The Dassault Mirage 2000 is a highly successful multirole combat jet fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation of France. The Mirage 2000 has been in service with the French Air Force ( Armee de l’Air ) since 1984 and eight more countries have Mirage 2000 fighters in service. There is no doubt the Mirage 2000 is an elegant airplane, with the delta wing configuration and lack of tail planes. Among other things the Mirage 2000 was the first aerodynamically unstable fighter jet with full fly-by-wire and a couple of years ago reached movie stardom level in the French production ” Les Chevaliers du Ciel” ( Knights of the Sky ) aka ” Skyfighters”.
What is most interesting about the film is the lack of any CGI, director Gerard Pires insisting that actual planes and actual photography should be used for the movie. In fact, the star planes were followed by another Mirage 2000 that carried a specially designed camera installed inside an empty fuel pod. Armee de l’Air pilots were involved in all of the breath-taking aerial maneuvers. The French Air Force had some severe rules regarding minimum distances between aircraft and safety heights. Pilots received permission to bend the normal safety rules, and the 500 feet above ground rule dropped to the 10 feet above ground rule and, more importantly, a 3 feet distance between aircraft was allowed. And in case you don’t know why I wrote all this stuff, it’s because I needed a pretext to post this video. The best aerial footage I have ever seen.
The Mirage 2000 was developed by Dassault after the joint Anglo-French variable geometry aircraft program failed. Designed as a competitor for the General Dynamics F-16 Falcon, which defeated the Mirage F1 in a contest for a new jet fighter for the air forces of Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands and Norway, the Mirage 2000 was a small single-engined, delta wing fighter, a development of the Mirage III fighter that first flew in 1956. Unlike its predecessor, the new Mirage 2000 was an unstable aircraft with full fly-by-wire, quadruplex system with four analog computers, full authority on three axes (pitch, roll and yaw) and no mechanical back-up. On March 10, 1978 test pilot Jean Coreau flew for the first time in the new Mirage 2000. Because the Mirage 2000 used the Mirage III as a basis it was possible to develop the aircraft in only 27 months. November 20, 1982, marked the first flight of the production series aircraft, and in 1984 the Mirage 2000 reached operational status.
Because of the negative static stability and the fly-by-wire control system, the Mirage 2000 is a very agile aircraft, overcoming the delta wing configuration shortcomings such as low speed control problems. The delta wing offers low drag, low RCS ( Radar Cross Section), high speed, internal volume, simplicity in design and manufacturing technologies. The SNECMA M53-P2 low-bypass ratio turbofan engine provides 64 kN of thrust and 95 kN with afterburner ( about 21,400 lbf ).
Over the years there have been numerous Mirage 2000 variants:
Mirage 2000C – single seat interceptor, 37 of which entered service with Armee de l’Air ( French Air Force )
Mirage 2000B – two seat training variant, 30 have entered service with the Armee de l’Air
Mirage 2000N – nuclear strike variant, 75 have entered operational service since 1988
Mirage 2000D – conventional attack variant developed from the Mirage 2000N, 86 have been introduced in service starting in 1995
Mirage 2000-5 – upgrade for Mirage 2000B and Mirage 2000C featuring new glass cockpit taken from Rafale, a Thales multimode RDY (Radar Doppler Multitarget) providing true multitarget tracking ( it can simultaneously detect up to 24 targets and track the eight highest-priority threats while guiding four MICA EMs to different targets simultaneously); 37 aircraft upgraded
Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2 – the most advanced version of the Mirage 2000; equipped with Thales RDY-2, a high-power Modular Data Processing Unit from the Rafale, ICMS 3 digital countermeasures suite, data link for MICA ER missiles
Mirage 2000E – export version of the Mirage 2000, equipped with day-only ATLIS II laser targeting pod
Mirage 2000M – export version for Egypt, 16 aircraft have entered service with the Egyptian Air Force
Mirage 2000H – export version for India, 42 single seaters and 7 two seaters were purchased by the Indian Air Force
Mirage 2000P – export version for Peru, 10 aircraft ordered
Mirage 2000-5EI – in 1992, the Republic of China Air Force ordered 48 single-seat Mirage 2000-5EI interceptors and 12 Mirage 2000-5DI trainers, with introduction of the first squadron in 1997 and the last fighters delivered in 1999
Mirage 2000-5EDA – export version for Qatar, a total of 12 have been ordered
Mirage 2000EAD/RAD – in 1983, the UAE purchased 22 single-seat Mirage 2000EADs, 8 unique single-seat Mirage 2000RAD reconnaissance variants, and 6 Mirage 2000DAD trainers, for a total order of 36 machines
Mirage 2000G – 36 single seat Mirage 2000 EG and 4 two seat trainers Mirage 2000BG ordered by the Hellenic Air Force in 1985
Mirage 2000BR – export version for Brazil
Mirage 2000-9 – export version of the Mirage 2000-5 Mark 2
Dassault Mirage 2000C Specifications
Length 14.36 m (50 ft 3 in)
Wingspan 9.13 m (29 ft)
Height 5.30 m (17 ft 5 in)
Wing area 41 m² (441.32 ft²)
Empty weight 7,600 kg (17,000 lb)
Loaded weight 13,800 kg (30,420 lb)
Max takeoff weight 17,000 kg (37,500 lb)
1× SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan, 95 kN (21,400 lbf)
Maximum speed (Mach 2.2) altitude
Range 1,850 km (770 NM, 890 mi)
Service ceiling 18,000 m (59,000 ft)
Rate of climb 285 m/s (56,000 ft/min)
Wing loading 337 kg/m² (69 lb/ft²)
Max sea level speed 1,480 km/h
Climb to 9,700 m 1,75 min
Climb to 15,000 m 4 min
Turn rate at 5 g 12°/sec
Turn rate at 9 g 24°/sec.
Max g: normal 9 g, overloaded 11 g, break 13,5 g.
Guns 2× 30 mm (1.18 in) DEFA cannons
Missiles 4× MBDA MICA air-to-air missiles