An over $ 3 billion deal with France for upgrading the Mirage 2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) is expected to be considered by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) at its next meeting.
“Two proposals related to upgrade of the 51 Mirage 2000 aircraft in the IAF fleet are expected to be considered by the CCS at its next meeting,” a Defence Ministry official said.
The Government is considering the proposals which include one for the upgrade of systems of the aircraft and the other for over 400 MICA missiles for the upgraded fleet.
Under the contract, French firms Dassault and Thales will upgrade engines, avionics, navigation systems, mission computers, electronic warfare systems and radars and will help bring the aircraft to the Mirage 2000-5 standards.
The deal has been hanging fire for the last five years as the two sides have been involved in extensive negotiations including the price of upgrade quoted by the French side.
Sources said certain questions were earlier raised over the cost of upgrading old aircraft but now all the issues have been resolved.
The deal was pushed to be signed during French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s two visits here in 2008 and 2010 but could not be finalised for various reasons.
The upgrades will help to add 20-25 years to the life of the Mirages, which were inducted by the IAF in the mid-80s and are deployed at its Maharajpura air base in Gwalior.
If the deal is finalised, four aircraft would be sent to France and the rest upgraded at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited facilities.