A Mirage 2000 jet fighter aircraft
A Mirage 2000 jet fighter aircraft | Photo: Jason Alden | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: The Mirage 2000, a trusted workhorse of the Indian Air Force (IAF) used extensively during the Kargil face-off in 1999, emerged as the fighter jet of choice again as India decided to enter Pakistan territory to destroy terrorist camps.

Mirage 2000 is a product of the France-based Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the controversial Rafale fighter jets India has purchased.

When asked why Mirage-2000s were used, a source in the Ministry of Defence told ThePrint, “Mirage has the capability for pin-point accuracy. It has all kind of weapons, including smart and conventional ones.”

Mirage-2000

Mirage 2000 is one of several fighter jets in the IAF’s fleet, which also boasts of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, MiG-29, Jaguars, and the indigenously-produced Tejas LCA.

Mirage-2000 is a multi-role, single-engine fighter jet available in “single-seat and two-seat” configurations.

It is a lighter aircraft than India’s other fighters and has a top speed of 2,336 kmph.

In comparison, the more advanced fighter in India’s fleet, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, is heavier and slower at 2,120 kmph.

This was one of the major reasons why the IAF chose Mirage-2000s for Tuesday’s operation.

In terms of firepower capabilities, the Mirage-2000 can launch air-to-air and air-to-surface missile attacks. It can also carry laser-guided bombs and has a multi-target Doppler radar on board.


Also read: Madrassas to military training — how Balakot emerged as largest breeding ground for JeM


India and Mirages

India first placed the order for the Mirage-2000 in 1982, as a response to Pakistan acquiring the US-made F-16s. India acquired 36 Mirages at the time.

After they were used extensively during the Kargil War (though within Indian territory), India ordered 10 more Mirage-2000s in 2004.

In 2011, India placed another order to upgrade its Mirage 2000s to Mirage 5-Mk, re-establishing them as India’s most trusted fighter jets.


Also read: These are the 3 locations in Pakistan that were bombed by Indian Air Force


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