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Pakistan in talks for Qatari Mirage 2000-5s? (Not likely)
March 28, 2017

Pakistan in talks for Qatari Mirage 2000-5s? (Not likely)

A brief report by Tactical Report, a Gulf-based security and defence publication, has claimed that Pakistan may be in talks with Qatar for the purchase of the latter’s Dassault Mirage 2000-5s. The 12 fighters (nine single seat and three dual-seat) are due to be replaced by the Dassault Rafale in the near future.

Comment and Analysis

It is incredibly unlikely that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) would be considering the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF)’s Mirage 2000-5s. Granted, the PAF has shown interest in the Mirage 2000 platform a number of times in the past, coming close to even inking deals in the 1990s (cancelled as a direct result of corruption) and 2000s (dropped in favour of the Lockheed Martin F-16 Block-52+), but this platform is at its end.

The Mirage 2000 would always make for an excellent strike platform, thanks to its 6,300kg payload and nine weapon hardpoints. The QEAF’s Mirage 2000-5s and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Mirage 2000-9s are also equipped with excellent radar and avionics suites, centered on the Thales RDY-2 radar. The Indian Air Force also operates a heavily modernized version of the Mirage 2000 (alongside Greece, Taiwan, Egypt, Peru and – for a limited period – Brazil).

Had the PAF procured the fighter, even in limited numbers, it would have been in possession of a credible platform it could freely equip, especially in terms of stand-off range weapons (e.g. cruise missiles). Granted, it would have been an expensive acquisition, and that too with relatively high operational costs, but the presence of a strike fighter with payload and range comparable to that of the F-16 – but without the limitations in terms of choice munitions – does not currently exist in the PAF fleet. In 2011, even the UAE was looking to sell its Mirage 2000-9s, and Pakistan was noted as a potential customer alongside Egypt and Iraq (which have since procured Rafales and F-16s, respectively).

However, the Mirage 2000 has been out of production since 2007, and existing aircraft can only be serviced using existing stockpiles of spare parts. It will not be long before cannibalization is the main method of operating a Mirage 2000 fleet, and such scarcity of spare parts will raise the fighter’s operating and maintenance costs.

Pakistan also lacks maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) infrastructure to service the Mirage 2000, which is a completely different platform from the legacy Mirage III/5 the PAF currently operates. To acquire the Mirage 2000 would mean to raise infrastructure for a dying fighter, a cost the PAF simply cannot afford, not without unlikely concessions (e.g. fighters sold for a fraction of the original price).

Finally, the news is merely secondary information. In matters regarding the PAF, the only authentic source of information is the PAF itself, which has made no statements in support of purchasing second-hand Mirage 2000/-5/-9s. At present, the PAF’s modernization plans center on the procurement of surplus F-16s from various sources (e.g. Jordan), the continued development and production of the JF-17 Thunder, and the long-term development of the next-generation fighter platform, which will begin replacing the F-16s and early model JF-17s.

  • Syed

    For what it’s worth I read PAF is getting 60 mirage 2000-9s from uae and Saudis are paying for them

    • Shershahsuri

      Just rumour or your own perception. Never heard from any reliable source of such deal. Even when US congress stopped funds for F-16, such news were speculated that KSA would pay in leiue of FMF.

      • Syed

        Read that in an article in Indian Economist shershah shah suri

        • Shershahsuri

          Paste the link in reply

  • Hashim Rasheed

    This is not a bad idea at all, come to think of it. While the writer has provided some very strong arguments against it, but it would be a smart acquisition as it can be used to replace aging Mirage IIIs in the PAF inventory. Simialrly, Mirage 2000-9s, if available, could also be acquired, as these platforms will not just be able to replace aging Mirage IIIs and 5s but will also present a significant upgrade on them.

    As for the infrastructure, I personally do not believe that it would require a huge investment in upgrading the Mirage Rebuild Factory. Rather than making it obsolete when the current fleet of Mirages are phased out, the facility can be upgraded to cater for the requirements of the Mirage 2000. It would also be the right step in acquiring technology and expertise which would be beneficial in the next-generation fighter program.

    • SP

      Maintaining any newer aircraft cannot be as extensive an effort as maintaining the obsolete Mirage 3/5. However the aircraft will need to be acquired in sufficient numbers say around 80 units for it to be viable option and the aircrafts need to be acquired virtually for free.

  • Nauman Ali

    even if paf is successful in making a next generation fighter to replace f 16 and early jf 17 what will they have to replace the mirages.they are strike fighters and after retiring mirages what will paf use for strike role?
    jf 17 is not capable of that and so are the f16 s

    • nob hamid gul

      With aesa hobs advance ecm and probabbly irst The block 3 version of f17 will be capable for strike role.

      • Nauman Ali

        but what about payload?
        will its payload be similar to that of rafale or f16…no way

        • nob hamid gul

          Forgot to mention a new engine. Maybe rd33mk or ws13a. The new engine with more composite material will somewhat improve payload of course not as much as f16 and Rafale. But large number of jf17 with aesa ews ecm hobs ir irst with advance air to air and air to ground munution will reduce jf17 visibility and also make it a amazing a frontline fighter

  • SP

    If PAF gets these aircrafts for free then they can serve a useful function as a replacement for older mirages in PAF and as a stop gap measure until further and improved JF-17 are inducted. Once PAF has mastered the mirage 2000 it would need to induct further aircrafts as it makes no sense to have just 12 aircrafts in service. The mirages are very durable aircrafts and still have much life left in them, but it would not make any sense in paying hard cash to buy them.

  • bill

    The production of 5th gen fighter by PAF is more or less 10-12 Years away which is expected to start after PAF excellence city is completed with full scale facilities regarding research, modern technology and required manpower.

    The viable option for PAF is to start induction of 4.5th Gen JF17-block III and FC31 from 2018 to cater threat from IAF.

  • Sami Shahid

    why does PAF need Mirage 2000 when PAF is already developing JF-17 block 3 ?

  • X2

    Paf will not go for it for sure… rather they will seek Russian tech and assistance in jf 17 block 3

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