Procurement: Indian Mirages Getting Expensive Makeover


December26, 2006: India is going to upgrade its 52 Mirage 2000 fighters, at a cost of $35 million each. The aircraft will get new radar and fire control systems, as well as modern electronic warfare systems and digital communications. The upgrade price includes a supply (quantity unspecified) of MICA, long range (50 kilometers) radar guided missiles. These cost about $600,000 each and are similar to the U.S. AMRAAM. Other components (like the airframe and engines) would also be refurbished. After the upgrade, the twenty year old Mirage 2000s would be good for another twenty.

While expensive, the upgrade would turn the Mirage 2000 fighters into long range air-to-air killers. These aircraft could very efficiently knock down their Pakistani opponents (which are equipped with less capable Chinese FD-60 long range missiles.) However, Pakistan is also getting 18 new F-16 fighters, along with 500 AMRAAM long range air-to-air missiles. The Indians expect the French to provide electronic warfare equipment that can give AMRAAM a hard time. How well that works won't be seen until, and if, there's another large scale war between India and Pakistan. Meanwhile, India, with it's upgraded Mirage 2000s, and new Su-30s, will have a quality edge over it's primary opponent in the region; Pakistan.


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