Here’s how India’s Mirage 2000 differs from Pakistan’s F-16

Atleast 12 Mirage 2000 multirole fighter jets, manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under license from Dassault Aviation, on Tuesday (February 26) carried out a bombing operation to decimate multiple terror training camps across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan.

The aircraft played a pivotal role in the Kargil war of 1999 and helped sway the battle in India’s favour by dropping laser-guided bombs on the peaks occupied by Pakistani intruders during the high-altitude conflict.

Although several advanced aircraft like Sukhoi Su-30MKI and MiG 29 have been inducted in the IAF over the years, the Mirage 2000 has been one of the most instrumental interceptor jets in IAF’s history.

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Considered to be a fast-paced bomber aircraft, the Mirage 2000 took its first flight in 1978. After its induction into IAF, it was called the Vajra.

India had initially ordered some 36 single-seater Mirage 2000 aircraft and 4 twin-seater Mirage 2000 aircraft as a response to Pakistan’s acquisition of US-made F-16 Falcon fighter jets-the same fighter aircraft Pakistan claims was used to challenge the IAF during today’s operation.

The F-16 Falcon, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, is an equally efficient fighter jet which is still in service. Some experts consider this aircraft as one of the most prolific jets in service. Apart from the US, at least 25 other countries use the F-16.

Mirage 2000 vs F16 Falcon

The Mirage 2000, also known as the Dassault Mirage 2000, is a single-engine fourth generation aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation, the same company which signed the Rafale aircraft deal with India. The lightweight fighter jet was designed in the late 1970s to replace the existing Mirage III.

With time, the aircraft was upgraded to serve as a multirole fighter jet after it was initially inducted into the French Air Force in July 1984. Some of the primary users of this aircraft are France, UAE, Egypt, Peru, Greece, Taiwan, Brazil, and India. At least 600 units were built by France.

The F-16 Falcon, on the other hand, is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter, which was manufactured by General Dynamics, now Lockheed Martin for the US Air Force (USAF). A total of 4,500 aircraft have been manufactured since it was first introduced in 1976. It is popular for being an all-weather multirole aircraft as it offers better visibility than many of its direct competitors.

Mirage 2000

The Mirage 2000 is available in single-seat or twin-seat multi-role fighter variants. It has a length of approximately 48 feet and a wingspan of 29 feet. The height of the Mirage 2000 is 17 feet.

While it weighs approximately 7,500 kilograms without load, a fully packed jet could have a weight of 13,800 kilograms. In terms of performance, the Mirage 2000 can reach top speeds of up to Mach 2.2 or 2,336 km/hour at high altitude while it can reach up to 1,110 km/hour in low altitude.

It has a flight range of 1,550 kilometres along with a drop tank or an external fuel tank which can be jettisoned when empty. It has a ferry range of 3,335 km with auxiliary fuel.

In terms of armaments, the Mirage 2000 has two 30 mm DEFA 554 revolver cannon. Each gun contains approximately 125 rounds and can be used for air-to-air combat. There are a total of nine hardpoints or weapon stations, designed to carry external weapons or fuel.

The total capacity of the hardpoints maxes out at 6,300 kilograms. It is also capable of launching unguided Matra 68 mm rocket and has a capacity of 18 rockets per pod rockets. It is also capable of launching Air-to-Air and Air-to-Surface missiles.

But the aircraft is mainly known for its capability of carrying out bombing operations.

A single aircraft can hold at least 2 laser-guided bombs, capable of taking out major ground targets.

Since a large number of weapons can be stored on this aircraft, the swift Mirage 2000 can definitely be used efficiently in both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat. It also boasts of a multi-target radar, allowing a pilot to keep a tab on multiple enemies during high-intensity combat.

F-16 Falcon

The F-16 Falcon is a single-engine aircraft but is better suited for air-to-air combat due to its high maneuvering capability.

The multi-role tactical aircraft has a sleek design–though not as sharp as the advanced F-22 Raptor or the F-35–and uses advanced aerodynamics and avionics. Worth mentioning that it was the first aircraft built to pull 9-g manoeuvres, reaching maximum speeds of over Mach 2.

Some of the key innovations in F16 include a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick and reclined seat to reduce g-force effects on pilot.

The F-16’s cockpit is still praised for the clear field of view it offers; pilots can get a 360-degree view during combat, thus greatly improving accuracy.

It is armed with a better M61 Vulcan cannon (20mm) in the left wing root and has multiple hardpoints for mounting a wide array of missiles, bombs, and pods.

The internal Vulcan cannon on the F16 has an extremely high rate of firing (6,000 rounds per minute). This aircraft has an edge over the Mirage 2000 due to its ability to accelerate vertically.

While earlier F-16s could be armed with up to six AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking short-range air-to-air missiles (AAM), it is also capable of launching guided AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range air-to-air missiles.

Recent versions of the F-16 aircraft also support AIM-120 AMRAAMs. It can carry a wide variety of air-to-ground missiles, rockets or bombs, electronic jammers. It has a total of 9 hardpoints-six under the wings, two under the wingtips and one under the fuselage.

With a combat radius of 550 km with 450 kg of bombs, the aircraft is ideal for medium-range missions; it also has some key features that can fox the Mirage 2000 in direct air-to-air combat. It even boasts of more weapon storage capacity than the Mirage.





Source:- India Today

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