New Delhi: More than two years after he cleared a Rs 11,000 crore upgrade package for
the Indian Air Force’s Mirage-2000 fleet, Defence Minister Mr A K Antony informed Parliament that cost of the upgraded fighters would be close to its shelf price if India wished to buy these aircraft now. India purchased 51 Mirage-2000 ways back in 2000, each platform costing Rs 133 crore. The cost of upgrading one aircraft turned out to be Rs 195 crore. India signed a Rs 10,947 crore contract with France for upgrading the fleet in 2011. “The upgrade has been undertaken at 85 per cent of the escalated cost,” Antony informed the Lok Sabha. The disclosure may once again stoke a debate on the need to undertake such costly upgrades of old aircraft, instead of going for new platforms. For upgrading the Mirage, the IAF had two contracts – one worth 1,470 million euros with French company Thales and a Rs 2,020 crore contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. The first part of the job will be carried out at France while the rest will be done at HAL. The upgraded Mirage fighters will have advanced multi-mode multi-target radar, reconfigured glass cockpit, advanced avionics, new electronic warfare suit and new missiles. The process is likely to be completed by mid-2021. The IAF is also upgrading its MiG-29 fleet in a $ 964 million (almost Rs 5,000 crore) package, which may be completed by 2016. The Jaguar aircraft is being upgraded at a cost of Rs 3,113.02 crore. The work is likely to be completed by December 2017.
Source: Deccan Herald