Extended carrying capabilities
The Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 provides nine hard-points for external stores (five under its belly, four under its wings). These hard-points can be used to attach weapons, pods, launchers, jettisonable external tanks or pylons, or for carrying various combinations of external stores, up to 6.3 metric tons, including 'smart' weapons for a wide variety of operational requirements:
- The non-French weapons can be integrated more easily.
- The installation of specialised pods allows using the aircraft for dedicated missions such as electronic reconnaissance or in-flight buddy-buddy refuelling of other aircraft.
- The underwing store stations are thereby available to carry 1,700 or 2,000 litres fuel drop tanks, providing the aircraft with increased range.
- In air-to-ground mission, the future French AASM modular weapon will also allow simultaneous firing against multiple targets (even close together).
- The Scalp/Storm-Shadow missile is a long-range cruise missile with a conventional warhead, best employed for pre-planned strikes against hardened and protected stationary or moving targets. This missile will be used for long-range surgical strikes. It has an all-weather, day/night capability and will be used at low altitudes in order to give the launching aircraft maximum operational flexibility. Fire-and-forget type missile, it readily adapts to firing conditions and involves only a minimal pilot workload -- an invaluable attribute during stressful wartime conditions. This long-range pre-strategic cruise missile is also considered to be an economical weapon for use against heavily defended airfields. An outstanding feature is its ease of deployment from safe stand-off distances.
The Scalp is fully 'fire and forget', allowing the aircraft to depart from the firing zone immediately after launch. The missile then flies on, at low altitude, until it impacts the target.
- In air-to-air missions, the Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 derives full advantage from the high firepower conferred by its load of 6 radar-guided and heat-seeking Mica missiles. It can fire 6 missiles simultaneously. An aircraft/missile data link feeds in-flight target designation data updates to the launched missile. If circumstances demand, a Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 pilot can also fire the 6 Mica missiles in the fire-and-forget mode, dispensing with the data link. The BVR and "discrete" MICA IR missile firing capability constitutes a threat that is very difficult to counter, even for the best ECM-protected opponent.
- The Mica missile can operate at ranges from a few hundred meters to 60 km. It is the only missile in the world capable of performing all air defence missions, from long-range interception to aerial combat and self-protection.
- The optional helmet-mounted sight, when associated with the IR MICA missile, considerably increases the Mirage 2000-5 Mk2 efficiency in air combat. Like the Magic 2, the MICA IR missile features an autonomous search mode, which is perfectly integrated with the weapon system. In all mission phases, the pilot uses the IR homing heads of these missiles as IRST (Infra-Red Search and Track).
To date, 5 different air forces have chosen the new-generation Mirage 2000-5 under a program involving almost 200 aircraft.
About 600 Mirage 2000 are operational world-wide; they equip eight Air Forces and are considered by several more.