The Indian Air Force (IAF) is set to acquire 24 second-hand Mirage 2000 fighters, made by Dassault Aviation, in an attempt to strengthen its ageing fleet of the fourth-generation fighters and also secure parts for its two existing squadrons of the aircraft, people familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
IAF has initialled a contract worth 27 million euros to buy the fighters, eight of which are in ready-to-fly condition, the people cited above added. That works out to a per-aircraft acquisition cost of 1.125 million euros. The people cited above said the aircraft will soon be shipped to India in containers.
IAF’s 35-year old Mirage fleet, which performed exceptionally during the 2019 Balakot operation, is undergoing a mid-life upgrade, the people said – with the trigger for the acquisition of the second-hand aircraft being the immediate need for 300 critical spares. The aircraft is becoming obsolete in France, they added, and IAF chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhaduaria decided to go in for the purchase.
Out of the 24 fighters, 13 are in complete condition with engine and airframe intact with eight of them (nearly half a squadron) ready to fly after servicing. The remaining 11 fighters are partially complete but with fuel tanks and ejection seats, which will be scavenged to secure parts for IAF’s two existing squadrons of the fighter.