The new acquisitions are also geared towards developing indigenous supply chains for spare parts and engines. This will empower original equipment spares to be 'Made in India', which in turn should help counter any possible shortage of spares
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
As per government sources, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed a contract on August 31, 2021, to buy old Mirage 2000 jets of the French Air Force to help in sustaining its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft. France phased out one of its Mirage 2000 squadron some time ago. The French Air Force has been replacing its old fleet of Mirages with new Rafale fighter jets.
Beginning mid-1980s, the IAF began inducting the Mirage 2000 fighter jets. India had placed an initial order of 36 x single-seater Mirage 2000 and 4 x two-seater Mirage 2000 in 1982 on France’s Dassault Aviation. Pakistan incidentally had gone for the import of US-made F-16 fighter jets by Lockheed Martin. The Mirage 2000 played a decisive role in the 1999 Kargil Conflict. In 2004, India placed an additional order of 10 x Mirage 2000 fighter jets taking the IAFs total tally to 50 jets.
The maintenance contract for the earlier acquisitions ended in 2005. In 2011 another contract was signed that saw the Mirage 2000 jets being upgraded to Mirage 2000-5 Mk, increasing the life of the planes, which will now serve till 2030. Another contract was signed with Dassault Aviation, the original French manufacturer sometime between 2015 and 2016 for supplying old Mirages which reached Gwalior last year and have helped improve operational availability of the Mirage fleet.
The deal signed by the IAF is for buying airframes that will help to improve the spares and airframe capability which in turn will help improve the serviceability of the around 50 Mirage 2000s in the IAF fleet
The deal signed by the IAF on August 31, 2021, is for buying airframes that will help to improve the spares and airframe capability which in turn will help improve the serviceability of the around 50 Mirage 2000s in the IAF fleet. France will be supplying the de-commissioned Mirage 2000 in containers to the IAF soon reportedly at the cost of Euro1.125 million apiece. This new acquisition is reportedly also geared towards developing indigenous supply chains for spare parts and engines. This will empower original equipment spares to be ‘Made in India’, which in turn should help counter any possible shortage of spares until these aircraft formally gets decommissioned.
The Mirage 2000 is powered by a single shaft SNECMA M53 engine, making it light and simple. Weighing 7,500 kg (dry) with take-off weight of 17,000 kg, it can attain a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 (2,336 km/h) and can travel 1,550 km with drop tanks. It can touch a maximum height of 59,000 feet. Loaded with fly-by-wire flight control system and Sextant VE-130 HUD (which displays data related to flight control, navigation, target engagement, and weapon firing), the Mirage 2000 is capable of carrying laser-guided bombs, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. It also boasts of Thomson-CSF RDY (Radar Doppler Multi-target) radar onboard.
As mentioned above, the Mirage 2000 proved their mettle in the 1999 Kargil Conflict. Later on February 26, 2019, Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft using 1,000-kg laser-guided bombs struck the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist training camp in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) across the Line of Control (LOC). This was in retaliation to Pakistan-sponsored car bombing by JeM of a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy at Pulwama in which 42 CRPF personnel were killed.
Russia has handed over to India, technical and commercial proposals for the modernisation of the Su-30MKI fighters currently in service with the IAF
Concurrently, Russia has handed over to India, technical and commercial proposals for the modernisation of the Su-30MKI fighters currently in service with the IAF. Dmitry Shugaev, Director of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), says, "We are awaiting a decision from partners on this project." Currently, India is armed with more than 250 x Su-30 MKI fighters. As part of the modernisation, it is planned to integrate new missile weapons on the aircraft, expand the capabilities of the radar station, communication equipment and electronic suppression.
India had contracted the Su-30s fighter jets from Russia in batches of which 222 were assembled by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Nasik plant under Transfer of technology (ToT) since 2004. Of the 272 x Su-30s fighters, 40 are being modified to carry the air launched version of the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.
Russia has now turned the vector of its foreign policy towards China and India, as indicated from Russia’s new National Security Strategy that reads, “Development of relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction with the People's Republic of China, especially privileged strategic partnership with the Republic of India." Russia's national security strategy is aimed at creating reliable mechanisms for ensuring regional stability and security on a non-aligned basis in the Asia-Pacific region. On July 3, 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a new National Security Strategy of Russia. The presidential decree was published on the official Internet portal of legal information.
Foreign countries are showing great interest in the Su-34 after successful actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces with the Su-34 during anti-terrorist operation in Syria
Alexander Mikheev, General Director of Rosoboronexport recently announced at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021 that Russia will begin to supply the front-line bomber Su-34; to be supplied to foreign buyers with deliveries likely to begin in 2023. Already Rosoboronexport is carrying out pre-contract activities, promoting the bomber to countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.
Mikheev added that foreign countries are showing great interest in the Su-34 after successful actions of the Russian Aerospace Forces with the Su-34 during anti-terrorist operation in Syria. Su-34 is a multifunctional supersonic fighter-bomber. Belongs to generation 4++. During the development, the aerodynamic configuration "longitudinal triplane" was used, which increases its maneuverability. It can operate at any time of the day and under any weather conditions.
Significantly, Myanmar will be receiving Russian Su-30SME fighters and Yak-130 combat trainers in the near future. The Russian Federation is fulfilling contracts for the supply of Su-30SME fighters and Yak-130 combat training aircraft to Myanmar. Dmitry Shugaev, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of Russia has stated, "The contracts for the supply of Su-30SME multipurpose fighters and Yak-130 combat training aircraft are being successfully implemented. Equipping this technique will significantly increase the capabilities of Myanmar's military aviation."