Dubai Airshow

UAE Signs Up for Mirage Upgrade

 - November 18, 2019, 6:46 AM
The UAE acquired more than 60 Mirage 2000-9s—about half as new-build aircraft and the remainder by the upgrade of existing aircraft. Now the fleet is to undergo another round of capability enhancements.

The UAE announced on November 18 at the Dubai Airshow a contract to upgrade some of its Dassault Mirage 2000-9s in a deal with Dassault Aviation (Pavilion A26-28) that is valued at around AED1.8 billion ($490 million). The announcement of the agreement was widely anticipated, a program to upgrade the UAE Air Force’s fleet having first been aired during the 2017 Dubai show. During that event, a deal to upgrade the UAE Air Force’s F-16s was also announced.

No details regarding the nature of the Mirage upgrade were revealed, but it was earlier reported that the upgrade might include the Talios advanced targeting pod and the RDY-3 radar, both from French company Thales. In the same defense ministry announcement as the Mirage upgrade, Thales was also awarded an AED232 million contract for “maintenance and spares” for the Mirage 2000, while an AED93 million contract was also announced with the Mirage’s main weapon supplier, MBDA France. The Mirage is typically armed in UAEAF service with MBDA’s Black Shaheen variant of the Storm Shadow/Scalp long-range stand-off precision attack missile, along with Mica air-to-air missiles. Another Mirage weapon is the Al Tariq precision-guided bomb that is produced by a company in the UAE's Edge group.

The largest deal announced by the UAE defense ministry on November 18 was an AED3.5 billion ($950m) award to GAL, also part of EDGE, for helicopter maintenance. Lockheed Martin also secured an AED76 million deal to provide equipment and support for the F-16 fleet.