India confirms $2.4bn deal for Mirage 2000 fighter upgrade

New Delhi: India signed up for another major defence deal on Friday when it cleared a $2.4 billion (Rs10,900 crore) project to upgrade 51 Mirage 2000 fighters with French armament majors Thales and Dassault Aviation. The fighters will be upgraded to 2000-9 standards, which was the most advanced version of the fighter ever produced.

The first deliveries will be made only after 44 months, while the entire project will be completed over nine years.

"Thales and Dassault Aviation today signed a contract for the upgrade of the Indian Air Force's Mirage-2000 fleet," a press release from the two French companies said on Friday.

A spokesperson for the two companies here said it was a "commercial contract" between the firms and the Indian government.

The Indian defence ministry also confirmed the deal.

"Based on the integration of latest generation equipment and systems, the upgrade will further enhance the technical-operational capabilities of the Indian Air Force's Mirage 2000. The aircraft represents a long tradition of cooperation with French military aviation, initiated 50 years ago," the release from two firms said.