In a daring operation, 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter jets crossed the LoC and dropped 1,000-kg laser-guided bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp in Balakot inside Pakistan on Tuesday, eliminating at least 300 terrorists.
The Mirage-2000, manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation which also manufactures Rafale fighter jets, had played an important role in helping India win the Kargil war in 1999.
On Wednesday, Pakistan made an unsuccessful attempt to raid some military establishments in India as three F-16 fighter jets of Pakistan Air Force violated Indian airspace but they failed in their objective to cause damage inside Indian territory after IAF jets forced them to retreat.
Mirage 2000 is seen by many as India's answer to F-16 fighter jets, which is manufactured by American company Lockheed Martin.
There is no denying the fact that Mirage-2000 most versatile and powerful aircraft of IAF. First commissioned in 1985, IAF gave Mirage 2000 a new name – Vajra – meaning lightening thunderbolt in Sanskrit. The important role played by Mirage 2000 during Kargil war prompted the government to acquired 10 more Mirage 2000 jets in 2004. The IAF currently has 50 Mirage 2000 fighter jets.
On the other hand, the F-16 which is also called Fighting Falcon or Viper is famous for its agility and these fighter jets were first inducted in Pakistan Air Force in early 80s. Pakistan Air Force uses the F-16C/D variants of F 16, which is a multirole combat aircraft.
The Mirage 2000 is powered by a single shaft engine called SNECMA M53. The SNECMA M53-P2 engine, which is rated at 65 kN (15,000 lbf) in dry thrust and 95 kN (21,000 lbf) in afterburner powers most of the Mirage 2000s. This is a single seater jet but can be converted into a twin seat jet if required.
Measuring 14.36 metre, the wingspan of Mirage 2000 is of 91.3 metre. The plane weighs 7500 kg (dry) and has a total takeoff weight of 17000 kg. The fighter jet can attain a maximum speed of Mach 2.2 (2336 kmph) and can travel 1550 km with drop tanks. It can touch a maximum height of 59000 ft.
The Mirage 2000 comes loaded with a fly-by-wire flight control system and Sextant VE-130 HUD, which displays data related to flight control, navigation, target engagement, and weapon firing. The Mirage 2000 is capable of carrying laser guided bombs, air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. It also boasts of a Thomson-CSF RDY (Radar Doppler Multi-target) radar on board.
Available in both single-seat and double seat configuration, the F-16 Falcon is a single engine aircraft. The fighter jet can pull 9-g manoeuvres, reaching a maximum speed over Mach 2. It has maximum high speed of 2120 kmph, a length of 15.06 metre and a wingspan of 9.96 metre. Weighing 8570 kg (dry), the F 16 jet has a maximum takeoff weight of 19200 kg. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney engine, this fighter jet has a dry thrust of 17,155 lbf (76.3 kN) and Thrust with afterburner of 28,600 lbf (127 kN).
The F-16 can carry rockets, air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles and air-to-ship missiles along with a wide variety of bombs. Like Mirage 2000, ti also comes equipped with a radar on-board.
Apart from India, Mirage 2000 is used by France, Egypt, UAE, Peru, Taiwan, Peru, Greece and Brazil. On the other hand, F-16s are used by several countries, including NATO members like Turkey, Belgium, Norway and United States.