x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 November 2017

UAE set to upgrade Mirage 2000-9 jet fighters 

The announcement came on the sidelines of the Dubai Air Show but it was not immediately clear when the deal would be signed

The UAE purchased 32 new Mirage 2000-9 jets in 1998, such as this jet which performed at the Dubai Airshow four years ago. Pawan Singh / The National
The UAE purchased 32 new Mirage 2000-9 jets in 1998, such as this jet which performed at the Dubai Airshow four years ago. Pawan Singh / The National

The UAE Armed Forces are set to upgrade their Mirage 2000-9 jet fighters.

Maj Gen Staff Pilot Ishaq Al Balushi said the Government intends to sign a deal with French firms Dassault Aviation and Thales to modernise the fleet.

The announcement came on the sidelines of the Dubai Air Show and was reported by Wam. It was not immediately clear when the deal would be signed.

It followed the news that the UAE and Lockheed Martin signed a US$1.6 billion (Dh5.8bn) deal to upgrade the UAE's F-16s.

F-16s and Dassault Mirages form the backbone of the UAE Air Force fighter capabilities.

Many UAE pilots learned to fly on Mirages during the 1970s. In 1998, the UAE purchased 32 new Mirage 2000-9 jets, while 30 of the older Mirage 2000s were revamped. The Mirage was developed in the 1970s and is a single-engine jet fighter. Hundreds were made and it is operated by several countries across the globe.

There have been previous reports the UAE was considering buying the Rafale, Dassault's advanced fighter, but no firm deals have ever been made.

Maj Gen Al Balushi, who is head of the executive directorate of industries and development of defence capabilities, at the Ministry of Defence, said the upgrade news comes within the framework of the UAE leadership's support of the development of the Armed Forces.

_________________

Read more:

Lockheed Martin signs $1.6bn UAE deal amid Arabian Gulf tensions

Idex 2017: Embraer aims for first aviation order from Middle East