Wednesday, July 22, 2020

French-origin IAF Mirage 2000H Aircraft Tanks Up From It's Russian IL-78 Refueller [Photographs Of The Day]

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The Indian Air Force's [IAF] Mirage-2000H aircraft has been the platform of choice, each time India has responded in anger - think, turning the tide with LGB munitions in Kargil or, more recently, spicing up Balakot, garnishing it with High Energy material. Some eye-feasting visuals of a pair of Vajra, as the Mirage are known in India, hooking up with the IL-78MKI Aerial Refuelling Platform, of Russian-origin.
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An elegant Tailless Delta configuration Mirage 2000, powered by a Safran M53-P2 Turbofan Engine, churning out 21400 lb-force of Wet Thrust, with it's Shock Cone implementation, evokes positively amorous feelings in an Engineer. Acquired from France in the 1985, it had it's first moment under limelight, 2 years later, in 1987. During Operation Poomalai, it provided fighter escort to India's humanitarian airdrops, in aid of Sri Lanka's besieged Tamil population - "You Don't Mess with the Zohan India". Outrage ensued, India pursued.

The IAF Mirage-2000 regularly feature in it's bilateral Exercises with other countries. Most notably, they engaged the Armée de l'Air Française, during Garuda-series, with the USAF during Cope India 2004 &, that same year, flying to Hoedspruit, South Africa, to participate in it's Exercise Golden Eagle.
Since induction, they have received periodic, incremental upgrades. It includes integration of the ability to launch the Israeli SPICE-2000-guided bombs, which broke through the clouds, literally & otherwise, during it's Balakot debut. The Air Force has, reportedly, forward deployed it's Mirage 2000, in response to current Chinese belligerence.
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Perfectly-timed Photo Shows An Indian Air Force Dassault M.D.450 Ouragan Aircraft Firing A Fusillade of 8 Rockets
In continuation with IAF's nod of approval for French designs, India is in the process of introducing the Rafale Multi-Role Combat Aircraft in fleet. With 36 Rafale assured of sporting IAF Fin Flash, it is also in contention for India's current Fighter acquisition process - a MMRCA Redux.
Would India still persist with a buy of 114 Airframes, it originally envisaged? Questionable proposition, given it's recent ad-hoc decision to buy 33 Aircraft, to upscale Squadron strength in "quick time". These include 21 moth-balled MiG-29 variants, that Russia will deliver upgraded to IAF's UPG standards, that are, in turn, proposed to receive further upgrades - Inception level recursion! 12 locally-license manufactured Sukhoi Su-30 MKI will make up the rest. With purchase likely reduced to 80-ish, it makes more sense to negotiate for additional Rafale with the French, securing as much Tech Transfer as 80-odd would permit. The training infrastructure, methodology, & Supply Chain that the 36 aircraft would introduce would be extended for the other aircraft, thus precluding need for starting familiarisation, all over again, with another aircraft type.
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IAF Mirage-2000H Aircraft Armed With A Medium-range Super 530D & Short-range Magic II Air-to-Air Missiles
The Ilyushin Il-78MKI Mid Air Refuelling System [MARS] have been the IAF's mainstay since 2003. 6 of these aircraft, it currently operates. It is based on the same airframe as it's Ilyushin Il-76 heavy-lift transport aircraft.
Persistent issues of serviceability & availability are a common adage with Russian systems. This, & in keeping with it's expanding scope of operations, IAF was pursuing acquisition of the European Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT), only for Indian babooz to bamboozle the purchase. The buy is, currently, no-buy.
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For it's transport fleet augmentation, too, it looked further West, acquiring American Lockheed Martin C-130J & Boeing C-17 platforms. That said, India is unlikely to see the last of Russian systems, any time soon. A recent Stimson Center Report concluded that, despite India shopping globally for armament, including Arab kingdoms, Russian platforms constitute 86% of India's armoury.
A Western platform operating in conjunction with Russian systems in a "non-aligned" India. Political imperatives, coupled with indigenous capabilities, topped with acquisition idiosyncrasies, harmonise a symphony of such interesting sights.
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