Today we present to our readers the aircraft by the name Dassault Mirage 2000N which is the model of the Dassault Mirage 2000 that was built specifically for the purpose of making nuclear strikes for France. The Dassault Mirage 2000N went on to become the core for the strategic Nuclear Deterrent for the French Air Force. There is another model of the Dassault Mirage 2000N which is named as Dassault Mirage 2000D that was the conventional version for the attack.
The Dassault Mirage 2000N came into being as a result of the need by the French Air Force for replacing their older version named Mirage IVP. The contract was handed by the French Army to the Dassault who were tasked with the manufacturing of 2 prototypes. The very first prototype took it to the skies back on February 3rd, 1986. After the successful first flight and further testings, nearly 74 of these Dassault Mirage 2000Ns were manufactured by Dassault.
The design of the Dassault Mirage 2000N is based on its predecessor named Dassault Mirage 2000B which was a2-seat trainer aircraft but many of its features were changed to the requirements of the French Air Force. First major change carried out was in the airframe strengthening to make it able to sustain the low altitude flights along with fitting the aircraft with the Antilope A5 Radar that allowed aircraft to do following features.
- Terrain following
- Ground mapping
All of these features were achieved by the aircraft from its powerful radar while moving at a speed of 1112 k/h. the very first batch of the Dassault Mirage 2000N was comprised of 30 aircraft that had only the nuclear capability and were named as Dassault Mirage 2000N-K1. As for the batch of the later 40 aircraft, they had both capabilities of doing nuclear strikes and the conventional air attacks along with having complete defensive fits.
For our readers, we bring to you some of the amazing facts about the Dassault Mirage 2000N; France’s Nuclear Deterrent.
Nuclear and Conventional Strike capabilities
There are two improved models of the original Dassault Mirage 2000 which are designated as Dassault Mirage 2000N and Dassault Mirage 2000D. The N designation signifies the aircraft that is built solely for making nuclear strikes for French Air Force and is used as the core of France’s nuclear deterrent program. This aircraft is equipped with only a single armament named ASMP; a nuclear weapon.
Once this weapon, a missile powered by ram-jet which is 4.5 meters in length, is fired it starts moving at a speed of about Mach 3 for a range of 100 kilometres before it fires up the final defensive line for France. This final defence is thermonuclear warhead of 300 Kiloton capacity and has been nicknamed as “City Buster”. As for the Dassault Mirage 2000D with the designation, D; is the variant of the Dassault Mirage 2000 which is equipped for both nuclear and Conventional strike abilities. Numerous world air forces are currently using this model due to its low price tag and its low maintenance costs.
This 2 seater aircraft in both its variants were manned by 2 crew members and for the power generation, it depends upon a single SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan engine. This engine is capable of giving the aircraft an afterburner thrust of 95.1 kN which made the aircraft to propel at a speed of about 2338 km/h at a maximum altitude of 59000 feet for a combat radius of 920 miles.
Combat Success Rate
Taking into account the combat success rate of the Dassault Mirage 2000D when compared with any other combat aircraft in Europe, Dassault Mirage 2000D stands at the very top of excellence. These aircraft have been the very first of the aircraft that were sent by NATO forces for the following conflicts.
- Intervention of Bosnia
- Iraq invasion
- Operation Enduring Unity held in Afghanistan
As for more recent operations that this aircraft carried out were in Mali and Libya. However, to top its own run of missions, the Dassault Mirage 2000D is famed for its final bombing run for NATO which is carried out during the Civil War of Libya.
The Star-Studded Mission
Back on October 20th, 2011 a group of Dassault Mirage 2000Ds was tasked with a mission to stop the convoy that was trying to ram through the rebel force of Libya located near the end of Sirte. The team of Mirage aircraft took care of the convoy from two passes by destroying a group of nearly 30 vehicles of the said convoy until the rest of them scattered.
Shortly after the convoy was intercepted and dealt by the Mirage team, Libyan rebels swarmed that convoy and its remaining survivors. In that convoy was the Libyan leader named Muammar Gaddafi who was captured by the rebels and then executed on the spot. With Gaddafi’s death, the war finally ended.
The Dassault Mirage 2000D has a total of 9 hardpoints that are capable of equipping the aircraft with the following weapons.
- 4 rocket pods for holding 18 rounds of the 68-mm Matra SNEB which are placed on 4 hardpoints located underwings.
- 4 of the R550 Magic air-to-air missiles for purpose of self-defence; 2 of which are placed on the pylons of the outboard underwings.
- 4 MICA IR air-to-air missiles self-defence missiles fitted under the pylons of the outboard wings
- A single Apache anti-runway cruise missile fitted on hardpoint of a centerline pylon
- A single SCALP EG air-launched cruise missile fitted on hardpoint of a centerline pylon
- 2 of the AS-30L laser-guided missiles fitted on hardpoint of inboard underwing pylons
- Nearly 10 of the bombs of 125 kg, 250 kg and 1000 kg which include munitions which are a laser, IIR, and ISN guided ones. As for these lighter versioned missiles, they were placed on the hardpoints of the inboard wing and the centerline in pairs of 2 along with 1 of them fitted under the 4 hardpoints of the fuselage.
Due to both; the Dassault Mirage 2000N and Dassault Mirage 2000D being the main backbone of the French Air Force, they were also equipped with state of the art avionics which includes the following two.
- A navigation system of twin inertia
- Antilope 5 radar; for terrain-following