France modernizing its Mirage 2000D fighters

Mirage 2000D jets of the French air force are to be modernized.

By Richard Tomkins   |   July 20, 2016 at 12:15 PM
France is upgrading the avionics and weapon systems of Mirage 2000D ground attack aircraft. Photo courtesy French air force

SAINT-CLOUD, France, July 20 (UPI) — Dozens of Mirage 2000D aircraft of the French air force are to receive midlife upgrades by Dassault Aviation and MBDA.

The modernization contract covers 55 aircraft and was issued by the French military procurement agency, DGA.

 The upgrade will involve modernization of the fighters’ avionics, fitting of an automatic cannon for ground attack and replacement of their previous-generation Magic self-protection missiles.

Additional details of the modernization effort were not detailed.

The Mirage 2000D first entered into service with the French air force in 1993. The upgrade will allow them to remain operational to 2030 and beyond.

Original post


Dassault contracted to conduct Mirage 2000D MLU

20 July 2016

The French Air Force is to proceed with an upgrade of its Dassault Mirage 2000D combat aircraft that was approved by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in late 2015.

The contract to carry out the mid-life upgrade (MLU) was announced by Dassault on 19 July, and will see the company carry out work primarily to the avionics and weapons systems.

As previously reported by IHS Jane’s , this work will include managing radar and avionics obsolescence issues, as well as swapping the soon-to-be retired MBDA R550 Magic 2 short-range air-to-air missile (AAM) with the newer MBDA MICA InfraRed (IR) AAM, and the fitting of a gun pod for air-to-surface and air-to-air applications.

Further, the Sagem AASM Hammer precision-guided munition (PGM) will be integrated, and the aircraft will be made compatible with the Thales Talios laser designation pod as fitted to the Dassault Rafale. There has been no announcement on the possible integration of the Astac electronic intelligence pod previously fitted to the now-retired Dassault Mirage F1, and trialled on the Mirage 2000D.

No contract value or timelines were given in the Dassault announcement, but IHS Jane’s understands that the first aircraft will go through the MLU process in 2019.

The Mirage 2000D has been in service since 1993, and of the 63 listed in the air force’s inventory 55 will be upgraded as part of the MLU. Once modernised, the Mirage 2000D is slated to remain in service through to 2030. Source



MICA is the multi-mission air-to-air missile system for the Rafale and the latest versions of Mirage 2000-5 combat aircraft. It has a high level of tactical flexibility in order to meet the most demanding operational requirements:

  • Beyond Visual Range (BVR) multi-target / multi-shoot
  • Enhanced Short Range (SR) performance
  • Maximum flexibility for multi-role / swing-role aircraft

MICA has a totally dual role. It is able to cope with both BVR and SR combat situations and exhibits very high performance in both situations. The weapon covers Beyond Visual Range situations and in addition offers 2 guidance systems with its 2 interoperable seekers:

  • RF MICA with radar seeker providing all weather shoot-up / shoot down capability
  • IR MICA with dual waveband imaging infrared seeker surpassing latest generation AAM missiles.

MICA outperforms other BVR missiles with its unique stealthy interception capability provided by its silent seeker. Source

* Note as per Jane’s article only IR will be available 


Missile guidance

  • Strap-down inertial reference unit
  • Active RF monopulse doppler seeker
  • Passive imaging IR seeker
  • Data-link
  • Lock-On After Launch
  • Lock-On Before Launch

Target designation modes

  • Onboard aircraft radar
  • Electro-optical sensors
  • Helmet mounted sight (HMS)
  • Autonomous lock-on from the seeker’s own IRST scans Aerodynamics and control
  • Long chord wings
  • Tail control surfaces
  • Thrust vector control (TVC)


  • High impulse
  • Low-smoke
  • Solid propellant Fuzing and warhead •

RF proximity fuze

  • Impact fuze
  • Focused splinters

Aircraft integration

  • Rail or eject launchers
  • Firing up to max g and max angle of attack

Programme references

  • More than 3,500 MICA sold to 10 countries
  • Integrated with Mirage 2000-5 series and Rafale
  • Full scale production
  • In service

Missile characteristics

  • Weight: 112 kg
  • Length: 3.1 m
  • Diameter: 160 mm
  • RF or IR guidance
  • Thrust Vector Control system
  • Rail and ejection launch


Sagem AASM Hammer precision-guided munition (PGM)


Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM) HAMMER (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) is a new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon designed and manufactured by Sagem (Safran group), for the French Air Force and Navy.

