India is one of the largest arms importers in the world. The United States, Russia and the entire west all wants to get arms orders from India, and Israel is no exception. In fact, Israel is one of the many suppliers of weapons and military equipments to India, from avionics to missile radars, Israel supplies many advanced weapons systems to the Indian Military. In addition of earning a large amount of profit by selling weapons to India, Israel also uses India to test integrated weapons systems.
India has used advanced technologies to successfully integrate American, Russian and Western weapons on a single platform. The Indian Air Force would like to thank Israel for successfully integrating Russian missiles on its French Mirage. India has been using the Mirage 2000 multirole fighter since 1985. The Indian Air Force has integrated russian R-73 short-range air-to-air missile with the French built Mirage fighter jets.
An Indian Air Force fighter pilot flying a French-made Mirage 2000 fighter jet wearing a combination of Russian air-to-air missiles and Israeli helmet-mounted displays can be seen as the ultimate innovative solution, according to Indian news channel NDTV. The precedent of this innovative experiment dates back to 2008, when the Indian Air Force was concerned about delays in the procurement process and was concerned about the long-term effectiveness of the French-built R-530D and Magic air-to-air missiles. Then the IAF made the decision to integrate Russian weapon systems into the French-made aircraft.
The R-73 missile is already in service with the Indian Air Force, Sukhoi Su-30, Mikoyan MiG-29 and MiG-21 Bison fighters. Although all these above mentioned aircrafts are Russian platforms. The integration of russian weapons on western platforms has never been attempted before.
The French government was unhappy with this decision of the IAF, saying that they were not ready to help in the integration of russian weapons systems on French-built warmachines. Although at that time, France was keen to sell a new generation of French-designed weapons to India.
With help from Elbit Engineers in Israel, the integration was successfully completed. Elbit then signed a contract with India to provide sophisticated displays mounted on DASH helmets that projects critical mission information directly into the pilot’s view.
The Integration of the russian R-73 missile on the French-built Mirage-2000s along with the DASH helmet system was a great achievement for the Indian Air Force.
However the integration was a challenge for Elbit Engineers, they had to develop algorithms so that the Mirage’s radar and Israeli helmet sights could easily communicate with Russian Missiles. The integration of russian missiles without the right algorithms and modified software system was impossible.
The Integration of the R-73 Missile with the French Mirage aircraft has been quite successful for the past decade. In fact, it’s far more powerful than the Magic II Missile it replaced.
During the Kargil War, Israeli engineers also helped in the integration of laser designator pod onto the IAF Mirage within 12 days, enabling the IAF to launch laser-guided american bombs for the first time in its combat history.
The Indian Air Force has also received a number of modified Mirage-2000s since 2015, now armed with the French Mica air-to-air missiles.
The Indian Air Force found that the MICA was about four times more capable in within visual range dogfight than the Russian R-73, and the integration of the Israeli DASH helmet sight doubles its firepower. Same DASH helmet also use in Tejas fighter aircraft.
The R-73 is the same missile which was used by Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan in shooting down the Pakistan Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during a Air battle near the Line of Control. The R-73 was fired from the Mikoyan MiG-21, and was successful in destroying the enemy aircraft.