Analysis India's Mirage 2000-5 Saga: A Missed Opportunity and Long-Term Cost Implications

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In the late 1990s, India's Air Force (IAF) embarked on a mission to bolster its fighter jet fleet with the Mirage 2000-5, an upgraded version of the Mirage 2000H, which had excelled during the Kargil War.

However, bureaucratic hurdles and cost concerns stymied this endeavor, leading to a protracted procurement process and ultimately a more expensive outcome for the nation.

The IAF's preference for the Mirage 2000-5 was based on its proven capabilities and the potential for local production through Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

The proposed deal aimed to acquire a combination of fly-away and locally manufactured units. However, the Indian bureaucracy insisted on a wider tender process, citing concerns over the unit cost of the Mirage 2000-5, estimated to be between $73 million and $80 million per unit.

This cost was considerably higher than the original Mirage 2000H, acquired at around $40 million per unit. The bureaucratic emphasis on a competitive tender aimed to explore potentially cheaper alternatives, leading to the formulation of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) tender.

This broader approach, while intended to be cost-effective, resulted in significant delays and a prolonged evaluation process. Ironically, the eventual selection of the Rafale fighter jet in 2016 came at a per-unit cost nearly double that of the Mirage 2000-5 proposed in the early 2000s.

Open-source information confirms that the MiG-29A, offered by the Soviet Union at a substantially lower cost, played a role in influencing the decision-making process. The MiG-29A's unit cost of $20 million appealed to both the IAF and Indian bureaucrats, leading to the abandonment of the initial Mirage 2000H procurement plans.

The Mirage 2000-5 saga underscores the complexities of defence procurement in India. While the bureaucratic intent was to secure a cost-effective solution, the emphasis on short-term savings potentially led to a more expensive outcome in the long run.

The IAF's vision for a robust domestic fighter jet fleet through the Mirage 2000-5 upgrade was sacrificed, raising questions about the effectiveness of procurement processes that prioritize immediate cost considerations over long-term strategic advantages.

The current scenario, with India operating the Rafale at a significantly higher cost, highlights the unintended consequences of bureaucratic decisions. The Mirage 2000-5, had it been acquired in the early 2000s, could have potentially offered a more affordable and capable solution for the IAF.

This situation serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of balancing cost considerations with long-term strategic objectives in defence procurement.
 
for better of iaf to cancel the MRFA and invest in ORCA and Kaveri engine

If IAF work around Kaveri engine it will be formidable challenge to the European manufacturers and Chinese companies
 
for better of iaf to cancel the MRFA and invest in ORCA and Kaveri engine

If IAF work around Kaveri engine it will be formidable challenge to the European manufacturers and Chinese companies
IAF is not RnD company to invest in engines. They have to source the best fighter available, internal or external, to win when required.
 
Thank India Not Bought Another 150 Mirage-2000H , Today its is far behind Not even AESA Radar , Latest Avionics and BVR over 100 kM ,Anti-Radiation Missile it Lacks.
 
Even if India bought Mirage 2000-5s at $73 to 80 millions per fighter even in early 2000s is a dyalight robbery without any TOT at all.
France/Dassault prices are awful in olden days and egregious in these days.

France/Dassault/Safran are sitting prettily on high mantle and having fun knowing very well that India and its IAF will shell out whatever their asking prices as there are no other alternatives for India.

If only we can develop Tejas Mk2 at WARP SPEED then whole world would be taken aback for sure.
ADA/DRDO/HAL can do it with some meaningful reforms in their organizations.

Go with home grown fighters using GE F-414 engines.
 
Now economy is strong enough to buy and make 100 Rafale-F5 and 26 Rafale-M under MRFA better we make fighter without French Missiles and arm Rafale F-5 with Indian BVRAAMs ! One openion is that Rafales are costly special purpose fighter can't be used for war wastage better we make single engine fighter F-21+ F-36 here in India jointly with Lockheed martin !
 
I hope that IAF opt to cancel MRFA & instead opt to Form a JV with IN to invest in ORCA (TEDBF).
 
Absurd article....no govt is going to hand over billions of dollars worth of contract without a tender....receipe for allegations and scams. India would do it in 1970s/80s as USSR was the only country that was willing to provide the stuff we needed.

