirates have chosen Dassault Aviation's flagship to take over from their valiant 2000.

But if the Rafale is called upon to replace the Mirage 2000 within these air forces, however this does not spell the end of the game for the French single-engine aircraft. Indeed, it appears that there is significant international demand for acquiring second-hand aircraft, particularly for the fleets of the United Arab Emirates, but also of Qatar.

An attractiveness still alive, even today

Therefore, Morocco plans to equip itself with around thirty Emirati Mirage 2000-9, while recent information mentions the possible acquisition of Mirage 2000 EDA and DDA from the Qatar Air Force by Indonesia as a transitional solution to replace its Su-27 and Su-30 still in service, pending the increase in power of the fleet Rafale.

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As for Greece, India, Taiwan and Egypt, all seem determined to employ their fleet from 2000 to the end of their potential, as the aircraft still proves to be effective and efficient, in particular with regard to interception and air superiority missions.

Rafale Mirage2000 qatar e1625759333293 Fighter aircraft | Defense Analysis | Military aircraft construction
The Qatari Mirage 2000 could be acquired by Indonesia as a transitional solution pending the arrival of new generation fighters like the Rafale and the KF-21.

The obvious attractiveness of this device on the international scene shows, if it were necessary, that there is indeed a significant market for what concerns a single-engine fighter with high performance, but economical to buy and to operate. employment, as are the Mirage 2000, the F-16 or the JAS-39. It is this, moreover, towards which several recent programs are heading, such as the South Korean KF-21 Boramae, the Turkish TFX or the Indian Tejas Mk2.

The area of ​​excellence of Dassault and the French aeronautical BITD

However, this niche has been precisely the area of ​​excellence of the French aeronautical industry since the end of the 50s, and the arrival of the Mirage III, an aircraft which, by the very admission of American analysts at the time, offered performance comparable to that of American devices which are often much heavier and more expensive.

It is this observation, moreover, which pushed the US Air Force to give in to the Fighter Mafia to design the F-16, where its generals favored without hesitation the F-15 and the F-111 in the early 70s. .

However, neither the Rafale, which evolves in the category of medium fighters like the F/A-18 and the Typhoon, nor its successor the NGF resulting from the hypothetical FCAS program, which will evolve without the slightest doubt in the category of heavy fighters (beyond 30 tonnes) if we judge by its dimensions and ambitions, offer any response to this market.


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4 Comments

  1. […] On March 10, 1978, the prototype of the Mirage 2000 took off for the first time. Intended to replace the Mirage III/V and IV of the Air Force, the aircraft was an undeniable success, both from the point of view commercial with 601 aircraft produced, half of which were dedicated to export to 8 international air forces, but also from a technological and operational point of view, the "2000" being the first aircraft to combine the performance of the Delta wing which made the success of the Mirage III, and the combination of electric flight controls and advanced high-lift devices, offering very significant performance to this single-engine aircraft considered by many to be the only competitor to the famous American F-16. The fact is, like the American aircraft, the Mirage 2000 still represents today the armed fist of many armed forces almost 45 years after its first flight, and remains considered the best fighter in service in Greece, but also in India, in the opinion of the pilots themselves, at least until the arrival of his designated successor, the Rafale. Less than 15 meters long and 10 meters wide, the French fighter relied on an excellent new turbojet from SNECMA, the M53, developing 6,8 tonnes of dry thrust and almost 10 tonnes with afterburner, for a mass of only 7600 kg empty, giving the aircraft very high performance, with a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 at high altitude and Mach 1,2 at low altitude, but also in terms of ascent speed with more than 18.000 m/minute at sea level. In addition, its delta wing gave it excellent lift and great maneuverability, particularly at medium and high speed, and if its on-board electronics took longer to achieve the desired performance, the Mirage 2000 was on par with the F-16 in this area from the end of the 80s, especially since it could rely on new munitions that were also very efficient, such as the MICA air-to-air missile. READ MORE. […]

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