Greece to get UAE Mirage 2000-9 fighters

Greece buy UAE Mirage
UAE Air Force Mirage 2000-9 takes off from Andravida Air Base, Greece, during Iniohos 2018 exercise.

Greece appears to be close to purchasing combat aircraft from the United Arab Emirates, according to Greek media. Athens is looking to buy the upgraded Mirage 2000-9 fighters that the UAE Air Force will be phasing out in the coming years following the introduction of 80 Dassault Rafale F4s.

French President Emmanuel Macron seems to have already given his consent to the deal, this is a fundamental step as the sale of French weapon systems to third countries is subject to the approval of the manufacturer. Athens' choice to introduce 24 Rafale fighters seems to have benefited the approval process.

According to earlier rumors, both Egypt and Morocco are also targeting the UAE's Mirage 2000-9 aircraft, however, with Paris' backing for Athens, they will most likely take a back seat.

Greece also has excellent relations with the UAE, the two countries signed a mutual assistance agreement in the military field in November 2020. As a result of that alliance, Abu Dhabi deployed four F-16 fighters to Crete last year in response to the activities of the Turkish naval forces in the Mediterranean waters claimed by Athens.

The Hellenic Air Force appears to be interested in introducing at least 36 Mirage 2000-9 jets out of a total of 60 currently available in the UAE Air Force fleet. HAF's plan is to replace some of its older Mirage 2000 EG/BGs with younger ones. Furthermore, Athens would like to resell the most fatigued Mirages to a private French defense company for Red Air and air combat training activities.

The Emirates Mirage 2000-9 aircraft is expected to be available starting in 2026, when Abu Dhabi will receive the first Rafales from France.

The UAE purchased the Mirage 2000 aircraft in two tranches, in 1986 and 1998. Some of them were received in the 2000-9 configuration while others were upgraded later. These aircraft boast excellent capabilities in both air-to-air and air-to-ground combat as they are equipped with the powerful RDY-3 radar, the Sniper pod, MICA air-to-air missiles, Black Shaheen cruise missile (export version of the French SCALP- EG), Exocet anti-ship missile and laser guided weaponry. They are also receiving the Shehan laser pod which is derived from the French Damocles.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: George Karavantos

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