French company Dassault Aviation on Wednesday handed over two upgraded Mirage 2000 I/TI for the Indian Air Force to Indian envoy Arun K Singh in Paris. The two fighter aircraft underwent extensive upgrades by two French companies, Dassault and Thales, under a modification programme estimated at $2.4 billion. In 2011, India had signed a contract for the upgrade of its 51 Mirage 2000 aircraft.
The handing over the two upgraded fighter planes incidentally coincides with Prime minister Narendra Modi embarking on an eight-day tour of France, Germany and Canada from April 9 with a focus on attracting investment and technology.
The ceremony of acceptance of the aircraft was hosted by Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation Chairman & CEO, and Pierre Eric Pommellet, Thales executive vice president for defence mission systems.
The maiden flight of its first upgraded Mirage 2000 was completed successfully by Dassault Aviation in October 2013, following a two-year development phase in which the equipment kit, which includes the radar, electronic warfare suite and mission computer, was provided by Thales.
The first phase of the programme was completed on schedule in France. The rest of the fighter jets will be upgraded in Bangalore by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with support from Dassault Aviation and Thales teams.