Anyways, its IAF to blame equally....started writing requirements by adding everything that they could find on Jane's website....even i can write requirements so that only Mercedes/BMW/Audi fulfill it. But do i need to drive my BMW to do groccery shopping? IAF is equally, if not more, to blame...they could have replicated the requirements of Mirage word to word and selected something within a span of 2 yrs...by 2010 the first production aircraft would have rolled out and today we would have ~8 sqdrns of decent birds .....mig21s would have been long replaced saving numerous lives in last 10 years. But IAF top brass, who is no longer flying anything themsleves, fancies the dream plane ...idts

The syndrome is there in IA top brass too....instead of buying bullet proof jackets and high quality rifles + helments, for good 15 years after KArgi,l they just kept putting vendors through trials....i wish Govt made it mandatory for senior officers to perform field operations on front lines without the BPJ available in Kashmir Valley...our entire army would have BPJs and helmets in a span of 2 yrs under "Emergency Purchases"............life is cheap when its yours, and priceless when mine.
 
for better of iaf to cancel the MRFA and invest in ORCA and Kaveri engine

If IAF work around Kaveri engine it will be formidable challenge to the European manufacturers and Chinese companies
There is nothing called ORCA (plane) in this universe. Kaveri engine has already received blank check funding. But nothing is available for an actual war. So MRFA is a compulsory requirement.
 
Absurd article....no govt is going to hand over billions of dollars worth of contract without a tender....receipe for allegations and scams. India would do it in 1970s/80s as USSR was the only country that was willing to provide the stuff we needed.

Anyways, its IAF to blame equally....started writing requirements by adding everything that they could find on Jane's website....even i can write requirements so that only Mercedes/BMW/Audi fulfill it. But do i need to drive my BMW to do groccery shopping? IAF is equally, if not more, to blame...they could have replicated the requirements of Mirage word to word and selected something within a span of 2 yrs...by 2010 the first production aircraft would have rolled out and today we would have ~8 sqdrns of decent birds .....mig21s would have been long replaced saving numerous lives in last 10 years. But IAF top brass, who is no longer flying anything themsleves, fancies the dream plane ...idts

The syndrome is there in IA top brass too....instead of buying bullet proof jackets and high quality rifles + helments, for good 15 years after KArgi,l they just kept putting vendors through trials....i wish Govt made it mandatory for senior officers to perform field operations on front lines without the BPJ available in Kashmir Valley...our entire army would have BPJs and helmets in a span of 2 yrs under "Emergency Purchases"............life is cheap when its yours, and priceless when mine.
Well they did select the plane, Rafale and EF, in 2011 itself. Before that they had selected Mirage. But first MoD asked them to go for a tender, and then when they selected the best and cheapest plane, HAL couldn't finish the negotiations. So IAF has no blame to share whatsoever in this entire thing.
 
The main reason why the B J P delayed buying more Mirage jets in 2000s is because they were waiting for the Rafale jet to start production and learn more on the technology and capabilities. But unfortunately the corrupt jihadi party neglected to make a deal for the Rafale jet and couldn’t even decide on the technology transfer amount and type they wanted along with issues in pricing. Not just that but the air force chief and his other family members was very corrupt and got caught changing specifications to favour whoever paid them the most. Ten years were wasted and not a single jet was bought. In the last 10 years there has been a major effort in buying some foreign jets along with more indigenous jets ordered. We have also put in place plans to upgrade our current jets indigenously to improve its combat capability.
 
Bureaucrats have to be booted out. They are real disruptors & need no mercy Strict timeliness & SOP to be enforced.
 
for better of iaf to cancel the MRFA and invest in ORCA and Kaveri engine

If IAF work around Kaveri engine it will be formidable challenge to the European manufacturers and Chinese companies
Rafale is a mirror reflection of Mirage, it is not going to happen, so it will be either like Soviet Union, somebody might offer a jet for 1/6th price of Rafale and GOI might go for them OR MRFA might get dragged endlessly and eventually get cancelled.
 
There is nothing called ORCA (plane) in this universe. Kaveri engine has already received blank check funding. But nothing is available for an actual war. So MRFA is a compulsory requirement.
There is a beautiful scale model that can be made anytime if there is a need for them.
 
There is nothing called ORCA (plane) in this universe. Kaveri engine has already received blank check funding. But nothing is available for an actual war. So MRFA is a compulsory requirement.
How much funding overall for Kaveri?
 
Thank India Not Bought Another 150 Mirage-2000H , Today its is far behind Not even AESA Radar , Latest Avionics and BVR over 100 kM ,Anti-Radiation Missile it Lacks.
Thanks GOI for not buying 128 MIrage’s, France would have charged $60Mln to upgrade each jet without a installing a AESA radar or ability to fire long range A2A missile, we saved $8Bln which is very useful now.
 

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