Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D

The Dassault Mirage 2000N is a variant of the Mirage 2000 designed for nuclear strike. It forms the core of the French air-based tactical nuclear deterrent. The Mirage 2000D is its conventional attack counterpart.


Dassault Mirage 2000N/2000D
Class Aircraft
Type Fighter
Manufacturer Dassault Aviation
Origin France
Country Name Origin Year
France 1986
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
France View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Dassault Aviation 161 View

The Mirage 2000N was designed to French requirements for an aircraft to replace the older Mirage IVP. Dassault received a contract to build two prototypes. The aircraft first flew on 3 February 1986. Seventy four were built up to 1993.

The Mirage 2000N is based on the Mirage 2000B two-seat trainer, but features considerable changes. The airframe was strengthened for low-level flight and fitted with an Antilope 5 radar, which is used for terrain following, navigation and ground mapping, and which can follow terrain at 1,112 km/h (691 mph).[citation needed] Other avionic features are twin INS's and moving map displays for both the pilot and weapon systems officer. The Mirage 2000N can carry one ASMP medium-range nuclear missile, and can also carry two MATRA Magic AAM's for self-defence.[citation needed] Other protection features include the Sabre jamming system and the Spirale chaff system. Because the extra seat decreases range, a pair of drop tanks are carried. Since the Mirage 2000N's standard weapon was the ASMP, which was carried on the centerline pylon, that meant it couldn't carry a centerline tank, but a distinctive big 2,000 liter (530 US gallon) underwing drop tank with a bulbous nose was developed to more than compensate

The first batch of 30 aircraft for the French Air Force had a sole nuclear capability, and these were designated Mirage 2000N-K1. These did not have the Spirale chaff system, and carried a pair of AN.52 free-fall nuclear bombs before the ASMP was ready. The later batch of 44 aircraft were designated Mirage 2000N-K2. These had both a nuclear and conventional capability, and a full defensive fit. The K1 aircraft now have a limited conventional attack capability.

Dassault has also developed the Mirage 2000D, which is a development of the Mirage 2000N designed for long-range precision strikes with conventional weapons. This aircraft is exactly the same as the Mirage 2000N, but introduces support for conventional attack missiles such as the Apache and Scalp missiles, as well as the AASM weapons. The first aircraft, converted from the Mirage 2000N prototype, flew on 19 February 1991, and the French Air Force ordered a total of 86 aircraft.

The Mirage 2000N is not licensed for export. The French Air Force has 62 in its inventory.

Like the Mirage 2000N, the Mirage 2000D had variants. The Mirage 2000D-R1 does not have the full weapons capability of the Mirage 2000D-R2, which features the Apache and Scalp missiles, the ATLIS II laser designation system, and the Samir self-protection fit.

Operation Deny Flight and Deliberate Force

An M88 Recovery Vehicle hoists the body of a downed French Mirage 2000D aircraft of Nancy – Ochey Air Base during a recovery mission 27 May 2011. in the Bakwa district of Regional Command West in Afghanistan.

French Mirage 2000s were prominent participants in UN and NATO air operations over the former Yugoslavia. On 30 August 1995 one Mirage 2000D was shot down over Bosnia by a MANPADS heat-seeking 9K38 Igla missile fired by air defence units of Army of Republika Srpska during operation Deliberate Force, prompting efforts to obtain improved defensive systems.

Operation Enduring Freedom and ISAF

AdA Mirage 2000Ds served in the intervention in Afghanistan in 2001–2002, operating in close conjunction with international forces and performing precision attacks with LGBs. The French Air Force deployed the Mirage 2000D to Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan from 2002 to 2004 to support coalition forces in Afghanistan. Then from 2004 to 2007, they stayed at Dushanbe, Tajikistan. In summer 2007, after the Rafale fighters have been removed from the theater of operations, 3 French Mirage 2000s were deployed to Afghanistan in support of NATO troops. To shorten the response time to support NATO ISAF troops in southern Afghanistan, the aircraft moved to Kandahar International Airport. Three Rafale F2 and three Mirage 2000Ds operate from Kandahar in 2008. On 24 May 2011, a French Air Force Mirage 2000D crashed 100 kilometers west of Farah. Both crew members successfully ejected and were recovered.

