The IAF procured 59 Mirage-2000Hs (7 Twin TH) in tranches from 29th June 1985 for the No.7 Battleaxes Squadron after a contract with the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) was signed in 1982. The IAF have since lost 7 Mirages some with fatalities and 51 are being upgraded (4 in France and rest by HAL). They got Israeli Rafael Litening EW Laser and dispensing pods in 1999 for their Laser guided bomb kits from countries including Spain and USA used in final stages of the KARGIL ops and SPICE 60 km navigation bomb dispensers in 2004 and Crystal Maze’ (Popeye-Lite) terminal terrain guidance and GPS seekers from RAFAEL for attacking high-value static targets like aircraft storage hangars/ shelters used in Balakot, all called Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) one shot kill weapons. MIG-29s have Russian PGMs. These if well maintained should not fail and are expensive. MOD needs noting.

The  Mirages have an amazing service record despite crashes unlike Mig21/27s so it was no doubt IAF was always hell bent to get commonality Rafales despite the most complicated DPP in the world of L 1 and LCC with cheaper Gripen and F-16 and they will get 36 Rafales soon, regrettably at a huge unexplainable controversial cost with no Make In India which IAF has always missed sighting shortage of Squadrons. Hence Navy is running short of funds for SEA GOING platforms with 10 cancelled and 5 OPVs of Reliance in doldrums. So IDF ponders did Navy over do its Make In India as nationalists with sacrifice and thought Government will appreciate its ways as even Army could not make Rifles and the Tejas languished. The second aircraft carrier Vikrant just got its CMS from Tata Power/WEESE/MARs of Russia so it will take time to commission is evident, and third aircraft carrier Vishal is postponed due to costs and Nuclear submarines in SBC and Type 15B ships in MSDL delayed. A 127mm gun contract with BAe awaits their Lordships. Navy has now ordered another Akula as Chakra 2 will need replacement. Ask L&T their challenges and woes !.

2018 was a drought year for commissioning with more decommissioning in Navy except for small LCUs and prognosis for 2019 looks like one delayed ASW Corvette Kavaratti will commission and a Scorpene submarine. China build 18 a year but has cut 8. So Navy does best it can with what it has with upgrades and whipping ships and P8Is are a savior for MDA and Navy remains operational as lots is made in India and needs Multi Role Helicopters badly.

US Congress has just approved MH-60 by Lockheed Sikorsky for India. The large Tri Service Exercise TROPEX was on when Phulwama attack took place and Navy deployed West pausing TROPEX. Pakistan reported ships and submarines near as Navy denied as normal patrol and Trump said India is planning something big and he wants India a swing state in QUAD, while Pakistan will play the Bastion strategy of terror unless assured of its security it looks to China for.


The report from Sengupta in Force states shortly after 2 am on 26th February 6 UPG Mirages with a Spice-2000 PGM  underbelly flew from Gwalior, entered the civil air-corridor to Agra, got refueled by two IL-78MKIs.

Airport ground staff stand besides Tejas, India’s first locally-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), before its induction into the Indian Air Force at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Airport in Bengaluru, India, July 1, 2016. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa – S1AETNAZSRAA

By 3am. Another 6 Mirages already deployed from Gwalior to Adampur a day earlier, headed to Himachal Pradesh where all were refueled. A force of 6 Mirage-2000s went on and , as part of an elaborate deception plan, the IAF, between 3.30am and 4pm, launched two six-aircraft sorties in a staggered manner from Bhisiana towards Okara-Bahawalpur, and from Halwara towards Lahore — to distract the two CAPs of the PAF that were airborne that night from Rafiqui and Sargodha. So IDF brings home activity and Intelligence at work.

The 6 Mirages struck Balakot by 3.35am and launched five Spice-2000s from an altitude of 20,000 feet 40 km away as per target chosen from many by Intelligence and ACM Krishnaswamy on CNN 18 said IAF offered 5 targets. Only three separate targets (large dormitories/hostels housing up to 247 terrorists and their 19 trainees/instructors) were attacked at 3.53am. One Spice did not launch since it could not acquire the target amidst thick forest vegetation. Immediately after this, the 6 Mirages began their return at around 3.53am, while the PAF’s F-16s were still 120km away (they reached Balakot only four minutes later).

