Should the UAE Mirage 2000-9 be taken over to densify the Air and Space Force?

While the fleet “all Rafale  » of the Air and Space Force will only intervene beyond 2030, the resumption of Mirage 2000-9s from the United Arab Emirates would offer a waiting solution while international tensions continue to increase. grow.

The next French military programming law, which will cover the period 2024 to 2030, promises to be ambitious, with a defense effort brought to more than 2,25% of GDP and an increase of almost 35% in the budgetary allocation to armies.

However, in the opinion of many analysts and former senior officers and generals, it will not make it possible to remedy certain critical failings of the armies, particularly in terms of format.

This will be the case of the fighter fleet of the Air and Space Force, which will certainly experience an increase in power with the delivery of 80 aircraft Rafale over this period, reinforcing the approximately 82 hunters in the park today.

The Mirage 2000D and Mirage 2000-5F of the Air and Space Force

With the 55 modernized Mirage 2000Ds still in service in 2030, and with the withdrawal of Mirage 2000-5F, it will therefore only field 206 hunters on this date, while its General Staff estimated even before the war in Ukraine that a format of 225 combat aircraft was required to fulfill its operational contract.

Beyond this perception at 2030, the French Hunting will go through a low point around 2028, when the 2000-5F will be withdrawn from service, while the delivery of the 80 Rafale planned until 2030 will not yet have come to an end.

To address these problems, however, it is not realistic to expect delivery of Rafale additional aircraft by 2030. Indeed, if Dassault Aviation has indeed increased its production rates, aiming for a monthly delivery rate of 4 aircraft, i.e. 48 fighters per year compared to only 11 in 2014, it has no interest in going beyond this tempo.

This would exhaust its customer portfolio well before 2035 and the start of production of the future Next Generation Fighter of the FCAS program, even considering the remaining export potential of Rafale on the international scene.

In other words, if Rafale additional aircraft will most likely be delivered to French hunting, whether to replace the modernized Mirage 2000Ds, the Rafale M the oldest, or to compensate for the probable second-hand sales which will take place between now and then, it is not reasonable, from the point of view of optimizing the industrial tool, and therefore costs, that these deliveries take place before the end of the 2024-2030 LPM.

RAFALE F4 e1641823636618 Fighter aircraft | Defense Analysis | Military aircraft construction
The Air and Space Force will field only 162 Rafale in 2030, as well as 55 Mirage 2000D. A format smaller than the minimum 225 combat aircraft requested by the French General Staff

However, a solution could be considered, making it possible to give the Air and Space Force the potential and operational flexibility necessary to respond to the challenges of the current decade, while preserving optimal functioning of the tool. French aeronautical defense industrialist.

The performance of the Mirage 2000-9 in the United Arab Emirates

Indeed, among the numerous air forces having ordered the new French fighter in recent years, the United Arab Emirates is characterized not only by the record volume of aircraft ordered, 80 Rafale F4 for €16 billion, but also by the composition of the fighter fleet that these Rafale will replace, in this case 58 Mirage 2000-9, the most advanced and efficient version of the single-engine fighter from Dassault Aviation.

In this context, would it be relevant, for the Air and Space Force, as for public finances, to take over all or part of this fleet in order to densify French hunting, and thus respond to operational challenges? and security issues that are emerging in the years to come?

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