The Mirage 2000 is powered by the Snecma M53 -P2 engine. In common with the ATAR series that powered the previous Mirage generations the M53 has a single shaft powering both the fan and high pressure
compressor stages. This is generally not desirable because the high pressure compressor turns at the same speed as the fan, and as such does not produce the same level of compression as do two shaft engines. The engine speed (Revolutions
Per Minute) at Idle is 4,800 RPM and 10,600 RPM at Max. dry power and produces an airflow of 94 kg/s. Snecma state an Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) of 862 °C. The M53 P2 produces 95 kiloNewton (kN) afterburner (A/B) thrust and has a dry
thrust rating of 62,3 kN.
These figures pale when compared with current American engines powering the Lockheed Martin F16 C. The General Electric F110-GE-129 produces 129 kN of A/B thrust and both General Electric and
Pratt&Whitney are promising even greater thrust ratings for their respective engines. The M53-P2 has a bypass ratio of 0,4, compared to 0,77 for the F110-GE-129 and 0,36 for the F100-PW-229.
Another important difference between the French engine and itīs American counterparts is the fuel consumption. The fuel consumption (known as sfc) of a jet engine is given as lbs of fuel per lb of
thrust per hour. The current American engines have a dry thrust sfc somewhere between 0.68 and 0.75. The M53 P2 has a dry thrust sfc of 0.90. This is directly attributable to the relatively low overall compression ratio of 9,8:1 which is
in stark contrast to the GE and P&W engines where the ratio is in the order of 30:1.
That said, it must be noted that the M53 Series engines have been reliable from the beginning. The M53 P2 offers carefree handling with almost no operating restrictions. The only restriction is that no
throttle movement is permitted when the airspeed is under 100knots above 40,000 ft. The first generation P&W F100 Series engines were not particularly pilot friendly and required tender loving care from the pilot. The F110 engines have
also been the source of concern, resulting in the occassional grounding of various F16 fleets.
In the unlikely event of an engine stalling and failing, the reliable relighting properties of the M53 P2 will ensure that an engine
relight is quickly achieved. The relight procedure is as follows:
1. Switch off the engine.
2. Re-enter the flight envelope.(300Kts is a good speed though)
3. Relight switch on.
4. Advance the throttle to idle.
..... and the engine will re-ignite automatically.
The RD33 engine powering the MiG 29 is often praised for itīs ability to handle severely distorted airflow -the M53 has similar capabilities.
The M53 is of modular construction. The 12 modules can be exchanged without the need for calibrating. The modules and their sub-assemblies utilise the ON CONDITION maintenance concept (Life Monitoring)
whereby parts are not exchanged after a specified number of hours but are removed and inspected and depending on their condition are reinstalled or exchanged. At the time of itīs service entry, the M53-P2 required removal every 75
hours.The M53 P2 is now inspected at 300 and 600 hour intervals. The -P2 has an installed weight of 1515 kg and an overall length of 5.07m.
The GE engine has 12 compressor stages, the PW F100 series has 13, both make use of variable stators and convergent/divergent afterburner nozzles, whereas the M53 has only eight fixed compressor
stages, two turbine stages and a convergent nozzle. The M53-P2 perfectly exemplifies the French Keep it simple philosophy.
In 2000, all versions of the M53 passed the 800,000 flight hour mark.
According to SNECMA, the approxiamately 620 M53 series engines had accumulated more than one million flight hours by the first week of November 2002.