The AASM weapon system has a length of 3m and weight of 330kg, and has a range of over 60km at high altitudes and 15km at low altitudes. It has fire and forget capability, and an extended stand-off capacity.

The interoperable missile has the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously. It can also strike fixed or moving targets with high precision. The missile is maintenance-free and has low lifecycle costs.

The missile uses single, double or triple store adaptors and uses Sagem’s Hemispheric Resonating Gyro, inertial / GPS hybridisation and strap-down infrared imagers and associated algorithms for conventional deep strike missions.

The AASM HAMMER missile consists of a guidance kit and a range extension kit. The kits are fitted with Mk82 warheads including Smart Bomb Unit (SBU)-38, SBU-64 and SBU-54. The easy to use missile supports operations with 125kg, 250kg, 500kg and 1,000kg bomb bodies, and can be reprogrammed during the flight.

The basic version SBU-38 HAMMER is provided with hybrid INS/GPS guidance, while the SBU-54 version is equipped with INS/GPS/IR (infrared) guidance. The latest version SBU-64 uses INS/GPS/laser guidance.


The hybrid inertial/GPS layout is the standard guidance mode for coordinates. Once the coordinates have been entered in the weapon, the inertial guidance system enable it to hit the target without requiring a GPS signal, if it is unavailable. This version is designated the SBU-38 Hammer (Smart Bomb Unit).

The AASM’s modularity allows it to be used on 125, 250, 500 and 1000kg bomb bodies. Its engine provides it with range greater than 50km, meaning it can be fired at a standoff distance. Autonomous after it has been dropped, it can be used at low altitudes, cross hilly terrain or veer sharply from the firing aircraft.


The inertial/GPS/IR kit adds an infrared imager for terminal guidance. With a simplified model of the scene around the target first being uploaded to the weapon, this imager allows the AASM to recalculate its trajectory during the last few seconds prior to impact, using image recognition algorithms. This allows the AASM to hit its target with the highest possible accuracy, even if GPS coordinates are incorrect, or the GPS signal is unavailable. This version is called the SBU-64 Hammer.
The AASM’s modularity allows it to be used on 125, 250, 500 and 1000kg bomb bodies. Its engine provides it with range greater than 50km, meaning it can be fired at a standoff distance. Autonomous after it has been dropped, it can be used at low altitudes, cross hilly terrain or veer sharply from the firing aircraft.


The inertial/GPS/laser kit adds terminal laser guidance to engage agile, moving land or naval targets, illuminated by a ground or airborne laser designator. It will be deployed by French armed forces starting in 2012. This version is designated the SBU-54 Hammer (Smart Bomb Unit).
The AASM’s modularity allows it to be used on 125, 250, 500 and 1000kg bomb bodies. Its engine provides it with range greater than 50km, meaning it can be fired at a standoff distance. Autonomous after it has been dropped, it can be used at low altitudes, cross hilly terrain or veer sharply from the firing aircraft. Source

The laser terminal guidance version can be deployed to engage moving targets, while the infrared terminal guidance version minimises target coordinate errors.

The combat proven missile can operate in all weather conditions during the day and night. It has vertical strike capability and can support deep strikes, close air support, air interdiction, and SEAD-type or anti-ship combat missions.


The propulsion system is fitted at the rear of the missile and consists of a solid rocket motor and four winglets for flight control. Source airforce-technology


Thales Talios laser designation pod



Designed entirely around operational feedback from users, TALIOS is the latest addition to the Thales family. With its open architecture and a high level of functional integration, TALIOS is the first optronic pod to cover the entire critical decision chain from intelligence gathering to weapon delivery. With the latest generation of high-resolution sensors and high-precision line-of-sight stabilisation, capabilities range from deep strike with long-range missiles and bombs to air-to-air target identification and close air support, and include the rapidly emerging requirement of Non-Traditional Information, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (NTISR). Permanent Vision™. Very wide-angle combined vision (synthetic and real) is one of the key features of the TALIOS pod, providing critical contextual information and making the pod a key component of the pilot’s visual environment throughout the mission. All functions will be standard for both French and international customers. With its open architecture, the TALIOS pod is conceived as a ‘plug & fight’ system for integration on all existing fighters, ready to incorporate new functionalities. Source

Astac electronic intelligence pod


According to Thales, the 400kg (882lb) ASTAC pod’s ELINT capabilities include the ability to locate and classify hostile emitters to support targeting applications or to inform an air force’s electronic order of battle. Source

Mirage 2000: Details

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