In the early hours of 26th February, Indian Air force destroyed training camps of Jaish‑e‑Mohammed in Balakot in Pakistan, avenging the Pulwana terror attack. According to reports, 12 Mirage 2000 fighter jets were using this decisive strike against terror camps deep inside Pakistan.
While reporting about the strike, several media outlets claimed that the Mirage 2000 jets of IAF are manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under licence from Dassault Aviation. Several media outlets like CNN News 18, Wion News, Scroll, India Times etc made the same claim.
The article by Wion was titled ‘All you need to know about Mirage-2000 fighter jets which destroyed terror camps across LoC’, and India Times article was ‘Here Is All About Mirage-2000, IAF’s Key Fighter Which Has Been Kicking Pakistan For 20 Years’. The Scroll article was titled ‘Watch: Glimpses of the IAF’s Mirage 2000, the plane used in the air strike on terror camps’.
The articles were claiming to provide comprehensive information about the fighter jets used by India in the operation, but all of them provided one wrong information, that the jets are made in India by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited under licence from Dassault in France.
But the fact is, although HAL manufactures some fighter jets under licence from the original manufacturers, the Mirage 2000 is not one of them. India has 3 squadrons of Mirage 2000, which means 54 aircraft, and all of them were made by Dassault in France. When India first bought 40 Mirage 2000 planes, 36 single seater fighter jets and 4 twin-seat trainer jets, there was a plan to buy 110 more jets, and they were to be made by HAL under licence. But that plan never materialised, and therefore HAL never made the Mirage 2000. After that, India ordered 10 more Mirage 2000 jets from Dassault.
Although HAL does not make the Mirage 2000, they are upgrading the jet for Indian Air Force, and the aircraft that had crashed earlier this month in Bengaluru was a Mirage 2000 recently upgraded by HAL. The plane had crashed just before take-off during an acceptance trial by two IAF trainer pilots, killing both of them.
At present, HAL manufactures Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighter plane under licence from Russia, although the jets made by HAL cost about ₹150 crore more than what is charged by the Russian manufacturer. HAL also makes the Hawk trainer under licence from BAE Systems in UK.
The CNN News 18 report has corrected now, saying Mirage 2000 is made by Dassault, but screenshots above show how the report looked earlier. Other media houses are still carrying the wrong information about HAL making the jets.
The claim that HAL makes the jets used in today’s strike in Pakistan is not just an error by media houses, it is also part of the anti-Rafale deal narrative propagated by Rahul Gandhi.
So now pseudo-nationalists are attacking HAL so that the Ambanis get all future defence contracts instead of the Indian public sector company which has played a crucial role in India’s defence over the years .
For those claiming that HAL has nothing to do with #Mirage2000 pic.twitter.com/TcGblI6ex1
— Pankhuri Pathak پنکھڑی (@pankhuripathak) February 26, 2019
The Congress president has been claiming that the Rafale deal was snatched from HAL and given to Anil Ambani and trying to prove that HAL is fully capable of making the jet, despite the poor record of HAL in delivering jets in time. Some journalists even used this false claim to drive home the point being made by Rahul Gandhi.