On Thursday, near Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district, a Mirage 2000 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed while the pilot ejected safely. The incident was reported in one of the tweets by the Indian Air Force.
Around 6 km from Bhind, on an empty field in Mankabad, debris of the aircraft was seen scattered in a visual which a team of policemen said to be the smouldering tail section of the trainer jet.
As per an official, at around 10 am they learnt that the incident had occurred when they had assembled at the Bhind police headquarters to commemorate martyrs and the ceremonial parade was underway.
The Indian Air Force was contacted by the police and as it was only 8 km away, the Force arrived at the site within 10 minutes and first aid was given to the pilot. The official added that for further treatment, an air ambulance came down and the pilot has now been taken to Gwalior.
Playing a decisive role in several subsequent operations conducted by the IAF and also in the Kargil War which took place in 1999, the Mirage 2000 was commissioned in 1985 and is considered to be one of the most versatile aircraft of the Indian Air Force. Soon after its induction, the aircraft was given the name of Vajra by the IAF.
For carrying weapon system payloads, the aircraft is equipped with nine points (5 on the fuselage and two on each wing) while two internally mounted high-firing-rate 30mm guns are also armed in the single-seat version of the aircraft.
Magic 2 combat missiles along with the MICA multitarget combat missiles are supported by the Mirage 2000 and the aircraft is capable of carrying four such MICA missiles which have a maximum operating range of 60 km along with three drop tanks and two Magic missiles simultaneously. As an alternative to the MICA missile, an MBDA Sky Flash air-to-air missile can be fired from the Mirage 2000-5.
The Mirage-2000s have been completely phased out by the French Air Force in favour of the Rafale and the production of compatible spare parts shall also be stopped inadvertently, although the craft is now battle-weary, India is still in possession of a fleet of 50 Mirages in service.
For prolonging the lifespan of the fleet, phased out aircraft are being purchased from the French company by India to keep up a supply of replacement gear while spare parts are also being stocked up as they are still available.
In August-September this year, a contract was signed to purchase the phased out Mirages which ANI reported shall not be used for flying and will only be used to improve the spares and airframe capability to aid the serviceability of the fleet.
Although around half of the fleet has undergone extensive upgrades, the upgradation process is slow. On the other hand, to prolong the fleet’s serviceable years by another decade, the remaining half is expected to be fitted up soon.