Dassault Aviation has handed over the first two upgraded Mirage 2000 I/TI fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at its Flight Test Centre in Istres, France.
In July 2011, the company and its partner Thales received a $2.4bn contract to modernise the IAF’s Mirage 2000 fleet, through integration of the latest generation equipment and systems including radar, the electronic warfare suite, and the mission computer.
The upgrade is aimed at further enhancing the technical-operational capabilities and service life of the fighters by another 15 years.
Dassault successfully completed the maiden flight of the first upgraded aircraft in October 2013.
Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said: "Today’s ceremony is the result of the excellent understanding between the Indian and French partners and of our commitment to India.
"India is Dassault Aviation’s first export client and the historical relationship we nurtured with the Indian Air Force has spanned 60 years, growing from strength to strength."
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Thales Defence Mission Systems executive vice-president Pierre Eric Pommellet said: "We are trusted partners of the Indian Armed Forces and have developed a strong local supply chain which helped us to make the upgrade of the Mirage 2000 a real success story.
"We are ready to continue developing this team work in the future."
The programme’s first phase was completed in France, while the remaining aircraft are scheduled to be modernised at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) facility in Bangalore, India, with complete support and involvement of Dassault and Thales’ teams.
The IAF currently operates 51 Mirage 2000H fighters, which are known as Vajra in the Indian service.
Power for the Mirage 2000 comes from a single SNECMA M53-P2 turbofan engine.
The Mirage 2000 is a multirole combat fighter designed for air defence, all-weather nuclear penetration, automated bombing, and air-to-ground and air-to-air firing missions.
Image: The Indian Air Force received its first upgraded Mirage 2000 I / TI fighter aircraft at Dassault’s Flight Test Centre in Istres, France. Photo: courtesy of © Dassault Aviation.