Wednesday, October 20, 2010

India To Sign Mirage Upgrade Deal

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report Oct 20 , 2010 , p. 06
Neelam Mathews

NEW DELHI — After years of vacillation and wrangling, India is now set to sign a $2-billion deal with Dassault to upgrade 51 aging Mirage 2000 fighters to the 2000-5 standard.

The deal is expected to be signed Dec. 6 when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visits India. Ahead of Sarkozy’s trip, Adm. Edouard Guillaud, French chief of defense staff, will be in India on Oct. 23 to discuss bilateral defense cooperation.

New capabilities for the Mirage will include longer-range detection and weapon firing against multiple targets, as well as an extended operating envelope that allows for border-protection missions using two Mirages instead of six.

The multitrack RDY-3 radar to be installed in the Mirage is the same generation the French air force is using on its M-2000D, with increased range compared with the existing Doppler multifunction system.

The Mirages, which have 20 years of life left, will not receive an engine upgrade. However, improvements in avionics, helmet-mounted displays, electronic warfare equipment, data links and mission computers will make it a multirole fighter, an official says. Weapons will include MBDA’s MICA heat-seeking infrared (IR) missiles and MICA RFs.

The Mica RF has an active radar homing head, and the Mica IR has a passive IR imagery homing head, making it a stealth missile. The target coordinates are transferred from the aircraft’s sensors to the Mica before launch. Once fired, target information can be updated from the launching aircraft. In the terminal phase, the RF/IR seeker is fully responsible for target acquisition and interception.

The Mica RF is in service with the air forces of Taiwan, Qatar, France, the United Arab Emirates and Greece. For air-to-air engagements, the Mica RF is fitted on the Mirage 2000-5, Mirage 2000-9 and Rafale aircraft.

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