The French air force has taken delivery of the first of 37 Dassault Mirage 2000-5Fs. Entry into operation is set for January 2000, with Dijon-based EC-2/2 Cote d'Or squadron.

The aircraft are being converted from earlier French Air Force Mirage 2000Cs. The upgrade includes the fitting of the new Thomson-CSF RDY multi-mode radar, with a range estimated at 130km (70nm) in air-to-air mode.

The -5F carries four Matra/BAe Dynamics Mica medium-range air-to-air missiles in the ventral stations, along with a pair of wingtip- mounted short-range Magic 2s and up to three underwing fuel tanks, providing an 80% increase in range, or around double the unrefuelled combat mission time.

The 2000-5, which had its first flight in 1991, has already been sold to Taiwan and Qatar, and a slightly modified version, the 2000-9, was recently selected by the United Arab Emirates.

Source: Flight International