Paris, Kyiv are discussing the delivery of six Mirage 2000 aircraft

According to Intelligence Online [IO], a credible source, an intriguing discussion is currently underway. This conversation, taking place between representatives of the French and Ukrainian governments, centers around a significant issue – the provision of combat aircraft for the Ukrainian Air Force. To put it simply, Paris and Kyiv are deep in negotiations about the potential delivery of six high-performing Dassault Mirage 2000 combat aircraft.

Ukraine 'loudly' wants F-16, but secretly trains Mirage 2000 pilots
Photo credit: Pixabay

As per IO, a significant discussion is currently in progress between two military heavyweights: Sebastien Lecorneau of France and his Ukrainian equal, Rustem Umerov. The crux of the dialog revolves around Ukraine’s pressing need for combat aviation aircraft. The Russian aerospace forces have a clear edge in the skies over Ukraine. By the year’s end, the growing frequency of reports regarding the destruction of Russian aircraft equipment has not gone unnoticed.

The request reached the parliament

Conversations surrounding the potential provision of the Dassault Mirage 2000 to Ukraine aren’t new. As far back as September this year, word got out that Kyiv had made a request. They were seeking what was vaguely referenced as “some delivery” encompassing either the Rafale or Mirage 2000. These discussions came to light following a speech by French legislator Julien Bayou. 

While at the French parliament, an urgent remark was dropped on the side: a dire need to supply Rafale and/or Mirage 2000D, in addition to radars for the Sukhoi and Ukrainian MiGs. This comment was reported by Opex360 at that time, with Bayu being quoted as the source.

In a further elaboration on “requests” and “intentions,” Bayu provides an insightful perspective. The French MP is willing to endorse a deal that incorporates third-party countries. Such a measure is aimed at avoiding the worsening of relations with Russia, assuming they stay intact. “In contrast, another approach could be to supply countries with F-16s or MiG-29s with these Rafales and Mirages. Consequently, those countries may then transfer their F-16s and MiG-29s to Ukraine,” suggests Bayu.

Taiwanese mirage 2000
Photo credit: CNA

For the first time

In our previous report from September, we discussed allegations concerning Ukrainian pilots receiving training in France. As reported by French newspaper, Le Figaro, it was suggested that nearly 30 Ukrainian pilots were rapidly trained to fly the French Mirage 2000 fighters. This training was held at two French air bases: Mont de Marsan and Nancy.

During a period when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was actively touring Europe, it’s inferred from French reports that he appealed to nearly every nation, urging them to send fighter jets to bolster Ukraine’s defenses.

The instruction to train 30 Ukrainian pilots in France hints that Paris might have taken into account Mr. Zelensky’s plea but with some adjustments to meet domestic political needs. Specifically, it seems that the Ministry of Defense opted for the Mirage 2000 instead of the Rafale, which was the original request.

There was talk of 40 Mirage 2000s

As per the intelligence report from the French digital source in March, Intelligence Online [IO], Ukraine has aspirations to acquire a minimum of 40 Mirage 2000-9 combat aircraft. IO’s independent research indicates potential providers, with noteworthy mentions being the United Arab Emirates [UAE], Indonesia, and Greece.

Intelligence Online delves deeper into understanding where these aircraft originate from,” state the editors at IO. They suggest that the first part of the order is likely to be delivered by the UAE, according to further insights shared by the French publication.

France was prepared

Back in March 2023, while plans to deliver aircraft to Ukraine were still considered a “phantom,” the response from Paris appeared to be more tangible in terms of Ukraine’s president’s request. Basically, Paris stated that supplying French fighter jets to Ukraine is not an off-limits discussion.

Before finalizing any deliveries, three critical elements need to be examined by the French Ministry of Defense. These comprise the vital role and efficacy of the weapons for Ukraine’s military, the assurance that there’s no potential for exacerbating hostilities, and the maintenance of the robust defense system of the French army.

According to BulgarianMilitary.com, President Emmanuel Macron of France has instructed the French Ministry of Defense to evaluate the potential supply of combat aircraft to Ukraine, as early as the start of 2023. It’s been confirmed by official channels in Paris that there’s a standing request from Kyiv to deliver combat aircraft.

Mirage 2000

The Mirage 2000, with its genesis in 1978, might be perceived as dated technology. To date, roughly 600 units have been constructed. When juxtaposed with the capabilities of the F-16 or its French counterpart, the Rafale fighter, the Mirage may appear underwhelming. It’s worth noting that production of this aircraft was halted in 2007. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Mirage 2000 finds itself in Ukraine, considering the West typically provides older, retired gear, alongside a sporadic sprinkling of modern equipment. 

The Mirage 2000 is powered by the singular SNECMA M53-P2 afterburning turbofan engine, boasting 64.3 kN [14,500 lbf] thrust when dry, and surging to 95.1 kN [21,400 lbf] with an afterburner. Its maximum takeoff weight tops out at 17,000 kg [37,479 lb]. As for speed, it can hit top gears of 2,336 km/h [1,452 mph, 1,261 kn] / Mach 2.2 at high altitude and 1,110 km/h [690 mph; 600 kn] at sea level. 

Dassault Mirage 2000-9 (Mk 2) multirole combat aircraft
Photo: Savvas Savvaidis

When it comes to armament, the Mirage 2000 houses two 30 mm [1.2 in] DEFA 554 revolver cannons, with 125 rounds per gun. The aircraft possesses nine hard points that can endure weights up to 6,300 kg. Its weaponry also includes air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, though it does lack anti-radiation missiles. Additionally, it can unleash both unguided and guided bombs.

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