New Delhi: Rafale fighter jet’s predecessor Mirage-2000 or Vajra ("thunderbolt" in Sanskrit and its Indian name) has wreaked havoc on Pakistan, killing over 200 dreaded and hardened terrorists beyond PoK in Pakistan’s Balakot in a deep penetration lightning swift strike in the wee hours of Monday night. The bomb that was used was called ‘Sudarshan’ after the chakra (discus) of Lord Krishna.

But, this is not the first time that Vajra has made India proud. Back in 1999 Kargil conflict, it had led the nation’s fight against the Pakistani army regulars who had entrenched themselves on heights as terrorists. One of them was flown then by now IAF chief BS Dhanoa.

All you would want to know about Mirage-2000

  • The aircraft is now made in India by the HAL under licence from Dassault. They are organised in IAF squadron called ‘Battleaxes’. It is an air superiority fighter and interceptor.
  • India had placed the first order for Mirage-2000 in 1982 responding to Pakistan’s acquisition of the US F-16. India had placed an initial order of 36 single-seater Mirage-2000 and four twin-seater Mirage 2000. An additional order of 10 Mirage-2000 jets was placed once again in 2004. In 2011 Mirage-2000 jets were started to be upgraded to Mirage 2000-5 Mk, taking the operational life of the jets till 2030.
  • In June 1984, the first fully assembled Mirage-2000 built for the IAF in the famous wine region of Bordeaux in south France came off the assembly line at Dassault-Bregeut's manufacturing plant at Marignac. The then IAF chief Air Marshal Dilbagh Singh too was present on the occasion.
  • India had received the first two upgraded Mirage-2000s from France while the rest were upgraded by HAL.
  • The Mirage-2000 carries and fires laser-guided missiles which are more precision munition and which broke the back of the enemy in Kargil.
  • The new upgraded Mirage-2000 are way better than the original that India bought. The Mirage-2000 that bombed terror launchpads are equipped with a new Multimode pulse doppler RDY-2  radar that can scan extremely long range targets in the air, scans the ground targets based on Doppler technique. It has advanced avionics, better suites.
  • The new radar, with its 'look down' and 'look up' capabilities, can track 24 targets at once and prioritise the 8 most threatening ones. 
  • It has received a new mission computer provided by Thales, which has also added a new jamming system, apart from a new IFF (identification friend or foe) system.
  • It has top-of-the-line instruments. The pilots can see information display on the visor of their helmets without referring to any display panels inside the cockpit. Therefore, the pilots just turn their heads in the direction of their targets rather than aligning their planes with the target to fire. Also, this helmet allows the aircraft to operate day and night due to its compatibility with night vision goggles.  
  • It is equipped with beyond visual range (BVR) missiles, such as MICA.
  • It is a single-engine delta-wing (wings in the shape of a triangle). It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 and a combat radius of nearly 1,000 miles.
  • It has nine hardpoints on which it can carry a range of advanced air-to-air, air-to-surface missiles and bombs, targeting pods, and external fuel tanks.
  • In an impressive achievement, the fighter jet can carry 14,000 pounds of external equipment, despite being a single-engine jet.
  • Mirage-2000 is also the IAF plane that is capable of delivering nuclear bombs.