In 1979 Dassault was contracted to produce two prototypes of the Mirage 2000P (Penetration) that were intended to replace the ageing Mirage IVP in the nuclear strike role. Later designated 2000N (Nucleaire), this version of the 2000B trainer features a strengthened airframe to cope with high-subsonic, low-level flight and an Antilope 5 terrain-following radar that provides automatic terrain following down to 91 m at speeds up to 1 112 km/h.
The primary armament is the 850-kg Aerospatiale ASMP stand-off tactical strike missile. This has a dual yield of 150- or 300-KT and a range of over 80 km from low-altitude launch.
The 2000N achieved initial operating capability in July 1988 and was built in two versions: N-K1 dedicated nuclear strike (31 built) and N-K2 with additional conventional attack capability (46 built).
Delays with the Rafale programme generated a requirement for more aircraft solely for conventional attack. The resulting 2000N (N Prime) flew in prototype form in 1990. The designation was later changed to 2000D (Diversified) and 75 examples were built for delivery from 1993. These differ from the 2000N by having an upgraded countermeasures suite and cockpit systems with more integrated hands on stick and throttle controls. The key to much of the 2000D's precision attack capability is the PDCLT laser designator/TV/thermal imaging pod carried beneath the starboard air intake, it allows the 2000D to direct weapons such as the AS 30L laser-guided missile or BGL 1000 laser guided bombs. In 2001 the Armee de l'Air fielded three squadrons each of 2000Ds (all based at Nancy and 2000Ns (two units at Luxeuil and one at Istres).
In 1997 Abu Dhabi ordered 30 new-build Mirage 2000-9 long-range attack aircraft. Later designated 2000-5 Mk II, these will be joined by all 33 remaining examples of Abu Dhabi's earlier batch (including 2000D-DA trainers) upgraded to 2000-9 standard.