For nearly 45 years, the Mirage 2000, a Dassault Aviation fighter plane, has been flying in French skies and abroad to carry out various missions of sky policing, air assault or nuclear deterrence. Gradually replaced by the Rafale, the Mirage 2000 has not yet said its last word.
The Rafale although it is a more powerful "Mirage" is much more advanced than the M2000. The Mirage 2000 is a single engine that has a thrust of 9.8 tons, the Rafale a twin engine and each engine has a thrust of 7.5 tons. The Rafale, although it shares its delta wing with the Mirage, is much more manageable with its canard planes.
But above all the avionics are much more efficient and constantly evolving, these weapon and defense systems are much more advanced. 1 Rafale replaces 3 Mirage in operational capacity and it is able to fulfill several missions during the same operation.
The Mirage is multi-role, The Rafale is omni-role. The Rafale is therefore more powerful, more manageable, carries more ammunition, capable of carrying out several missions, communicates better, defends itself better (SPECTRA), is much more stealthy, flies further and faster (thanks to the super-cruise well slower in top speed), it attacks better in all areas (air/air, air/ground, air/sea), even capable of refueling other planes.
Finally, the Rafale does not only replace the Mirage2000C and D but also the Mirage F1, the Jaguar, the modernized super standard and the mirage 2000N for the nuclear vector and in addition it is an in-flight tanker (very useful on the CDG) . The Rafale is the most versatile aircraft in the world but not the best in every area, yet it is monstrously better than every aircraft it replaces.
Is there a big difference in performance between the latest versions of the Mirage 2000 and the Rafale?
The Rafale's RBE2 AESA Radar offers a range of 200 km compared to 130 km for the Radar RDY Mirage 2000-5, but in addition it makes it possible to generate a ground map to carry out terrain monitoring at 300 feet in automatic mode, which requires a second Mirage 2000D with an Antilope Radar. 1 Rafale B can carry 6 AASM of 250 kg with 60 km range and 4 MICA or METEOR missiles, which would require 3 Mirage 2000D for 6 GBU12 with 13 km range and 1 Mirage 2000-5 for 4 or 6 Mica but no Meteor .
In summary, a Rafale does the job of 4 Mirage 2000 much better, with much higher chances of survivability thanks to its powerful sensors, its Spectra electronic warfare system, its most modern METEOR missiles in the world that the USA envy us which is not so common.
For all these reasons the Rafale is the cheapest fighter plane in the Western world (salaries 6 or 8 times lower in Russia prevent the comparison)
Why does the Rafale, which is a multirole aircraft, excel in all areas ?
This is not the case with the Eurofighter, originally designed only for air-to-air missions. It was adapted later for air-to-ground missions when it was not in its DNA. The result is mixed.
Then the Rafale was manufactured by one of the best manufacturers in the world: Dassault . They used their extensive experience in the field and their "step by step" method to design it.
I do not exaggerate in praise. An anecdote on this: the most widespread fighter plane in the world is the F-16. A great commercial and technical success. An American aircraft that was designed based on Dassault methods. The Americans wondered how the French managed to do as well as they did with 2 or 3 times less budget and ordered a report which was later used...
Finally, despite the slowdowns due to budget cuts, the Rafale project went well. There was a good agreement between the State and the builder.
This alchemy results in a well-born aircraft .
A Mirage 4000 above. If that reminds you of the Rafale, that's normal. It is a pioneering project. Dassault used the experience acquired then. The "step by step" involves a lot of reuse. We make the most of what we know, to limit the risks. This is the reverse of current American philosophy. They want to make revolutionary planes and take a lot of risks. The F-35 is a good illustration of this. I suggest they go back to the Dassault method, it works better for them.
They are about 20 years apart. The Rafale was designed to replace the Mirage 2000, and all other combat aircraft of the French army. The Rafale can do just about anything (omnirole) and carries about 50% more ammunition. It is more manageable, more autonomous, more discreet and better protected.
The Mirage 2000s are kept for reasons of economy. They are there and still have flight potential. This avoids having to replace them. In addition, for export, we tapped into future Rafale deliveries (Egyptian contract) and we sold second-hand ones (Greece). It's a rare commodity...