Meeting IAF’s Demand for Combat Aircraft Cost-effectively
An easy way out is to acquire from a financially strapped Greece its nearly three squadrons of Mirage 2000 aircraft. The Hellenic AF operates 45 Mirage 2000s — 20 EGM/BGM variant and 25 “5 Mk-II” version.The difference between the Greek EGM/BGM and the 5-Mk II Mirage 2000 is fleeting; post upgrade, they would be identical. Greece also has some 150-odd F-16s. So Athens might willingly sell its Mirages, what with the Greek govt being pushed by EU creditors to repay the outstanding national debt. The upgrade of the Indian fleet of Mirage 2000 costs roughly $43 million per aircraft. Additionally, Qatar might sell off of its 9 Mirage 2000s which India can buy.
That totals 54 planes, more than doubling IAF’s Mirage 2000 fleet of 49. Furthermore, India will not have to invest in any infrastructure or training pilots or technicians. The Modi govt should approach Athens with a deal it cannot refuse, say, $60 million per aircraft plus all the stores, spares, and weapons holdings available for another $100 million. India will have to pay $2.8 billion for the Greek Mirages and an addition one billion $ for the Qatari deal. India will have to pay less than $4 billion for 54 Mirage 2000 versus $8-$9 billion for only 36 Rafales. The latter has an AESA, but then DRDO is building an AESA for the Tejas jointly with Israel that’s going to be tested later this year.That could be retrofitted into the new buys.