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UAE moves to upgrade Mirage 2000-9’s strike capabilities
February 22, 2018

UAE moves to upgrade Mirage 2000-9’s strike capabilities

At the 2017 Dubai Air Show, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that it would upgrade 42 Dassault Mirage 2000-9 and 79 Lockheed Martin F-16E/F Block-60 fighter aircraft.

Specific technical details of either upgrade were not provided at the time, but Forecast International (via Defense-Aerospace) recently reported that the UAE Air Force’s (UAEAF) Mirage 2000-9s will be configured with the Thales RDY-3 radar and TALIOS targeting pod.

In addition, Thales will execute a wide-ranging upgrade of the fighter’s onboard electronics, with planned changes to the “mission computers; fire control radars; electronic warfare suites; optronics systems; communications, navigation, and identification systems; cockpit displays; and helmet-mounted displays.”

Notes & Comments:

With the inclusion of the Thales RDY-3, the UAEAF Mirage 2000-9 upgrade appears to mirror the Mirage 2000 upgrade executed for the Indian Air Force (IAF) since 2011.

Although the RDY-3 is not an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar (which is found on the UAE’s F-16E/F Block-60), it is a mature mechanically-steered solution with credible air-to-air and, especially, air-to-surface capabilities. In terms of the latter, the RDY-3 has high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) with ground-moving target-indication (GMTI) and terrain avoidance support.

This suits the UAEAF as the Mirage 2000-9 is its mainstay strike asset. The Mirage 2000-9 was configured to carry the MBDA SCALP-variant Black Shaheen air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) and Denel Dynamics-Tawazun Dynamics Tariq precision-guided stand-off weapon (SOW) range. The MBDA SCALP can provide a range of over 250 km, while the Tariq can be configured to engage targets from 40 to 100+ km.

The RDY-3 provides improved SAR/GMTI for building a situational awareness of the ground and tracking targets, allowing the UAEAF to more effectively deploy its ACLM and SOWs. The RDY-3’s terrain avoidance support (with contour mapping) would also enable low-altitude penetration flights, which could be used to bypass opposing high-level radar coverage. This will be potent with the UAE’s ALCM/SOW inventory.

The TALIOS will augment this further by providing the Mirage 2000-9 with the ability to guide laser-guided bombs to moving targets and provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance coverage. In lieu or in tandem with the RDY-3, the TALIOS could also be used for long-range target identification and tracking for the Mirage 2000-9’s ALCM and SOW load.

 

  • Joseph

    I think Mirage 2000 UAE has is about 30 years old, still being upgraded instead of being replaced. I guess low oil price is affecting UAE.

    • Arbab Mir

      They got money to buy fancy new car’s,airplanes, gold plated toilets and such but no money for upgrades hopefully a war will come there way and they will see the error’s of there ways.And wished they joined pakistan to make weapon systems themselves instead of relying on others.All muslism’s should think like this and wish our fellow muslism’s happiness for selling us out,.Rely on others and die,rely on yourself and live.

      • TZK

        It is not human behaviour to go to the trouble of developing something from scratch when you have the means to buy it off the shelf. Most nations went down the development routes because they were either forced to do it by wars or sanctions.

        • Joseph

          The crown prince of Saudi Arabia appears making an effort to modernise the country, but as long as oil money is flowing there is not going to be a lot of support, especially towards social changes come with it.

          The prince is consolidating power, maybe it will work out and maybe it will not. If it did not then there could be a period of instability in middle east since Saudi Arabia is the biggest middle eastern country.

          • TanhayeekiZubani

            I cannot see how social change is even going to be possible given that 3-4 generations of Saudis, (for that matter Qataris, Kuwaitis etc.) have become ‘perennially entitled’ resulting in abysmal educational standards and dangerous reliance on ‘public sector employment’.

            We have to hope MBS succeeds in at least taking Saudi back to a semblance of what it was before 1975 (before wahabi era i mean) or the future is bleak as the arabs have totally squandered in every possible way, ‘the gift of oil’. As of now, the prince is, IMO, biting more than he can chew.
            (I am happy to be 100% wrong in this case)

            One sincerely hopes arabs solve their issues when they are 400 million only, in 30 years there might very well be 800 million of them, and the problem will be unsolvable as oil wealth might not be abundant anymore.

          • Joseph

            According to BP, world oil reserves (including shale-oil) would last about 50 years from now: https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/0714/How-long-will-world-s-oil-reserves-last-53-years-says-BP

            Of course that is just a rough estimate, new reserves could be found and consumption could rise. But I think gulf states oil reserves are probably all found already.

            Anyway, the next king of Saudi Arabia, be it MBS or if it is someone else that is young (MBS is in his 30s) could rule Saudi Arabia for several decades. If modernisation did not happen during the reign of next king, it could be too late.

            Without oil, middle east is just a huge desert, kind of like next Africa, potentially a huge refuge crisis waiting to happen.

            So changes need be happening soon, then again most people over 35 are probably not going to live long enough to see that (they are usually the ones in power), so they could decide to remain complacent and do nothing.

            On a brighter note, in 50 years time or even before that, jetliners and 7th generation fighter would all likely run on battery and electric power, which could be interesting.

          • TanhayeekiZubani

            If your battery/electric power prediction comes true (already I read about electric engines capable of lifting a B737 being under early trials/late design stage), then the middle east is looking at total disaster.

            It has to be Salman’s successor or nothing. That too this guy has to probably factor in huge opposition to his plans… the alternative outcome being, the current african refugee crisis will look a walk in a park.

