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Indian Air Force (IAF) has set its sights on procuring additional Mirage 2000 aircraft, specifically the Twin-Seater variant. This decision comes in the wake of a recent accident that resulted in the loss of one Mirage 2000 aircraft, prompting the need for replacements. The IAF’s commitment to maintaining and enhancing its operational strength is evident in this pursuit of additional Mirage 2000s.

The Mirage 2000 has been a mainstay of the IAF for over three decades, forming the backbone of three squadrons stationed at the Gwalior airbase. These versatile multirole fighters have played a crucial role in various conflicts, including the Kargil War and the Balakot airstrikes. Currently, India operates around 50 Mirage 2000s, with plans to keep them operational until at least 2035.

The IAF’s interest in acquiring additional Mirage 2000s stems from the need to replace aircraft lost in accidents. Recently, the IAF procured two ex-French Mirage 2000 trainers to compensate for a lost trainer aircraft. This strategy of acquiring used airframes from other countries has proven cost-effective and allows the IAF to maintain its desired squadron strength.

While the Mirage 2000 continues to hold its own, the IAF’s long-term vision lies with the indigenous Tejas MkII fighter jet. This advanced version of the Tejas light combat aircraft promises enhanced capabilities and will gradually replace the aging Mirage 2000s. Development and production of the Tejas MkII are progressing steadily, with the first squadron expected to be inducted into the IAF by 2030-31.

The IAF’s decision to acquire additional Mirage 2000s reflects a pragmatic approach to maintaining its combat edge while transitioning to the next generation of fighter jets. These additional aircraft will provide valuable operational flexibility and ensure that the IAF remains well-equipped to face emerging threats in the region. The Mirage 2000, with its proven track record and ongoing upgrades, will continue to serve as a crucial bridge between India’s past and future airpower capabilities.

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