The Indian Air Force is planning to buy two second-hand Mirage 2000 combat aircraft to make up for the losses suffered by it in crashes earlier this year.
The IAF, which has signed a deal with France for the upgradation of 51 Mirage 2000 aircraft, lost two of these planes in crashes in February and March after which its fleet was reduced to 49.
“We are planning to procure these aircraft from the French or some other Air Force which still operates these aircraft in its inventory as the production line of Mirages was shut down a few years ago,” IAF officials said here.
They said if the Defence Ministry approves this proposal, the IAF would buy the two second-hand Mirages and then upgrade them to Mirage-2000-5 standards.
Under the $2.3 billion upgrade deal with France, the Mirages of the IAF will be upgraded to the ‘-5′ standards.
The first two aircraft are already in France for upgradation under the supervision of an IAF team and work is progressing, they said.
The remaining aircraft would be upgraded at HAL facilities in India with the help of French officials in next ten years.
IAF operates three squadrons of Mirages and all of them are deployed at the Maharajpur air base.
Post their upgradation, IAF sources said there was a possibility of one squadron of the combat aircraft being deployed at some other base also.