July 1, 2022

French defense services company ARES to take over Mirage 2000-5s from the Qatar Air Force

Last April, the Security and Defense Services Companies [ESSD] Canadian Top Aces has been awarded a new contract from the German Defense Ministry to train Luftwaffe pilots in aerial combat with aircrafts [A-4 Skyhawk et F-16] operating from Wittmundhafen Air Base.

In France, the Air & Space Army [AAE] is rather reluctant to use private providers for such services [appelées « Red Air »], the latter being provided by the 3/8 Côte d’Or training squadron, equipped with Alphajet.

However, at a time when it is practically only a question of “high intensity” engagements, the AAE will no doubt have to consider “hardening” the training of its combat units with airplanes. with increased capacities, while his [Rafale et Mirage 2000] are counted… And it is not the only one, in Europe, to find itself in such a situation. According to the European Defense Agency [AED], the need for the European air forces would be of the order of 22,000 hours of training flight over five years, which represents a market of 300 million euros.

Anyway, two French ESSDs are preparing to meet such needs. Indeed, Procor has already got hold of nine of the twelve Mirage 2000s that served under the Brazilian colors. [après avoir été acquis d’occasion auprès de la France dans les années 2000, ndlr]. One of them was also exhibited during the recent air meeting organized at the 116 Luxeuil air base.

At the same time, the company ARES [Advanced Redair European Squadron], born from the merger between SDTS and SECAREO, has made no secret of its intention to also procure at least 18 Mirage 2000s to complete its air fleet, currently made up of 9 Aermacchi MB339Cs and a Cessna 337. These aircraft are called upon for “Red Air” missions, electronic warfare training, training of forward air traffic controllers and simulations of air-to-ground and air-to-surface strikes [notamment au profit de la Marine nationale].

The question then was to know who ARES was going to contact to acquire these Mirage 2000s, which will be based in Istres. The answer has just been given by the daily Les Echos.

Thus, with the gradual entry into service of the 36 Rafale he ordered [un lot en 2015 et un second en 2017, ndlr], Qatar no longer needs the 12 Mirage 2000-5EDA / DDA which were delivered to it at the end of the 1990s. And it therefore sold them to ARES, for an amount which could not be specified by Les Echos. . According to the latter, for this operation, the French company is supported by Dassault Aviation, Thales, Safran and “external investors”.

The former Qatari Mirage 2000s should join Istres between December 2021 and April 2022, which will allow ARES to fulfill the contract that the French Navy recently notified to it for the training of its units. [soit 3600 heures de vol sur six ans].

The Qatari Mirage 2000-5 still have potential. Leaving the assembly lines in 1997, these aircraft, which are not equipped with an in-flight refueling pole, took part in operations carried out in Libya in 2011. [du moins pour quatre d’entre eux] before being called upon for Operation “Decisive Storm” in Yemen in 2015.