PARIS ― The United Arab Emirates plans to order an upgrade for its fleet of Mirage 2000-9 fighter jets, Dassault Aviation said Tuesday.
“Today, during the Dubai Airshow, the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces have announced their intention to sign with Dassault Aviation a contract for the upgrade of their Mirage 2000-9 fleet,” the company said in a statement.
The modernization would cost some €300 million (U.S. $350 million), website La Tribune reported from the air show. An order for the Rafale fighter jet is expected in the wake of the upgrade of the 62-strong fleet of Mirage 2000-9 fighters, the report said.
France has long sought to win a UAE order for the Dassault Rafale, but has yet to secure a contract from the Gulf state for the twin-engine fighter. That sale prospect may well have receded in view of talks between the U.S. and the UAE on a potential sale of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, as announced by U.S. Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson at the air show.
“Dassault Aviation, which has been a reliable partner of the UAE for over 40 years, is fully committed to meet the operational requirements and to support the strategic challenges of the UAE AF & AD [Air Force and Air Defence Force] for the coming decades,” Eric Trappier, Dassault chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
Over that time, the UAE flew the Mirage 5 and Mirage 2000, with the latter upgraded to the 2000-9 multirole version.
A Dassault spokesman had no further comment on the planned contract.