Entrusted to Dassault Aviation after being repeatedly delayed, the modernization of 55 Mirage 2000D implemented by the 3rd Fighter Wing [basée à Nancy] will soon take another step, with the declaration of full operational capability of the new standard of this fighter-bomber, in service since the early 1990s.
In detail, this operation consisted of increasing the ammunition’s carrying capacity, incorporating a CC422 30mm gun pod and replacing the Magic II air-to-air self-defense missiles with infrared MICAs. [IR]. In addition, the human-machine interface has been revised, with modernized avionics, touch screens and new software.
At this point a photo published by the Air & Space Force [AAE] when the first Mirage 2000 RMV arrived at Mont-de-Marsan where it was to be fielded by the 1/30 “Côte d’Argent” Fighter and Experimentation Squadron and the Center of Expertise military air force [CEAM]intrigued more than one… insofar as one saw the logo of the Microsoft Windows operating system appear on a large screen intended for the navigator-officer weapon system [NOSA].
Not much has been said about this new Mirage 2000RMV software so far. However, the latest issue of Air Actualités gave some details about them. So, four in number, they were all developed in-house by the “Software Engineering” division of the little-known Operational Information Systems and Cyber Defense Squadron. [ESIOC] which, based in Mont-de-Marsan, is in charge of four missions, including the development of computer programs for operational purposes, the implementation and support of the latter, the battle in cyberspace and the improvement of data through artificial intelligence.
The development of these computer programs intended for the Mirage 2000D was carried out in close collaboration with the 1/30 Côte d’Argent, according to the AGILE method. [qui met l’accent sur la collaboration entre des équipes auto-organisées et pluridisciplinaires avec leurs clients, ndlr].
“We first collect the needs of functional managers in their jargon. We then need to translate their requirements into a computer language, either as text or as a diagram. [logigramme]. We have to think about all the possible scenarios that could result from a click,” explains an ESIOC analyst on the pages of Air Actualités.
Three user applications in detail [AU] embedded systems and mission preparation software are “custom” designed by this unit. So Leo [pour Logiciel intégré opérationnel de navigation] is installed on the head-down display [VTB] for the cockpit, while LIANE [Logiciel intégré d’aide à la navigation embarquée] works on a tablet attached to the pilot’s thigh. As for the NOSA, it uses MONKEY [Système intégré de navigation et de gestion des équipements]which “turns on” “a large twelve-inch touchscreen in the back seat”.
These three AUs work in a network, allowing the pilot and NOSA to share the same view of the tactical situation. [SITAC] live [terrains amis/ennemis, cibles, zones d’attente, etc]. “The added value is that if there is a change, we can update everything in real time,” said Captain “Yurick”, a Mirage 2000 RMV pilot, quoted by Air Actualités.
LION, MONKEY and LIANE are supplied with information by the PANDA mission preparation software [Programmation des applications de navigation des données aéronautiques]also developed by ESIOC.
“The cards and points are not specific to LION, LIANE and MONKEY. Before the flight, we have to create them on PANDA and then, via a reinforced hard disk, we inject them directly from the aircraft into the on-board software,” explains Captain Yurick.
In addition, PANDA is also used for debriefing, all mission data [transmissions radio, images prises par les nacelles, trajectoires, etc…] is forwarded to him.
As Air Actualités points out, the development of weapons systems is generally the responsibility of manufacturers. But ESIOC “has been able to prove its usefulness with software designed by and for Airmen. […] A unique in-house know-how that offers unparalleled flexibility and responsiveness to on-board computing, enabling it to continuously and quickly adapt to the new needs of the armed forces,” he concludes.