Latin American air arms have traditionally been keen operators of French aircraft. While Peru isn’t the first nation you might think of when it comes to the Mirage 2000, it has operated the type for more than 30 years and is expected to do so for many years to come, as Santiago Rivas and Amaru Tincopa write in our new August issue, on sale now. The feature also includes incredible exclusive images from Katsuhiko Tokunaga.
The elegant lines of the Dassault Mirage 2000 first came onto Peru’s radar following the brief Paquisha conflict with Ecuador in 1981. The Fuerza Aérea del Perú (Peruvian Air Force, FAP) saw a clear need to upgrade its combat aircraft, wishing to reduce its reliance on A-37s, as well as aging Su-22s and Mirage 5s. With the approval of Peruvian President Fernando Belaunde Terry, the Consejo de Defensa Nacional (National Defense Council) began a study of options that were on the market.
The rather secretive FAP thus launched an international competition in order to acquire a multi-role fighter. Offers were received relating to a variety of types, led by the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir C7, the MiG-23, and the Mirage 2000. The F-16 and Mirage 2000 were down-selected as the only two candidates as the specification demanded a fighter with fly-by-wire controls. The ease of transition for Mirage 5P pilots and maintainers made the ‘Deux Mille’ the obvious choice and it was declared the winner.
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