French private company buys used Mirage 2000 fighter jets from Qatar

Dassault Mirage 2000-5EDA Qatar

The French private company ARES (Advanced REDAIR European Squadron) purchased 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets from the Qatari Air Force. The company will use the planes to provide adversarial (aggressor) training for French Navy pilots. 

According to information from the French newspaper Les Echoes, ARES finalized the acquisition of 12 Mirage 2000-5EDA/DDA fighters. However, the negotiation has not been confirmed either by Ares or by the Government of Qatar, so far. 

Mirage 2000-5 of the Qatar Air Force at Souda Air Base, during training with Greece in 2011. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images.

According to the portal, the planes will be used by the company to train Rafale M pilots from the French Navy's Naval Aviation (Aéronavale). This type of service is called Red Air, where private companies play the role of the enemy (aggressor or adversary) in air combat training. 

Like the US Air Force, which recently awarded $6,4 billion in contracts to private companies, European air forces need more combat training than can be generated internally, points out the Aerotime Hub.

The European Defense Agency assessed the needs of air forces on the old continent at around 22.000 flight hours over five years, a potential market of 300 million euros. The French Air Force and Naval Aviation are no exception to this rule.

Dassault Mirage 2000-5 C-17 Qatar
Mirage 2000-5EDA and DDA fighters of the Qatari Air Force. In the background, a C-17 Globemaster III landing. Photo: Louisa Gouiliamaki/AFP/Getty Images.

Sparing the Rafales 

The French Navy has an interest in preserving the state of its 42 Rafale M. They were the first Rafales to be delivered by Dassault in the early 2000s. Although they have been modernized over the years, no new fighter jets have been received since then. 

Rafale M F3-R with RECO NG reconnaissance pod. Photo: French Navy.

In this way, flight hours are reserved for the most critical missions, such as operations onboard the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. So ARES was contracted by the Navy to provide 600 hours of training per year for the next six years. The various tasks include air-to-ground and air-to-surface attack simulations, towing targets and acting as an adversary during air combat training. 

To this end, ARES sought to acquire the Mirage from Qatar. Doha is retiring its former delta as the 36 Gusts are coming to the country. In addition, Qatar also acquired 36 fighter jets F-15QA Ababil and 24 Eurofighter Typhoon. 

Meanwhile, the French Air and Space Force still relies on Alpha-jet trainers from its own training squadron, 3/8 Côte d'Or, to provide dissimilar training for its pilots. 

Dassault Rafale Qatar
Dassault Rafale fighters of the Qatari Air Force. Photo: Dassault.


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Gabriel Centeno

Author Gabriel Centeno

Journalism student at UFRGS, spotter and military aviation enthusiast.

Categories: Military, News

Tags: Aggressor, Catar, Dassault Rafale, Mirage 2000, T, usaexport