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The Indian Air Force (IAF) is contemplating acquiring a fleet of pre-owned Mirage 2000 fighter jets from Qatar, along with spare M53 engines, to fortify its ageing fighter squadrons. This potential deal comes amidst concerns about the longevity of the IAF’s existing Mirage 2000 fleet, many of which are nearing the end of their service life due to engine limitations.

Qatar has proposed selling its fleet of 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighters, including nine single-seat 2000-5EDAs and three dual-seat 2000-5DDAs. These jets are particularly attractive because they come with 14 Snecma M53-P2 afterburning turbofan engines – vital components for extending the operational life of the IAF’s current Mirage 2000 fleet.

Interestingly, Qatar’s Mirage 2000-5s are integrated with the Apache missile system – an air-launched, anti-runway cruise missile developed by MBDA France. This missile is a precursor to the SCALP EG cruise missile, which the IAF already acquired as part of its 36 Rafale fighter jet deal with France.

However, it remains unclear whether the Apache missiles will be included in the potential sale of the Qatari Mirages to India. The IAF currently operates 49 Mirage 2000s that are not equipped with Apache missiles, so their inclusion or exclusion could significantly impact the overall value proposition for India.

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