Soon Mirage 2000 for the Moroccan air force?

When the United Arab Emirates were negotiating the purchase of Rafales from France, one of the conditions was that they would take over the 60 or so Mirage 2000-9s in service with their air force for around 1.5 billion euros. And for a while, there was talk of handing them over to Iraq... But that was as far as the deal went.

Finally, in 2019, Abu Dhabi decided to modernize its Mirage 2000-9s, notifying contracts to Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA for a total estimated amount of $490 million.

Given that the order for 80 Rafale F4s, announced on 3 December, does not call into question the purchase of 50 F-35As, the fate of the Mirage 2000-9s is once again in question. Especially since these aircraft still have potential.

In recent days, Defence Arabic, which covers military news in the Arab world, and the news website "El Español" have reported that the United Arab Emirates intends to hand over its Mirage 2000-9s to Egypt and Morocco, two countries with which it has close ties.

While it has 24 Rafales [and soon 54, with 30 more ordered], the Egyptian air force also operates a small number of Mirage 2000s, acquired in the 1980s. In principle, there is no question of withdrawing them from service in the near future. Hence the interest in reinforcing this fleet with modernized aircraft that have served under the Emirati flag. And their integration should not pose any particular problems in terms of operational maintenance and logistics.

As for Morocco, its air force is equipped with 27 Mirage F1s, upgraded to ASTRAC [or MF2000] standard between 2006 and 2011. This upgrade included the integration of equipment common to the Mirage 2000-5 [including the RDY-3 radar from Thales].

According to Defence Arabic, the Mirage 2000-9s that the Royal Moroccan Air Force is likely to receive from the United Arab Emirates would allow it to replace its F-5Es, and even its Mirage F1s. We are talking about about 30 aircraft.

However, for such transfers to third countries to take place, French authorization is necessary. However, in the case of Morocco, Paris will have to deal with the reservations that Algiers will not fail to oppose him, while diplomatic relations between the two capitals are at their lowest, to the point that Algerian airspace is forbidden to French military aircraft going to the Sahel.

As a reminder, equipped with the RBY-2 radar, the Mirage 2000-9 is a multi-mission aircraft, capable of operating the Shehan laser designation pod [derived from the Damocles pod], MICA air-to-air missiles, the Black Shaheen cruise missile [export version of the French SCALP-EG], the Exocet anti-ship missile and PGM-500 Hakim guided bombs.