Friday, July 29, 2011

IAF Signs $2.4-billion Mirage 2000 Upgrade Contract

The Indian government today signed the $2.4-billion (Rs 10,900-crore) contract with French firms Dassault and Thales to upgrade 51 Mirage 2000H/TH fighter jets. The contract was signed at the Indian Ministry of Derfence today. Meanwhile, here's the Dassault-Thales joint press release [PDF] announcing contract signature. As reported first on Livefist, the deal was cleared by India's apex Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on July 13.


Shubham said...

Given the enormity of the deal both in terms of IAF's declining Squadron strength as well as the actual monetary size of the "upgrade", and also the impending outcome of the MMRCA contract, there is more than meets the eye as many people have pointed out. I feel that this is not just another upgrade..some other carrots have been thrown in too - besides the obvious weapons package..

Shailendra said...

"Masaalla Shiv Bhaijaan" Now our Taiyaara-e-kafir is going to Unnat Darza "subhan-allah"

Anonymous said...

great and fast news , looking for more updates

Anonymous said...

Great news for the great mirages !

Deepak Datta said...

There are some indications that the Eurofighter is going to get the MMRCA contract. We should have given the upgrade of Mirage contract to the Israeli bidder and purchased 40-50 Rafaels in a dedicated Strategic Weapons delivery platform for our Eastern and Western Sectors. I also confirmed the news that the MMRCA order would exceed 200+ when all is said and done.

F35 should still be on our radar. For the Chinese sector, we would need cutting edge fighters. F35 would be a formidable fit generation fighter aircraft with its powerful avionics and AESA radar. This should be in spite of India signing on to the PAK/FA Russian Fifth generation fighter under development.

Abhilash said...

Mirage2000 are undoubtedly the best of the best but paying huge ransom of 10900 crore for extending the life of the aircraft for 15 more years doesn't seem to be a viable one for IAF.

KVR said...

So that means the Rafale

Anonymous said...

It's not an extension of life but a deep mid life upgrade, 40 M$ a piece for this work is an usual figure. Balance is for HAL infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

@ Deepak Datta : "some indications" from where ? Any idea of the financial figures to be open soon ??

Anonymous said...

Great news Shiv. Nice to see deal at 2.4 bn dollar. Not exactly cheap yet not horrifyingly expensive.

Sanem said...

shortly before the US fighters were left out of the MMRCA competition, it was declared that the Teja's would be using a US engine

the Mirage decision, only a month before the MMRCA conclusion, sounds like a blow softener to me

Anonymous said...

What a humongous waste of money. We should have gotten a partial upgrade done with the support of Israelis for less than USD 1 bill.

What are we upgrading the Mirages to? All that stuff going onto it is from 1980s/90s. That tech is more than a decade old.

Instead we could have done the cheap israeli upgrade and bought a bunch of gripens or more MMRCA.

I guess the babus swiss bank accounts are getting filled nicely.

Unhappy Desi

Anonymous said...

excellent news..these 51 Mirages when upgraded to Mirage-2000-9 standards would neutralise the bulk of the PAF's F-16 Block 50 fleet. Long pending and without this the Mirage fleet would've been left uncompetitive against the F-16 Block 50s.

Anonymous said...

$2.4 Indian taxpayer rupees wasted.

Well, we can always count on the smart alecs in New Delhi to do that which is least rational. Because upgrading a 80s era aircraft when you are spending $11 billion on "new" aircraft is just the wisest way to use $2.4 billion.

After all the Indian tax payer is a fool and its not like the paper pushers in ND are paying for this.

Mr. Ra said...

The deal may be worthwhile if the modern effective weapons have to be incorporated within it. And if really so, the price may be justified as it is the dire need of today.

Rav007 said...

Very true....a pending task handled on time..and also this would sweeten the Rafale deal for India and perhaps we can squeeze something more from the french in it.If atall it is Rafale?????

Deepak Datta said...

