The French Air Force received the first modernized Mirage 2000D on January 7, 2020. The aircraft will now be put to the test by the Military Air Expertise Center (CEAM) in Mont-de-Marsan Air Base 118, in southwestern France.
The purpose of the modernization was to update the Mirage 2000D avionics and allow the employment of the MICA anti-air missiles instead of the current MAGIC. “It will provide the Mirage 2000D with improved air-to-ground and air-to-air capabilities, as well as a complementary, tactile and centralized navigation and attack system, which will facilitate dialogue between man and machine,” explained the French Air Force. Additionally, a new cannon pod, called CC422, was developed specifically for this standard. It is a shortened version of the 30mm CC420 cannon carried by the late Mirage F1B. 55 Mirage 2000D fighters should receive the upgrade.
“This new M2000D standard will now, and for nearly a year, undergo state tests and experiments before it can be declared operational,” said the Air Force. “The ambition is thus to be able to deploy the renovated M2000D in operation during the year 2022, after a period of assimilation in the units of the 3ème Escadre de Chasse (3rd Fighter Wing).”
The Mirage 2000 is a multirole fighter jet developed by Dassault Aviation in the 1970s. The D (Diversified) variant is an updated version of the airframe with two seats. Based on the Mirage 2000N (Nuclear), which was the main nuclear strike platform of the French Air Force until 2018, the Mirage 2000D was designed for long-range precision strikes using conventional weapons. As for the nuclear role, it has since been taken over by the Rafale, another Dassault aircraft.