HomeIndian DefenceIndia, Qatar discuss sale of Mirage 2000 fighters to IAF

India, Qatar discuss sale of Mirage 2000 fighters to IAF

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New Delhi: A high powered team from Qatar is in the capital to discuss the possible sale of 12 ‘sparingly used’ Mirage 2000 fighters to the Indian Air Force, which will boost its combat aircraft strength at a time when legacy MiG fighters are being steadily retired from service.

Sources said that the Qatari jets, which are configured to Mirage 2000-5 modernisation standards, can be a good addition to the two Mirage squadrons already in service with the air force. One of the mainstay strike fighters of the IAF, the French origin Mirage 2000s are no longer in production but are expected to stay in the Indian inventory for another decade.

The final price for the deal will be reached after a careful assessment of the jets but is expected to be in the โ‚น6,000-7,000 crore range. The residual life of the aircraft depends on how many hours they have been flown. Sources said that it is assessed that significant residual life remains, which will help the two current squadrons maintain their strength in the coming years.

India is expected to drive a hard bargain for the aircraft, which will come with weapons and spares, and will have no difficulty integrating them to the combat strength given that ground equipment and maintenance facilities are already in place at Gwalior and adequate pilots and technical support staff are available.

Before the arrival of the Rafales, the Mirage was India’s fighter jet of choice to carry out strike missions, given its reliability and highly accurate weapons package. The same aircraft had carried out precision strikes in 2019 at terror training camps in Balakot.

The air force has been facing an acute shortage of combat jets as replacement of legacy MiG 21 squadrons have not arrived on time. While 36 Rafale jets have been ordered, the original requirement was for 126 jets of the same class.

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