It can now be safely said Pakistan must get the message of power of India while its economy reels. War is no option. IDF feels after elections if India plays a better Indo Pak strategy that Adm Arun Prakash has suggested in IE EDIT on 3rd with talks with China and modifications, IDF sees green shoots. Till then border firings and attacks and rhetoric and near war hysteria may continue.

Dr Ghulam Ali Sichuan University explained the after effect at Haikao in the BRI conference that Pakistan’s Air and Army Chiefs put forward forces on alert to strike on 26th and asked PM Imran Khan’s permission. After international consultations Ali felt P3 and China had to accede to Pakistan and they said, “Only military targets please”, as India too had been told terror targets of JEM only. On 27th PAF put 20 aircraft towards India and this author conjectures one tried to sneak to a military target like Udhampur Helicopter base, Adampur or Naushera brigade they dropped ordnance in fields. IAF got alerted and went up with SU-30MKIs and Mig-21s and one Mig 21 went down. Media and Social media went berserk as Government has not released this narrative or confirmed it and GSPR Pakistan Gen Ghafoor has confused Pakistan’s narrative and blanked visits to Balakot. Like 1965 we are back to LOC ! Hope IDF has attempted threading this for military analysis world over.


Prasun Sengupta in Force writes. The Mirage 2000s are the only ones in the world to have launched standoff PGMs from heights of above 26,000 feet up to 32,000 feet during the 74-day highest-elevation conflict in the history of air warfare and they are also the IAF’s only MRCAs that have launched PGMs (in three military rounds so far) in anger against Pakistan.

The real heroes of the OP Safed Sagar in 1999 was the team headed by the then Director of Air Operations (Offensive), Air Commodore Subhash Bhojwani, later Air Marshal Training Command retired who, was replaced as the IAF spokesman within 72 hours of the commencement of air operations. Bhojwani by 29th May discovered, that a single RAFAEL Advanced Defence Systems-built Litening-2 laser designator pod (LDP) was lying at IAF’s Bengaluru-based Aircraft & Systems testing Establishment (ASTE). It had arrived a few months earlier for systems integration with the Mirage-2000 and Jaguar IS. With the permission Air Vice Marshal S.K. Malik, ACAS (Ops) later Vice Chief retired, Air Commodore Bhojwani recalled the Israeli team on leave who came and with IAF married the Litening pods to few Mirages. The USD27.11 million (Rs 95 crore) contract for the 15 LDPs was inked in November 1996. Between March 1998 and February 1999 in two phases and systems integration work was slated for completion by January 1999.

Sqn Ldr Raghunath Nambiar currently AOC-In-C Western Air Command flew the first Mirage 2000 sortie with accuracy at height with the US-supplied Paveway-II laser-guided bombs (LGB). It was used only eight times, mainly for destroying enemy command bunkers. Books have been written without these details and also the story of OP Talwar in Warring Nuclear Navies (RR Publishing) where under Admiral Suresh Mehta the combined fleets of the Eastern and Western Fleet were missile ready off the Makran coast to starve Pakistan of oil. President Clinton received PM Nawaz Shariff in the oval office on 4th July and warned him to with Pakistani troops back.

In OP Safed Sagar from May 26 till 11 July 1999, the IAF’s two Mirage-2000 squadrons flew 514 sorties, with only three drop-outs. No.1 Sqn flew 234 air-defence and strike-escort missions, while No.7 Sqn conducted 240 strike missions during which it dropped 55,000kg of ordnance over targets located at Muntho Dhalo, Point 5096, Tharu, Padma Goh, Jubar, Point 4388, Points 5140 and 5060 (Tololing area), Tiger Hill and Mountain Unit 4260, Drass area (Mountain Unit 4462 and Points 4700, 4965 and 5405), Point 4355, Mountain Units 4162, 3663 and 3762, Nissan hut camp, and Point 4875. BZ THE IAF and THE MIRAGES……This is a IDF SALUTE.

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