Know How India’s 35-Yr-Old Fighter Jet Mirage 2000 Is Different From Pakistan’s F-16
The Logical Indian Crew India
February 28th, 2019 / 10:35 AM
In the wee hours of Tuesday, February 26, at least a dozen of Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter jets from Dassault Aviation reportedly entered the Pakistani airspace and dropped 1,000-kg laser-guided bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC).
Reportedly, there were around 200 casualties in the airstrike which targeted primarily the biggest JeM hideout in Balakot in India’s “non-military pre-emptive strike.” While the IAF has new-age fighter jets like the Sukhoi Su-30MKI and MiG 29 and indigenously developed Tejas LCA in its arsenal, the Mirage-2000 jet has always been the “heavyweight” champion.
How are both the jets different?
The Mirage-2000 is one of India’s most versatile fighter jets and was commissioned in 1985 by the Rajiv Gandhi government as a counter-response to Pakistan’s purchase of the F-16 from the USA, the same aircraft that Pakistan claimed to have used to challenge IAF’s Mirage during the operations. The same aircraft played a vital role during the Kargil War of 1999. India had initially placed an order of 36 single-seater Mirage-2000 and four twin-seater Mirage 2000 in 1982, reported India Today. After witnessing the success of the aircraft, the Indian government placed an additional order of 10 more fighter jets in 2014 which pushed the total number to 50.
The Mirage took its first flight in 1978 and right after its induction in the IAF, it was called Vajra. It was developed by Dassault Aviation, the same French company who also manufactures the Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts. According to News18, in 2011, a contract was signed to upgrade the existing Mirage-2000 jets to Mirage 2000-5 Mk which would increase the life of the existing aircraft till 2030. Dassault had built an estimated 580 Mirage-2000s over 30 years before replacing them with Rafale MMC jets.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s F-16 Falcon is a supersonic multi-role single-engine fighter jet which was developed by US-based manufactured by Lockheed Martin for the US Air Force (USAF). Reportedly, a total of 4,500 aircraft was manufactured since it was first introduced in 1976.
While the Mirage 2000 enables the army to store a large number of weapons in the aircraft, it can efficiently be used in both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. Additionally, a multi-target radar allows the pilot to keep a check on multiple engines during high-intensity combats. Meanwhile, the F-16, albeit not as swift as the advanced F-22 Raptor or the F-35, is praised for the clear view it offers to the pilots in the cockpits which allows them to be more accurate. The ability to accelerate vertically allows the F-16 to have an edge over the Mirage, reported India Today. Apart from the US, atleast 25 other countries use the F-16 while France, UAE, Egypt, Peru, Greece, Taiwan, Brazil, and India use the Mirage 2000.
According to The Week, while Pakistan also operates over 100 Chinese-built J-7 fighters which are copies of the Russian-built MiG-21, the F-16s are the most advanced fighter jet that Pakistan possesses. While Pakistan operates around 75 of such jets, due to strict US exports control and manufacturing regulations, the Pakistani government has not been able to make further modifications to it, which has made the country more reliant on Mirage III/V.
Written by : Sromona Bhattacharyya
Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi