Armaments may prove to be a costly affair for India’s Mirage 2000 upgrade

  • 12:00 AM, May 6, 2011
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The Indian Air Force (IAF)’s plans to upgrade its fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters could be delayed following issues over the armaments package of the upgraded aircraft. While both the IAF and the French company, Dasault are keen to get the project off the ground at the earliest, informed sources told defenseworld.net that discussions still needed to be concluded on the issue of the complement of weapons to be fitted on to the aircraft which is to be upgraded to the Mirage 2000-5 MkII standard. An Indo-French joint statement had said in December 2010, “discussions concerning the upgrading of Mirage-2000 aircraft are expected to be finalized soon”. There has been no official word on the progress of the Mirage 2000 upgrade deal after that. Defenseworld.net has learnt from industry sources that the price, an estimated INR10,000 Crore (US$2.2 billion) itself considered high for upgrading around 50 aircraft, may go up by an estimated US$700 million if one considers the cost of procuring, integrating and clearing the armament of the upgraded aircraft. Post-upgrade, the aircraft is to have Beyond Visual Range (BVR) and air-to-ground missiles with look down, shoot down and multi-target engagement radar and fire control system. After the upgrade, all the current weapons inventory will be redundant; the procurement of new weapons to equip the upgraded aircraft is projected to cost upwards of U.S.$700 million-$1bn. The discarded weapons with their associated equipment are understood to be unusable on other IAF platforms and will thus be a significant write off.
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