A little bit of history to begin...
In 1978 the French Air Force launched the program of a nuclear Air-Ground Medium Range cruise missile (ASMP in French).
The Air Force defined the characteristics of a device capable to implement this ASMP. Originally, the aircraft should have been a single-seat jet called Mirage "2000 ASMP". But finally, a two-seater aircraft was chosen, equipped with a Navigation and Armament System (SNA), based on an Antilope V navigation and terrain tracking radar designed by Thomson CSF.
The future bomber was designated Mirage "2000-P" ("P" for penetration) from the Mirage 2000-B, id est the two-seater version of the fighter that would come into service in 1984 within the 1/2 "Cigognes" Squadron.
On the 3rd February 1983, after being renamed Mirage "2000-N" ("N" for "Nuclear"), the first of two prototypes made its inaugural flight. With a structure optimized for low-level flight (200 feet at a speed of 600 knots!), this aircraft would allow a major capability jump, thanks to its Antilope V radar (coupled with navigation panels and a mission calculator) and his self-protection systems (Serval detector, jammers and decoy launchers) integrated into his cell. Refuelable in flight, he could then carry an ASMP missile, 2 Magic 2 self-defense missiles and 2 tanks of 2,000 liters to increase his range.
At the beginning, as for the Mirage 2000-B, the Mirage 2000-N ("K1" standard) was not equipped with a barrel nor with a laser designation pod, because at this time the Mirage 2000-N was not planned to be used for classic ground attack missions.
As the ASMP missile enters service in 1986, The Mirage IV-P went on his nuclear mission, while the Mirage 2000-N development was going on.
The first Mirage 2000-N ("K1" standard) went to 1/4 "Dauphiné" Squadron in 1988, replacing the venerable Mirage IIIE. The following Squadrons to be equipped were EC 2/4 "La Fayette" in 1989 and EC 3/4 "Limousin" in 1990. These three Units were integrated within the Strategic Air Force (FAS in French) with a total of 31 aircraft.
Another version of the Mirage 2000-N was developed ("K2" standard - 44 aircraft) in order to carry out conventional all-weather assault. They were delivered from 1991 to 1993 and were assigned to EC 2/3 "Champagne".
In 1996, the Mirage 2000-N became the only FAS device capable of implementing a nuclear weapon, the Mirage IV-P having been exclusively assigned to recognition missions. And it will remain so until 2008, year of a new turning point. Indeed, at this time President Sarkozy has announced a reduction of the French nuclear arsenal. As a consequence, EC 1/4 "Dauphiné" was dissolved in 2010, followed in 2011 by EC 3/4 "Limousin".
At the same time, the Rafale B 1/91 "Gascogne" Squadron took the nuclear alert at Saint-Dizier Air Base, with the new ASMP-A version. Same as for EC 2/4 "La Fayette" in 2015, showing the French Air Force commitment to move to the "all Rafale" phase. The "Begining of the end" for the Mirage 2000-N... In July 2017, only two Squadrons were operational, counting 22 birds.
The Mirage 2000-N took part in most of the foreign operations conducted by France (Crécerelle, Harmattan, Serval, Barkhane, Chammal).The last Mirage 2000-N deployment occured in 2018 to N'Djamena under Barkhane operation.
After a 30 year service the Mirage 2000N has retired on the 21st June 2018.