It could have been done at least 35% cheaper by the Israelis. They had provided an unsolicited bid which we should have availed of immediately. We should have bought 40-50 Rafaels from France for two dedicated squadrons for delivery of strategic weapons, one for eastern and the other for the western front. That way French would have been happy too. The Eurofighter more than likely is going to win the nod for the MMRCA competition. With SU30MKI, upgraded Mig 29, upgraded Jaguar (Darin II). Upgraded Mirage 2000H, Eurofighters, PAK/FA fifth generation fighter aircraft and miscellaneous other aircraft (Migs) - Indian air force is poised to become a credible defender of the nation's interests.

However, after missing out on building a strategic relationship with the US ( rejection of F16IN Block 60 or the F18 E/F), India must go ahead and make a deal for F35 JSF to counter the PLAF developments in J22 Fighter. In addition, JSF would offer India a cutting edge platform and enhanced strategic partnership with US which India needs to counter the Chinese Dragon and its expansionist goals.

Anonymous said...

And the second prize for the MRCA competition goes to ....... Dassault!

The consolation prize has just been handed out.

joydeep ghosh said...


great news indeed. Tho all those who think its wate of money please check the present capability of Mirage 2000 and the upgrades that we need, which will make it the most potent fighter we have.

Now all we need is to bolster the number of Mirage 2000s. Reports say Greece wants to sell of its fleet of Mirage 2000s (economic condition), UAE plans to replace its Mirage 2000s with Rafale and wants France to get a 3rd buyer for them.

Mirages of both the countries are the very latest (Greek one are the last of production line)and in brilliant condition.

If we manage to get our hands on some (if not all) we can have a dedicated squadron for SFC and still have a massive numbers of these very potent fighters


Joydeep Ghosh

RAVEN said...

excellent news ...but still it shouldnt have costed the way it is now.... i hope the MMRCA enter indian airspace soon n strengthen our fleet...

Anonymous said...

The Upgrade will be to 2000 - 5 standard or at least a IAF suited
variant of it.

The 2000-9 is the designated given to the 2000-5 variant flown by the UAEAF (it is different in terms of avionics etc used..)

anita said...

Buying the Rafale would be intelligent as Interoperability between the aircraft would be better. Moreover, Rafale already has a Naval plane.

joydeep ghosh said...

@anonymous 11:05

If this reply is in reference with my posting then I would like you to know that 2000-9 was the last upgrade over 2000-5 and even if it is so then,please tell me if it is a problem if we get some very capable and tailored Mirages (some UAE Mirages are tailored for EW)

Do respond & thanks

Joydeep Ghosh

Anonymous said...

Shiv its a request to you Please Make an Article Regrading Our AMCA Please Give ua something new Please whats the status of Our AMCA????

Anonymous said...

$40 million for an aircraft for just next 15 years is way too high

its more than $1/2 million for an aircraft per an year

I dont know whether or not it will see a combat in its remaining upgraded 15 years of life time

How pathetic it is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Deepak Datta said...

I analyised the reporting further. So France will upgrade 2 of our 52 Mirages in France WITHIN 40+ Months ( that is almost three and a half years), then 2 more Mirages would be upgraded at HAL by French Engineers with Indian Engineers in training, and THEN HAL would upgrade one Mirage per month after that. WOW! The remaining 48 would take almost 5 plus years to complete the project. That could be almost 2020, by which time these planes would be ready for retirement by 2027-30. 

At $46 Million upgrade price (Ouch! ), is it not wise to sell these 52 jets, just like Greece and UAE are trying to do and buy Rafales instead at $70 or $80 Million and have a cutting edge multi-role fighter for at least 40 additional years? For what we are going to be paying to upgrade these jets, we could even buy JAS 39 Grippen, a far superior MMRCA aircraft of 4+ generation, which could again last as 40 plus years, plus get complete TOT, which would help us with LCA and AMCA development. 

So here is the revised suggestion
- Sell the Mirage 2000H and TH models to the highest bidder with French ok or get them upgraded by Israel for 40% less price on a much expedited schedule.

- Buy 126-200 MMRCA fighters - Eurofighter or Rafale. Get full TOT guarantees. Give the project to one of the private players like Tatas. 

- Get 139 Jaguars upgraded to Darin Ii and III standard. Jaguar is our deep penetration strike aircraft with strategic weapon delivery capability.

