Dassault Mirage 2000
|FIGHTER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Dassault|
Possessing no commonality with preceding Mirages despite its appellation, the Mirage 2000 was chosen on 18 December 1975 to become the next primary combat aircraft of the Armee de l'Air. The Mirage 2000 was developed initially as a single-seat interceptor and air superiority aircraft, the first of four prototypes being flown on 10 March 1978. A company-funded fifth prototype, in tandem two-seat trainer form, flew on 11 October 1980.
The first production Mirage 2000C flew on 20 November 1982 with a SNECMA M53-5 rated at 5547kg dry and 8790kg with afterburning, this being supplanted with effect from the 38th Armee de l'Air Mirage 2000C by the M53-P2 turbofan producing 6557kg dry and 9687kg with afterburning. Armament consisted of two 30mm cannon with a typical intercept weapons mix comprising two Matra 530D or 530F AAMs inboard and two Matra 550 Magic dogfight missiles outboard under the wings. For an attack mission, up to 6300kg of ordnance could be distributed between nine external stations.
Deliveries of the Mirage 2000C to the first of four Escadres de Chasse began in 1983, this attaining operational capability on 2 July 1984. Conventional and nuclear two-seat strike versions of the aircraft were designated Mirage 2000D and 2000N respectively, the designation Mirage 2000E being assigned to a multi-role export variant.
The Mirage 2000 single-seat fighter export customers included Abu Dhabi (22 2000EADs), Egypt (16 2000EMs), Greece (36 2000EGs), India (42 2000Hs), and Peru (10 2000Ps).
In 1987, the Dassault company offered a private venture two-phase Mirage 2000 update programme. The first phase, the Mirage 2000-3 with Rafale-type cockpit multifunction displays, flew on 10 March 1988, and the addition of a new central processing unit, an updated head-up display and Thomson- CSF RDY multi-mode radar resulted in the second phase Mirage 2000-5, flown on 24 October 1990.
At the beginning of 1993, planned Armee de l'Air procurement of the Mirage 2000 totalled 323 aircraft, including 136 single-seat Mirage 2000Cs. The Republic of China Air Force ordered 60 Mirage 2000-5s in late 1992 for 1995-on delivery.