Opération Harmattan and Unified Protector

French Air Force Mirage 2000D were committed since the beginning to the enforcement of the Libyan no-fly-zone that was approved by the UN in March 2011. The Mirage 2000Ds were among the first strikers: on 19 March 2011, a mixed French formation of Mirage 2000s and Rafales hit a Libyan army column that was heading for Benghazi with several vehicles destroyed. The Mirage 2000D remained one of the most used striker for the next months when Opération Harmattan was succeeded by the UN led Operation Unified Protector. On 20 October 2011, a Mirage 2000D dropped the last NATO munitions of the war, when a mixed formation of a French Air Force Mirage 2000D and a Mirage F1CR was vectored to strike an armed convoy which was trying to break through the rebels' lines at Sirte. The Mirage 2000D dropped its two laser guided GBU-12 bombs hitting and stopping Gaddafi's convoy, resulting in his capture and death.

Operation Serval

French forces became actively involved in the Northern Mali conflict (2012–present) starting from 11 January 2013 with Operation Serval. The six Mirage 2000D’s based in N'Djamena, Chad for the long lasting French military presence in that country, alongside the two Mirage F.1CR based there, were among the first forces committed to the conflict, bombing the Islamic militants’ bases and forces in Northern Mali. The Mirages were flying with a similar configuration to the one used over Libya nearly two years before, with two 500 lbs GBU-12 (laser) or GBU-49 (GPS and laser) guided bombs on the centerline pylon, and two external fuel tanks on the inboard wing pylons.

Starting from 17 January 2013, three of the Mirages were relocated in Bamako, Mali, precedeed by the two simpler Mirage F.1CR which started operating from Bamako few days before.

Role Fighter-bomber
Manufacturer Dassault Aviation
First flight 3 February 1986
Primary user French Air Force
Number built 161 (75 Mirage 2000N and 86 Mirage 2000D)
Developed from Mirage 2000


General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 14.55 m (47 ft 9 in)
  • Wingspan: 9.13 m (29 ft 11 in)
  • Height: 5.15 m (16 ft 11 in)
  • Wing area: 41 m² (440 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 7,600 kg (17,000 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 10,680 kg (23,550 lb)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 17,000 kg (38,000 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan
  • Dry thrust: 64 kN (14,300 lbf)
  • Thrust with afterburner: 95.1 kN (21,400 lbf)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 2,338 km/h (1,289 kn, 1,453 mph)
  • Combat radius: 800 NM (1,480 km, 920 mi)
  • Ferry range: 1,800 NM (3,340 km, 2,100 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 m (59,000 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 285 m/s (56,000 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 410 kg/m² (85 lb/ft²)
  • Thrust/weight: 0.91

Armament

  • Hardpoints:
    4× under-wing
    4× under fuselage
    1× centerline
  • Rockets: Up to 4x Matra SNEB 68-mm 18-round rocket pods on the four underwing hardpoints
  • Missiles:  Air-to-air missiles:
    Up to 4× R550 Magic air-to-air missiles for self-defence, normally 2 on the ouboard underwing pylons
    Up to 4× MICA IR air-to-air missiles for self-defence, normally 2 on the ouboard underwing pylons
  • Air-to-surface missiles: – Mirage 2000N
    1× ASMP medium-range nuclear missile on the centerline pylon
  • Air-to-surface missiles: – Mirage 2000D
    1× Apache anti-runway cruise missile on the centerline pylon
    1× SCALP EG air-launched cruise missile on the centerline pylon
    2× AS-30L laser-guided missiles on the inboard underwing pylons
  • Bombs:
    AASM 125, 250, 1000 Kg laser, ISN/GPS, IIR guided bombs. The lighter versions are carried in pairs on the centerline and inboard wing hardpoints and one under each of the four fuselage hardpoints
    up to 10× GBU-12 227 Kg laser-guided bombs or GBU-49 227 Kg INS/GPS and laser guided bombs, in pairs on the centerline and inboard wing hardpoints and one under each of the four fuselage hardpoints
    up to 3× GBU-16 454 Kg laser-guided bombs on the centerline and inboard wing hardpoints
    up to 3× GBU-10 907 Kg laser-guided bombs on the centerline and inboard wing hardpoints
    up to 3× GBU-24 907 Kg laser-guided bombs on the centerline and inboard wing hardpoints
    up to 3× BGL-400 400 Kg laser-guided bombs on the centerline and inboard wing hardpoints
    up to 3× BGL-1000 1000 Kg laser-guided bombs on the centerline and inboard wing hardpoints

Avionics

  • Twin inertial navigation system
  • Antilope 5 terrain-following radar

End notes