Some of my earliest readers might remember that I took my first steps into DCS World’s full fidelity modules with the Mirage 2000C. It was a different sim and a different jet at the time and we’ve come a very long way since those early days. It seemed like the right moment to jump back into this jet with the Mirage F1 on the horizon and ample updates now in place for the Mirage 2000C. Here’s what I’ve been up to and what I’m planning to do next with this jet.
Getting back into the cockpit
The last time I flew the Mirage 2000C seriously, I was flying on a dual DCS World 1.5 and DCS World 2.0 alpha install. I’ve checked it out and messed around with the jet a little since then but I haven’t spent dedicated time with it for many years now. As I mentioned in the introduction, now seems like the right time to get back into this jet.
One of the key drivers is the progress that the M2000C has made as a DCS module over the last couple of years. RAZBAM have been steadily improving the jet and overhauling systems when they needed to. Their fairly well documented partnership with the Armée de l’air and RAZBAM’s module being used in a semi-official capacity for training with them has really given a boost to the jet. A lot of those changes are now in place so now was the right time to give it a look.
Another reason behind wanting to fly this jet again is the forthcoming release of the Aerges Mirage F1. While the F1 is an older jet, something I find fascinating is the design languages that intentionally or unintentionally come from aircraft designers and so having a comparison point between these two jets is going to be quite a fun thing to have.
To help me get reacquainted I went looking in the two usual places: YouTube and Chuck’s Guides. Of course Chuck has a brilliant set of guides for most jets and the M-2000C is one that he’s been busy keeping up to date. With all of the changes I feared that maybe he hadn’t had a chance to look at it yet… but he had. The most recent update happened on December 23rd, 2021. So this is about as good as it gets. Be sure to check out Chuck’s Guides on Mudspike!
I was also on YouTube. And of course there are videos from the usual suspects but I always like to help out content creators who are just getting started. Enter Tom P who has very few videos on YouTube but who has embarked on a M-2000C tutorial series not too long ago. Their recent creation date has helped ensure that I was working from a more recent tutorial.
Tom’s just getting started but if you find his stuff useful maybe go and give a like and a subscribe and maybe some encouragement too. Good work Tom!
The fun stuff: dogfight and guns training
Part of my training regime with different aircraft is to ensure that I have as much fun as possible. Unburdened by the realities of real life flight training, my goal is to have fun with this and so after going through cold and dark a couple of times I started diving into weapons employment and the available instant action guns dogfight training proved useful.
Here I re-learned how to setup the guns (on the M-2000C the jet has a separate safety for guns from the other weapons) and get the short range air combat mode working on the jet. Guns training also ensures that you’re familiar with the ‘edge of the envelope’ flying and the M-2000C is quite the performer with some unique quirks.
With full fly-by-wire controls and an unstable airframe, the M-2000C is similar to the F-16C in combat but not in execution. The delta wing gives tremendous performance advantages in some regimes but in a turn it acts as a kind of giant speed brake. Point the nose too tightly and you can find yourself with great angle and no speed but when employed right, the M-2000C is one of the most dangerous jets in that flight regime. I’m still learning the nuances inherent in this balancing act.
For the next couple of flights I switched to learning the jet’s missiles. Already familiar with the Magic II and R530 in theory from the last time I learned the jet, what I needed to re-learn was the method of employing both weapons and integrating that with the radar.
I’ve spent most of my time here learning the controls and HOTAS keys needed to make this work, how to use the radar to search and lock targets, learning the IFF system, and how to wield this altogether into a combat capable mix.
Along the way I also took the opportunity to make use of the countermeasures system and radios which were part of the training flights that we were doing.
For this segment I was on Hoggit’s Marianas Training server. A relatively new server, it offers a more advanced training space that features more dynamic and variable weather and times of day. I did my training together with a couple of others including another who was learning the jet as well.
My first sortie was done independently while the second flight saw us depart, engage and return to base more or less operating as a two ship pair. We did struggle a bit with gaining situational awareness on our targets in a way that enabled us to engage the appropriate targets – here we occasionally found ourselves firing missiles at the same target.
Here is where I was also reacquainted with the 2000C’s missile warning system. The system provides missile launch warnings on the RWR in the form of a straight line pointing to the contact point. It doesn’t just warn you about missiles that are coming at you but also missiles being fired all around including by your wingman. Its a valuable tool when employed effectively.
On our way back to base we did some formation flying. Then landing separately back at Anderson AFB. Here you’ll notice my M-2000C sitting in a field after a poor landing. I’m still struggling to get the right approach speed and angle for safe landings. It will come with practice!
Cluster bombs and refueling
My next series of training missions are going to be used on the M-2000C’s limited multi-role capabilities. Hardly as capable as something like the F/A-18C that I’m used to, the M-2000C does still have some ground attack capabilities and I wanted to make sure I have a handle on at least some of them.
As a generalist who flies and writes about a lot of different aircraft, I find myself compartmentalizing aircraft and knowledge in ways that help me find meaningful use from each. During the run up to a review, I’ll briefly know 90% or more about all of the weapon systems available, but soon after that review is gone I find so too is the knowledge. Only frequently repeating usage does anything really stick. So with the Mirage I suspect most of my time will be in air-to-air modes but it doesn’t hurt to learn a few air to ground weapons.
The first that I went with is the BLG 66 Belouga sub-munition dispenser which rapidly, on release, deploys 152 66 mm bomblets. These can be deployed at low altitudes which means you can get low and very close to the target before dropping if you need to avoid local air defenses.
My test drops all proved successful with targets in the practice range hit successfully. Good!
I also took the opportunity to then go and refuel at the nearby tanker. Making use of TACAN in air-to-air mode I was able to guide myself onto the tanker and then setup for a refueling attempt. Here I surprised myself as I was able to plug into the basket on the first attempt and load up with just a little over 1000kg of fuel. Enough for a first attempt.
Just to finish it off, I went to the air-to-air range and shot down a couple more drone targets with the Magic missiles. Multi-role! Finally, I made use of the impressive autopilot to fly at near sea level altitudes on the way back to base.
I like to set goals and so my next goal with the M-2000C is to take it out with a couple of friends on some interceptor sorties. Among my ultimately goals are to hop onto the Hoggit Persian Gulf at War server and fly a sortie that involves a high altitude intruder flight to take out the enemy AWACS and then return to a friendly airbase without being shot down or running out of fuel. I’m not sure if this is an achievable goal but I’m going to give it a try!
A mission like that will bring together everything that I know about the jet together in one challenging sortie. I might even fly some ground attack missions before or after attempting that as well. We’ll see how it all goes as training turn into multiplayer combat missions. It should be fun!
A review of the M-2000C is also in the works so stay tuned for that too.