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

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 nearly 35% in the budget allocation. to armies. However, in the opinion of many analysts and former senior and general officers, it will not make it possible to remedy certain critical shortcomings of the armed forces, particularly in terms of format. This will be the case for the Air and Space Force's fighter fleet, which will certainly experience a rise in power with the delivery of 80 Rafale aircraft over this period, reinforcing the approximately 82 fighters in the park today. today. With the 55 modernized Mirage 2000Ds still in service in 2030, and with the retirement of the Mirage 2000-5fs, 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 Beyond this perception in 2030, French fighters will go through a low point around 2028, when the 2000-5f will be withdrawn from service, while the delivery of the 80 Rafales scheduled until 2030 will not yet have been completed. term.

To address these issues, however, it is not realistic to expect delivery of additional Rafales by 2030. Indeed, while Dassault Aviation has indeed increased its production rates, aiming for a monthly delivery rate of 4 aircraft, i.e. 48 hunters per year against only 11 in 2014, it has no interest in going beyond this rate, which would exhaust its customer portfolio well before 2035 and the start of production of the future Next Generation Fighter of the SCAF program, even taking into consideration the remaining export potential of the Rafale on the international scene. In other words, if additional Rafales will most likely be delivered to French Fighters, whether to replace the modernized Mirage 2000Ds, the oldest Rafales M, or even to compensate for the probable second-hand sales which will take place from here, it is not reasonable, from the point of view of the optimization of the industrial tool, therefore of the costs, that these deliveries take place before the end of the LPM 2024-2030.

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

A solution could however be envisaged, allowing the Air and Space Force to be given the potential and the operational flexibility necessary to meet the challenges of the current decade, while preserving optimal functioning of the tool. French aeronautical defense manufacturer. Indeed, among the many air forces that have 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 Rafales will replace, in this case 58 Mirage 2000-9, the most successful and efficient version of Dassault Aviation's single-engine fighter. In this context, would it be relevant, for the Air and Space Force, but also for public finances, to take over all or part of this fleet in order to increase the density of French hunting, and thus meet the challenges operational and security aspects that are looming in the years to come?

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