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Thales keen on upgrading Mirage 2000
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Thales keen on upgrading Mirage 2000 (LEAD)

By Shibi Alex Chandy, Indo-Asian News Service

Paris, June 27 (IANS) French aerospace major Thales has proposed upgradation of Mirage 2000 fighters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and has also sought clarifications on the Indian government's newly-introduced offset clause in defence deals, officials said.  

A Thales team would travel to New Delhi July 14 to take forward the proposal, which was submitted earlier this month, the officials added.

The retrofitting of the Mirage 2000 would take place at Bangalore's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and this would upgrade the fighter to the Dash-5 category.

This would increase the life of the aircraft, inducted by the IAF in the mid-1980s, by 20-25 years, the officials said.

The IAF has 52 Mirage 2000s in three squadrons.

Under the Indian government's offsets policy introduced earlier this year, 30 percent of all defence deals worth over Rs.3 billion ($64 million) has to be reinvested in the country.

The Thales team would discuss with their Indian counterparts the mechanics of this, the officials said.

The IAF had informally approached Thales last year for the upgrades to extend the fleet's operational capability, as well as air-to-air and air-to-ground superiority to take on multiple targets with multi-role and swing-role capabilities.

'If we are given the order today, we should be able to retrofit the first set of two aircraft in three years. Then after we can do two per month,' Frederic Andre, programme manager for Mirage 2000, had told a group of visiting Indian journalists in April.

The aerospace giant has provided avionics and other high-technology systems to most planes flown by the IAF, including the Mirage 2000, SU-30 and MIG-29K for aircraft carrier Gorshkov and proposes to upgrade these systems to the latest generation.

French aircraft maker Dassault that manufactured the Mirage 2000 has now shut down its production line. Dassault is in the race for the 126 medium multi-role fighter aircraft the IAF plans to buy to replace it ageing MiG-21 fleet.

Seven countries, besides India, fly the Mirage 2000. These are Egypt, France, Greece, Peru, Qatar, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates. Of them, France, Greece and the UAE, have opted for Thales upgrades.



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Yes even the Mirages need upgradation hope they dont end up the MiG way..

Dont know how many of u read it but there was an article in TOI a year ago or something titled "Mirage going the MiG way"

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