A New Generation
By the late ´80s, sales of the Mirage 2000
E and C started to dwindle. The American competitors, bouyed by a considerable domestic demand, were in a position to develop new variants of their fighters which included the latest technology then available. The F16, in particular, was
benefitting greatly from newly developed technologies, which together with the great domestic demand enabled the Americans to offer the F16 at an attractive price. (The more planes built, the cheaper they can be built). The F16, originally
an inexpensive dayfighter armed with heat-seeking missiles, was soon to benefit from the emergence, in 1981, of a new generation air-to-air missile - AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile).
Dassault soon realised that if
this challenge were to go unanswered, then the sales potential of the Mirage would soon evaporate. Their answer to this challenge was the 2000-5. The Dash 5 is in essence an advanced export derivative, developed in the absence of a
standing domestic requirement. The programme manager is Phillipe Pardessus.
The Dash 5 is essentially a third generation airframe equipped with fourth generation avionics. It is a true multirolefighter.
Being an export-driven
variant, the programe was also privately funded, with Dassault and Thomson-CSF sharing the risk.
When considering the Dash 5, it is perhaps useful to divide the aircraft into four distinct elements: the airframe and engine, the
cockpit, the multirole RDY radar and lastly, the MICA missile.