French Mirage IAF flying with Russian missiles, thanks to the Israeli ‘Jugaad’

NEW DELHI: In the aviation circles, it was known as the ultimate “jugaad” or an innovative solution – the pairing of a Russian air-to-air missile with an Israeli-style helmet on a helmet carried by an Indian pilot flying the French Mirage 2000 fighter.
However, this is precisely the way in which the Indian Air Force or the IAF manage most of its Mirage 2000 fleet for almost ten years.
By 2008, the French R-530D and Magic II, the primary air-to-air missiles equipped by the Mirage that entered the IAF service in 1985, became obsolete. Without them, Mirage IAF would not have missiles that would include enemy planes in the sky.
Concerned about the long-term procurement process and with several available options, the IAF decided to integrate its existing Russian R-73 missiles into Mirage. The R-73 has already been in service with IAF’s Sukhoi’s 30th, MiG-29 and MiG-21 ‘Bison Nozzles, but the integration of these on the Western platform has never been tried. Moreover, there was a protest by the French government that was not ready to provide any assistance in integrating the Russian weapon system into the French platform, especially since the new generation of French design weapons was available for export to India.
Finally, there was integration, with more than a little help from engineers from the Israeli company Elbit, which until then had been contracted by IAF to supply its sophisticated DASH helmet set-up screen, a device that projects critical missions information to pilots.
But connecting the R-73 rocket with DASH helmet was easier said than done. “There were key challenges,” says one IAF officer, who is aware of the challenge of integration. “This was a new helmet and we worked without source codes.” In other words, they had to develop algorithms for the radar Mirage and the Israeli helmet on board to “talk” with the Russian missile. Without appropriate algorithms and modified software, the integration of the Russian missile would be impossible. “Neither French nor Russian assistance was taken. They obviously were upset,” says the IAF officer, but he himself worked “jugaad”. “The R-73 rocket was more capable than Magic II that it replaced.”
For more than a decade, the IAF has never discussed the integration of the R-73 with Mirage 2000, but introduced the Mirage with the R-73 for the first time on June 24, at the IAF anniversary. attack on Mount Tiger during the Kargil war. This is not the first time that Israeli engineers helped the IAF with their Mirage 2000 fleets. During the Kargil war, Israeli engineers integrated the laser beam designer Litening to IAF Mirages in 12 days to allow laser bombing for the first time in the IAF’s history of fighting.
The Russian missile R-73 is now in the process of progressive replacement in Indian military forces. Since 2015, the Indian Air Force is getting highly modified Mirage 2000, equipped with French MICA air-to-air missiles. About one jet plane or 18 Mirage 2000 was already induced by the IAF. “The mouse is about four times more capable than the R-73 in close combat and is integrated with (Israeli) sight on the DASH helmet,” says the IAF pilot familiar with the upgrade process.

Sharing is caring!