- If Rafale is not selected for MMRCA, which is a very likely scenario, buy 40-50 Rafales in a dedicated role of delivering Strategic Weapons.

- Expedite the 69 Mig 29s upgraded to SMT standard.

- Aggressively work with US government to get F35 - Joint Strike Fighter(JSF). This is where our focus should be and indications are that they might be willing to entertain the request. Remember, besides F22-Raptor, which US currently would not sell to anyone, F35 is a stealth fighter with tremendous capabilities. In addition, India needs to build close strategicm ties with US to counter the Chinese Dragon and its proxy Pakistan. We need this fighter to be facing the eastern front, with the upcoming deployment of Chinese J20 fighter jet. I do know that India has signed an agreement with Russia for the PAK-FA Fifth Generation Fighter aircraft. 

However, Russian aircraft would never be able to matchup against US technology. Just name one war where the Russian jets have defeated American jets - Zero. Just in 1982, Israel flying F16 and F15 jets destroyed 86 frontline Soviet aircraft being flown by Syria in two days without a single loss of its own (wow!). Gulf war I & Ii, Kosovo operation, Libyan operations are all examples of superior US technologies. There was a time when US equipment was not available for obvious reasons. Now India should go for the best proven technologies. Pakistan's recent acquisition of F16 C/D Block 52+ aircraft with 500 potent BVR  AIM120C-5 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile, in conjunction with Saab Erieye AWACs makes the skies more complicated. Block 52+ or older F16 are flown by US today. Think about that! By the way,

Anonymous said...

1. USD 47 million per plane plus more money on HAL infrastructure and weapons
2. Planes have already passed more than half their life
3. They were very good in old days but today they cannot keep up even with LCA Tejas or J-10.
4. New LCA tejas planes won't cost as much as upgrade.
5. Rafale or Eurofighter even if it costs USD 90 million would be a better buy as it is more than a match for any plane today and wouldn't have to be replaced in 15 years.
6. Upgrade doesn't benefit in terms of timeline as it is quoted as 44 months!

Deepak Datta said...

To Anonymous: @514 pm
My sources in defence circles.
Eurofighter has quoted a much higher price.

Anonymous said...

Great news, the 2000-9 are equivalent to Gripen. In this case we should call it the 2000-10, the technologies used will be more up-to-date than the UAE ones.

Bond007 said...

Outsource the Western Air Command to USAF for 5 years with stringent SLAs and negotiate a good price for the outsourcing deal. Next reduce India's defence budget by 50% and use the same money to fund infrastructure projects, social projects, up-liftment of poor especially in Maoist insurgency areas !

Let us seem a resurgent India after 5 years :)

Anonymous said...

It seems that someone made huge money in this deal. $1 million $ per plane for such an old plane is a criminal waste of money.I still feel they should have developed tejas and would have got the same price as the upgraded Mirage 2K. What a shame and poor vision.I feel they could have got 51 Grippen if they would have nicely negotiated for adding a billion more.

Anonymous said...

@Deepak, if EF has quoted a much higher price, how can it get the contract? Some contradiction here. Furthermore, "defence circles" can believe what they want, till the commercial proposals are open, nobody will know actual cotations.

Deepak Datta said...

However, based on past history of upgrades by HAL, Mirage upgrade would not be completed until at least 12-13 years from now which is a shame. Our private industry should be roped in to do the upgrades or even the new MMRCA project, Tatas, Mahindras, L&T and other suitable candidates are there. Our security establishment can maintain the security of these plants.

The sooner we get the government out of running businesses, and free them up for governing the nation, the better for the whole nation. In every single case the world over, private enterprises have outperformed, the public  (government) enterprises in efficiency, quality and goal management. The babus would fight this tooth and nail, because this would amount to blocking their grease monies. But this is what needs to be done to make our defence industry world class. US and other Western governments provide research funds to private companies, and they in turn get to negotiate the final cost on a cost plus basis. Private entrepreneurs have a vested interests in timely completion of the projects, because that is how they would get paid, including any incentives and or penalties for early completion and or delays respectively.

Deepak Datta said...

