Dassault began development of the Mirage 2000 in 1972, three years later the French Armee de l'Air threw their support behind the fighter, which has since become a major presence in the French fighter arm. Designed with the same delta wing design famous to the Mirage family, the 2000 lacks a horizontal tail, but was given "relaxed stability" and an automatic flight control system that gives it better handling than most delta winged aircraft.
Faster than its American counterpart the F-16 although with a shorter range and larger turning radius, the Mirage is truly France's Top Gun. The first Mirage 2000 entered service with the Dijon fighter wing in April 1983, and a two-seat training variant has been converted into a nuclear strike aircraft designated the 2000N. Besides being an excellent air superiority fighter, it was also used to knock out armored ground targets during the Gulf War with much success. Exports of the aircraft have been made to Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Greece, India, and Peru.
Type: Single-seat fighter.
Powerplant: One SNECMA M53-P2 turbofan rated at 25,000lbs of thrust.
Max Speed: Mach 2.2 (1450 mph) at 37, 400 ft.
Ceiling(Maximum Altitude): 59, 058 ft.
Range: 2,068 mi.
Weights: Empty 16,500lbs., loaded 37,400lbs.
Weapons: Two DEFA 554 30-mm cannon with 125 rounds per gun; MATRA Magic 2 air-to-air missiles; up to 9,900 pounds of bombs, rockets, or ARMAT anti-radiation missiles.
Wing area 441 sq. ft.