Kargil war exposed Indian Air forces inability to fight conventional and maintain Airpower at 18,000 feet, only saving grace from that war was that French built Mirage-2000H performed exceptionally well over mountainous terrain and got desired results for India which was instrumental in pushing back Pakistani Army from Kargil sector .

India’s cancelled MMRCA tender had roots in Kargil war and post-Kargil war assessment by IAF recognised the need for new Multi-Medium role combat aircraft and the obvious choice was to purchase 126 upgraded Mirage-2000-V (Dash 5) from France .

IAF’s love affair with French Mirage-2000 is well known , Air Force in 80’s wanted 80 more Mirage-2000 over 50 which were already ordered by India and already had created required additional Infrastructure at airbases where Mirage-2000s were based . When India was all set to order expensive additional Mirages then came the Soviet Union counter offer with their latest Mig-29 Air Superiority fighter jets at throw away price . an offer which India could not refuse and plans to buy additional Mirages was dropped indefinitely.

MMRCA debacle and India placing orders only for 36 Rafale combat jet which is the successor to framed Mirage fighter jets will only keep IAF in the quest for more of this type in near future. No matter which Single-engined fighter jet India selects airforce will always push for additional Rafale fighter jet like they have been doing in past for additional Mirages. IAF, in fact, is still pushing for the purchase of two additional Mirages from France for its attrition replacement .

India can only hope Air Force doesn’t make French Rafale an obsession and keep wasting time and resources in engaging with government in acquiring more Rafale that it affects its future planning and negate India’s indigenous fighter programs like Tejas MK-1 ,MK-2 and 5th Generation AMCA fighter jet program .


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