The flawed decision to upgrade the 52 Mirage 2000 T and TH to Mirafe 2000-5 Mark II standard, instead of selling them, is no different than the inexplicable decision to select Pilatus P7 as India's ab initio (basic trainer) over a modern Texan T6C- Texan, by the US firm, Raytheon/Hawker-Beechcraft. This version of the trainer is more advanced than the model T6B-Texan, which is still being inducted by US, Canada, Germany, Israel. Greece, Morocco, and Iraq. T6C-Texan is based on the airframe of Pilatus P9 a much later model, but heavily modified by the American firm - in fact the T6 does not share a single common part with the Pilatus P9. It was modified by as much as 70% from the original P9 by the Americans. 

What did we do? We earned the distinction this year of selecting Pilatus P7 Mark II along with Botswana, a country of just 2 Million, is in south-central Africa, bounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, all friendly neighbours. Botswana ordered 5 Pilatus P7s and we are about to order 75 of these old aircraft whose first protype first flew in April 1966 and went into production in August 1988 (24 years ago) to replace the grounded HPT-32 Deepak, which first flew in 1978 (34 years ago). Absolute genius! The 75 aircraft are part of the government’s go-ahead to the IAF for the acquisition of 181 basic trainers. 

With India's SU30MKI, Mig 29SMT, Mig 29 KUB, Mig 27, Mirage 2000, Jaguar, Hawk AJT, Eurofighter or Rafale for MMRCA, and the PAK-FA Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) etc, do we not need a cutting edge ab intio trainer for our cadets before they move on to the AJTs and later to high performance jet fighters? Is there no one to look into this glaring malpractice in decision making? 

CAG where are you, or you are only going to act with a report after the fact? Look into the fact that Israel is paying $180 Million for 25 of the T6A-Texan with delivery and training for 15 years and we would be paying for an old under powered aircraft 1 Billion for 75 aircraft?. IAF said that Pilatus P7 Mark Ii was the cheapest of the competitors, of course it is, because we are comparing apples and oranges and misleading the public. The Swiss aircraft, along with Grob’s G-120 TP, Embraer’s EMB-312 Super Tucano, Finmeccanica’s M-311, Hawker Beechcraft’s T-6C Texan-II and Korean Aerospace’s KT-1, participated in the flight trials last year. Rest of the aircraft are of a totally higher class and capabilities and as a result would be little more expensive. You are comparing an Ambassador with today's modern and capable automobiles. The Texan model being offered to us had a twice powerful engine, 60% better climb rate, HUD display, Fully pressurised and air-conditioned cockpit, HOTAS controls all of which would have led to a smooth transition to the Hawk jet trainers. But alas!

Sniff, Sniff! Some thing stinks. Decisions like these lead to allegations of scams, whether true or not.

Deepak Datta said...

Anonymous, why don't you disclose your name? Shiv, please who cannot disclose their name should not be allowed to post or throw around sarcastic baseless comments.

Anonymous said...

@Joydeep Ghosh

Again, the 2000-9 is a variant of the 2000-5 built for the UAEAF ie avionics and weapon system suited for them (Only in the UAEAF in the world has 2000-9)

If you wikipedia it, the 2000-9 is an export version of the 2000-5 mk2.

Hence simply putting,2000-9 is may/may not be the latest but a variant built for the UAEAF

IAF upgrades will be upgraded to 2000-5 mk2 with avionics and weapon system suited to them (and possible be using some of the equipment used for the UAEAF 2000-9)

Now coming to the Question u have asked if it is a problem... will no, only the research and development and tech used for building the UAEAF 2000-9, IF used for the IAF'a mirages, then some royalties will have to be paid to the UAEAF (the UAEAF had funded half the development cost, im sure someone has that article somewhere)

Anonymous said...

Deepak Datta, if this is your name (but who cares?), you are a bit too agressive. Relax, this is just a blog!

Deepak Datta said...

@ Anonymous 2:34 PM
well, your comment ...AW never mind. I do not wish to engage a person who does not have the spine to disclose their name. I have tried to present my views as objectively as possible. There is some subjectivity involved, but based on facts as best as possible. This is not simply a blog, it is an important place to have a discourse. But you would not know what that means.

