IAF Mirage 2000: Features and Value

IAF Mirage 2000: Features and Value

Question: IAF has recently carried out a successful trial of landing a combat jet, Mirage 2000 on a road runway at the Yamuna expressway for the first time in the history of military aviation in the country. Discuss the features of Mirage 2000 and the value of this important development.


• IAF’s Mirage 2000 successfully landed on Yamuna expressway near Mathura for the first time in the history of civil and military aviation in India

• IAF has been considering use of national highways for emergency landing by fighter aircraft for some time now

The Landing

• For the trial, all facilities were in place such as:

- Make shift air traffic control safety services
- Rescue Vehicles
- Bird clearance parties

• Aircraft made a practice landing of coming down 100 m on the highway before landing finally
• Road runways are used for emergency landing and become important if airbases are crippled during war times

• Mirage 2000 is an upgraded version with a new Thales RDY 2 radar allowing for:

- Long range engagement of targets in the air
- Automatic tracking of targets
- Mapping ground targets through Doppler beam sharpening methods
- Ability to track and engage targets moving on the ground

• Pilot has been equipped with display inside the helmet to see superimposed radar data without having to go to the cockpit display

• The upgraded Mirage 2000 has a host of new weapons such as MICA air to air missile: This can engage target beyond visual ranges and close ranges- one missile for dual purpose

• Mirage 2000 has state of the art glass cockpit with multi colour, multifunction displays and it is more ergonomically designed


• IAF has viewed Mirage 2000 as the only real multi-role counter to Pakistani F 16s

• Use of highways as airstrips was common during WWII in Germany when fighter planes landed on Autobahn

• During the cold war, both sides of the Iron Curtain used highways as landing strips

• Russia, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Switzerland are countries where highway landing strips were constructed

• Use of air strips on highways for landing is a emergency measure when airbases cannot be used during war time

• For example, highways were used as landing strips in the Six Day war between Egypt and Israel in 1960s

Facts and Stats

• Highway air strops are usually 2 to 3.5 km long

• They are made of concrete with minimal space in the middle of 2 sides of the road

• Highway airstrips are used for military as well as medicinal services

• Following countries have dedicated stretches on expressways and highways for aircrafts to land:
- Germany,
- Poland,
- Sweden,
- South Korea,
- Taiwan,
- Finland,
- Switzerland,
- Poland,
- Singapore and
- Pakistan
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