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India signs USD 2.4 billion deal for Mirage upgrade

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Indian Air Force Mirage 2000. An IAF Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Giving a new thrust to its air force, India Friday signed a USD 2.4 billion deal with French companies Thales and Dassault Aviation to upgrade its 51- strong Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft fleet.

The upgraded aircraft are expected to serve for another 20-25 years. Mirages were inducted by the IAF in the mid-80s.

The deal had been hanging fire for the last five years as the Defence Ministry had been involved in extensive negotiations including on the cost of upgradation quoted by the French side.

"Thales and Dassault Aviation today signed the contract (with Defence Ministry officials) for upgrading the Mirage 2000 fleet," company officials said here.

The proposals for upgradation of the warplanes were cleared at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) on July 13.

Under the deal, the French firms will help in upgrading the avionics, navigation systems, mission computers, electronic warfare systems and radars bringing the aircraft to the Mirage-2000-5 standards.

"Based on the integration of latest generation equipment and systems, the upgrade will further enhance the technical-operational capabilities of the IAF's Mirage 2000," Thales officials said.

The French companies will have to invest 30 per cent of the worth of deal back into the Indian defence sector as offsets.

As per the Indian defence offsets policy, foreign vendors bagging deals worth over Rs 300 crore have to invest at least 30 per cent of the worth of the deal back into the Indian defence, civilian aerospace and homeland security sectors.

"The extensive involvement of Indian industry within the programme will consolidate existing ties with the French aerospace industry and will reinforce long-term cooperation based on cutting edge technologies and the sharing of technical know-how and expertise," they said.

As per the agreement, India will first send two of its aircraft to France for upgradation and, thereafter, the rest would be upgraded at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited facilities in the country, company sources said.

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India  IAF  Mirage 2000  France  
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