Deepak Datta said...

Just an update. Now two F-35A Lightning II joint strike fighters have been delivered at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida during July 2011. The aircraft are the first two full production models and not prototypes, and were delivered to the 33rd Fighter Wing for immediate induction and commencement of training. This should take care of the naysayers who doubted if the JSF would materialise any time soon.

Folks, there is no comparison between Eurofighter/Rafale/SU30MKI etc with the worlds most advanced stealth fighter/GA aircraft available out there for sale. F22 Raptor is not for export.

Eurofighter deal does bring EADS experience and technologies not just for the MMRCA for for across the board aviation related benefits. However, we need a strategic partnership with US to protect our strategic interests. India should sign the CISMOA and other enabling agreements for the transfer of most sensitive US technologies to India. There is no point getting the C130J-30s, P8I-Poseidon and other Technology platforms without the full fledged equipment. No country would share their crown jewel technology without safeguards and end use monitoring to prevent it falling in the wrong (Russian) hands. In the event of any hostilities with China, Pakistan would surely jump in fro the West and the North, we would need inter-operability with US, which is the only country likely to intervene in our favor. Too much is being listened to the foreign policy wonks regarding lack of China's posture against us. These same people were wrong leading up to 1962 and they are wrong now.

Deepak Datta said...

There are 31 F35A on the production line in Texas and at full rate production, they plan to finish one plane a DAY, not one in a month. Wow! Wow! Wow!

F35 JSF Lightening II, is the only fifth generation multi-role air dominance aircraft out there. Today is the world of BVR warfare. Long before F35 is even detected, it would vanquish its enemies and be long gone. Why give IAF second or third best, when THE best aircraft might be available, provided CISMOA and End User agreements are signed. There is a plan to produce over 4500 F35s. India is surrounded by enemies with growing capabilities.

Nikita said...

Deepak, you should open your own blog, shouldn't you? Call it "F-35 fan". I hope LM folks pay you well. What you claim is so estonishing that I wonder if you are serious. 45,00 F-35, why not 1,00,00?

Deepak Datta said...

@ Nikita 3:08PM

JSF Projected Sales.

9 participating countries in the F35- Joint Strike Fighter, world's ONLY fifth generation multi-role stealth fighter program, US, UK, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and Turkey alone have signed on for 3173 F35 variants through 2035, in the MOU signed in 2006. Israel is placing confirmed orders for 40 F35s with a projected need for 100 plus aircraft to replace its F16s. Japan, Korea, Singapore have all expressed solid interest. The remaining NATO countries and US allies would more than like will all end up buying F35.

Let me share my logic behind my initial estimate of F35 sales. It is based on the historical sales data of F15, F16, and F18 aircraft which F35 intends to replace in conjunction with the F22 Raptor.

Since 1975, 1534 F-15A/B/C/D/E/J/DJ Eagle and Strike Eagle Fighters were produced. Saudi Arabia has just placed an order of 84 F15SA jets

Since 1976, 4450 F16-Fighting Falcon multi-role aircraft were produced and production for export orders for Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Egypt, and iraq is underway.

Since 1978, 1478, F/A-18A/B/C/D Hornet multi-role fighter were  produced.
In addition, 630 F/A-18 E/F/G Super Hornet versions have been produced. 
Canadian has built 138 F/A F18 Hornets.

That brings the total number of F15s, F16s & F18s produced so far to 8230.  Therefore a number of 4,500 F35s being produced is a credible estimate by me. Cheers!

Nikita said...

@deepak, thanks! Not sure F-35 will replace F/A 18 E/F (ask the US Navy that they think about...) nor F-15 (F-22 job) but I agree F-35 will be produced in significant numbers. 3000, 4000, we'll see ! Hope it will deliver the promised capabilities. Cheers.

Deepak Datta said...