          • Joseph

            If a car can last 15 years then can you really sell it 10 years before fossil oil runs out? A jet fighter could last from 20 to 40 years, then 10 years from now some of the new jet fighters could run out of fuel to use before it runs out it’s life.

            A jetliner could last 25 ~ 30 years. 20 years from now can you still build jetliners based on fuel and sell at full price? At some point in near future (10 ~ 20 years from now) people would start to become aware of the beginning of the end of fossil oil (if the BP prediction turns out to be true) and it could start to affect fossil oil based products even before fossil oil actually runs out.

            We should be able to live long enough to see what happens then.

          • TZK

            Some of them have sovereign wealth funds but probably not enough to allow them to maintain status quo. Iran’s assets including investment funds were frozen following the revolution so access to these may not be simple and subject to the geopolitics of the day as well as the state of financial markets.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_frozen_assets

          • Joseph

            Wealth funds would help but won’t be a long term solution. If human nature prevailed and middle eastern people remained complacent as long as they could then those funds could be used as last hope to start modernisation efforts.

          • TanhayeekiZubani

            you might be interested to see what Boeing and Airbus are upto

            http://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2017/11/airbus–rolls-royce–and-siemens-team-up-for-electric-future-par.html

            2020 for trial flights implies the timeline may be compressing possibly faster than we think. (Boeing is also supporting a hybrid electric plane that will cut fuel carried by 2/3rds.)

          • Joseph

            It looks like a pure electric airliner still requires technology breakthroughs but good to know there are farsighted people already planning for future.

    • Keyser

      The UAE ordered another 32 in 1998. the platform is perfectly viable. Why throw billions away when what you have works? (And is good enough for France to still be using)

    • TanhayeekiZubani

      The air frames are less than 20 years old and with upgrades can give another decade or 15 years worth of useful service. The upgrades are similar to the ones done by Dassault for the IAF.

    • Headstrong

      Lol. And the other day, you were also dissing the Mig 29. You need to be further educated on this aircraft as well, I see..
      The ‘new’ Mirage 2000, redesignated the Mirage 2000 I (IAF upgrade), is almost incomparable with the original jet, courtesy a host of new systems. At the heart of the upgrade is a new Thales RDY 3 radar, which allows for very long-range engagement of targets in the air, automatic tracking of targets, mapping of targets on the ground using Doppler beam-sharpening techniques, and the ability to track and engage targets which are moving on the ground.
      The pilot is now equipped with a display inside the helmet, and is able to see superimposed radar data without having to reference any of the displays inside the cockpit. In operational terms, this means that in the case of air combat, the pilot can direct weapons by merely pointing his head in the direction of what needs to be hit as opposed to having to manoeuvre the entire jet in the direction of the target – see target, lock on to target, launch weapons.
      A key component of the Mirage 2000 I is a host of new weapons, not least of which is the MICA air-to-air missile a state-of-the-art missile which is capable of engaging targets at beyond visual ranges and also at close ranges – one missile for two jobs, and SCALP, already brought out above in the article. Another key upgrade is the EW suite.
      The original Mirage had a conventional cockpit with just one large monochrome multi-function display with several basic flight gauges. This was typical of many fighters of 80s vintage. Now, however, the Mirage 2000 features a state-of-the-art glass cockpit with multi-colour, multi-function displays replacing bulky analogue gauges. The cockpit is neater, more user-friendly and far more simple to maintain.
      With this upgrade, the Mirage 2000 is in effect a new aircraft and good to go for another 30 years. Guess the UAE knows what it’s doing, which is more than I can say for some of the ‘experts’ here…

      • U

        You clearly didn’t get the point in his comment but your typical Indian overconfident attitude compelled you to post a sarcastic, bullying comment.

        You guys are the pokers on almost every forum.

        To understand what he meant, kindly try reading his replies to other people who posted some decently worded responses.

        • Joseph

          I already blocked all his comments so he is wasting his time. It looks like he is aiming mostly for personal attack.

        • Headstrong

          I’ll take you people seriously when you refute what I post. Else it’s all rhetoric.
          I’m not posting in a vacuum here. There’s a history to this.
          And for you people to accuse others of ‘overconfidence’, ‘sarcasm’ ‘bullying’ etc is ironic.

      • Steve

        I thought you guys only boasted about “indigenous” aircraft. I was probably wrong. You boast extensively (long post) about imported weapons as well. Oh well that’s all you guys are good at.

    • pinku pradhan

      The plane is excellent. Who ever is possessing the plane are not ready to retire the plane. No plane avaliable in second hand market.

  • Karly Johnston

    The MLU has an airframe rebuild to double the original hours.

    • Joseph

      Life extension is viable but it is mostly a cost saving method. Comparing to Qatar bought Eurofighter Typhoon they probably don’t really need, UAE seems to have been watching it’s spending.

      • Karly Johnston

        Qatar intends to buy Eurofighter, but the deal is not yet signed. Considering how hostile the Arabs are getting, they might just need it.

  • Joseph

    Extending life of dated aircraft is very sensible and cost effective, it is just not something I normally expect from rich middle eastern oil countries.

  • TanhayeekiZubani

    the arabs won’t be very happy to listen to what you say, but you are right Lol 🙂
    (probably they did not fly as much as say an Indian or French Mirage)

    hours flown matters quite a bit when older frames are upgraded. One of the reasons some of the MiG-21s built in the late 80s or even early 90s did not get upgraded was the sheer hours they had put in.
    have a good weekend.

    • Joseph

      You too, cheers!

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