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India Signs Contract for 24 Second-Hand ‘Mirage’ Aircraft 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has signed a 27-million euro ($31.6-million) contract to purchase 24 phased-out Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft, Hindustan Times revealed.

According to the Delhi-based outlet, 13 of the Dassault aircraft are fully intact — eight in fly-away condition after service — while the rest are missing fuel tanks and ejection seats.

Spare Parts Deal 

The move was triggered by a shortage of 300 critical spare parts for two squadrons (each with 18 aircraft) of IAF Mirages undergoing a mid-life upgrade, the daily stated. It added that the acquisition would overcome the shortfall and help address the air force’s dwindling aircraft strength.

By 2018, IAF squadron strength was 32 against an authorized strength of 42, a figure the air force never reached. IAF’s maximum strength was 39.5 squadrons in the early 1990s. 

Aircraft Three Decades Old 

India bought 39 fourth-generation multirole Mirage 2000s in 1985 and 10 later to counter the fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16A/B the Pakistan Air Force had acquired from the US three years before. The maintenance contract for the jets expired in 2005, forcing the country to seek another deal.

In 2011, India signed a $2.2-billion deal with France to upgrade its fleet of Mirages, adding around 15 years to the aircraft’s life.

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