The UAE Armed Forces have announced a contract to modernize its Dassault Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets during the on-going Dubai airshow this week.
“The UAE Armed Forces have announced their intention to sign a contract with Dassault and Thales to upgrade their Mirage 2000-9 aircraft,” said HE Major General Staff Pilot Ishaq Saleh Al-Balushi, Head of the Executive Directorate of Industries and Development of Defense Capabilities at the Ministry of Defense and Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of Idex 2017.
“This modernisation comes within the framework of the directives of the wise leadership of the State to support and promote the comprehensive development of our Armed Forces in various branches and in line with the requirements of our Armed Forces,” General added.
Last year, it was reported that the UAE was looking to sell its fleet of Mirage fighters to the Iraqi Air Force since 2011 to complete the deal of purchasing 60 Rafale aircraft due to cost overrun. It was reported that Egypt was also offered to purchase Mirage 2000-9 jets from the Gulf country. But with the newly announced upgrade deal, the country has likely shelved the idea of selling the French jets.
The UAE has 36 multirole Mirage 2000 fighters that have been in service since 1986. A major order for Mirage aircraft in 1998 for an upgraded version, the Mirage 2000-9 was made. That order totalled 62 aircraft, with 32 new planes and 30 of the UAE's older Mirage 2000s revamped.
The technologies and advanced capabilities that the Mirage 2000-9 incorporate include Dassault's "Rafale technology," with similar modular avionics, an LCD glass cockpit with full night vision goggles compatibility, and advanced sensors and systems, according to the Bader 21 purchase agreement signed in 1998. It carries MBDA Storm Shadow / Scalp EG stand-off cruise missile
Al-Balushi said that technilcal teams from the UAE Air Force and Dassaut would work to define the upgrade program following which the financaial terms would be set.