F35 JSF Model C 

@ Nikita 11:34 AM

I have and the US Navy is fully committed to the World's Only Fifth Generation Multi-Role All Weather Naval Verson F35-C Lightening II. The F35 program is progressing very satisfactorily. The cumulative flight test activity totals for 2011 according to Lockheed Martin are as follows:

F-35A conventional take off and landing (CTOL) jets have flown 250 times.
F-35B short take off/ vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft have completed 187 flights.
F-35C carrier variant (CV) jets have flown 81 times.
From the start of flight testing in December 2006 through July 25, 2011, F-35s flew 1,065 times, including the production-model flights and AA-1, the original flight test aircraft.

The F-35 Lightning II is the ONLY 5TH Generation fighter, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment. Lockheed Martin is developing the F-35 with its principal industrial partners, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.

The US Navy is fully committed to replacing its F/A F18-E/Fs with F35C on Ann expedited schedule. US Navy plans to buy 480 F35-C variant to replace it F/A F18 E/F and other variants. There are no doubts about it. 

You might be mixing the F35-B STOVL versions for the US Marines, which is having some issues, mostly solved during 187 flight tests. Just last month, On 18 July 2011, the U.S. Navy's F-35 integrated test force completed the first jet blast deflector test on the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter. On 27 July 2011, the F-35C test aircraft CF-3 completed its first steam catapult launch during a test flight in Naval Air Engineering Station Lakehurst. PAtuxent RIver, Md. 

The US Marines and the British Navy has indicated that they might buy more of the C variants than the B variants as originally planned. In the light of Mig29 K/KUB recent crash and grounding, India should look into the F35 B & C variants. Sources are still quoting a flyaway cost in 65-70 Million Dollars, these are LM people in US.

Rahul said...

@ Deepak Datta

Your postings are always very informative and analytical with plenty of background material. It helps readers like me to understand the issue amidst the clutter. Thanks.

Deepak Datta said...

Just a reminder to every one, the Mirage 2000 was not that "potent" during Kargil "Safed Sagar" in 1999, became operation "Vijay" only after Israelis showed up with laser guide precision munitions for Mirage which "helped turn the war" in India's favour according to the Israeli Ambassador, Mark Sofer. We also must not forget that US gave its tacit approval for the Israeli action in a sign of emerging friendly relations between the two natural allies.

Sales of Phalcon AWACs and other high tech defence products have only happened due to US approval.

We must expedite our efforts to get F35A, the world's only fit generation multi-role stealth fighter. Every thing eels is just waste of time. If we truly wanted to upgrade Mirages, we would have bought Mirage 2000-9 available for sale from UAE and Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2 from Greece. Mirage 2000-9 being the most sophisticated Mirage 2000 vaiant and Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2 is what we would get starting in 4 years with all 52 being completed in 10 years. Is there a logic in MODs decision? Absolutely not. 

CAG should investigate this matter now, before it is too late. Some one should raise this matter in the current parliament.

According to some reports, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her latest visit offered F35 to India on "unbelievable" both on price and delivery schedule. Eurofighter and Rafale, the down-selected MMRCA candidates are still going to be a non-stealthy 4.5 gratin aircraft. All we need to sign is the CISMOA and BECA enabling agreements necessary for hi-tech transfer. Over 60 countries have signed these agreements with US to access world class technologies. Even Pakistan has signed these agreements with US before they received the P3C Orion and F16 C/D Block 52 aircraft. All Nato countries, Japan, South Korea and every other country receiving US arms have signed it. 

Some bureaucrats in Indian establishment do not support the growing strategic Indo-US relationship and thus are causing roadblocks Ike recommending against signing these agreements by propagating preposterous implications of signing these agreements, like our equipment would be turned off by US during a war with Pakistan. How dumb can some one be by suggesting these stories? Let me very clear, even if we use the sub-standard equipment from BEL etc, US has technologies to intercept any frequencies if it were to ever desire, which it has no reason to. India needs to step. Out and shake off coldwar paranoia and embrace in a strong strategic partnership based on equality and mutual trust.

Our continued reluctance in signing these routine agreements creates doubts in US regarding our sincerity in safe guarding their technology. Enough already! 

Padam Sood said...

Dear Deepak, I tend to agree with you that there are many people in our defense establishment who have been wined and dined by Russian and European firms. Some of these bureaucrats have their kids education and other expenses paid for these vested interests.