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First upgraded Mirage fighter for IAF undergoes flight test

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The IAF's Mirage 2000 fighter jet.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Under IAF's over Rs 10,000 crore modernisation programme, the first Mirage 2000, upgraded by its manufacturer, has successfully completed its maiden flight at an air base in France.

India had signed an upgrade programme worth over Rs 10,000 crore with the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation for upgrading the fleet of its Mirage 2000 aircraft.

"The upgraded Mirage 2000 has successfully completed its maiden flight on schedule as envisaged by the campaign programme," Dassault Aviation said.

The firm, which is negotiating a multi-billion dollar deal for supplying 126 Rafale combat aircraft to India, said after the successful completion of this phase, scheduled for mid-2015, the rest of the fleet will be upgraded in India, and will have significant involvement of the company, the HAL and Thales in it.

The IAF had started procuring the Mirage-2000 in the early 80s and had signed an upgrade deal last year to extend the life span of the aircraft by around 10-15 years.

The Air Force lost two of the Mirage 2000 aircraft last year in crashes and maintains only 49 of the aircraft out of the 51 for which the deal was signed. It is not clear whether the cost of upgrading the fleet of these aircraft will come down or not because of the two losses.

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