Did France approve the transfer of Emirati Mirage 2000-9 fighters to Morocco?

U.S. Air Force photo

According to recent media reports, France has agreed to transfer 30 Emirati Mirage 2000-9 aircraft to Morocco. The decision was first reported by the Moroccan publication As-Sahifa and subsequently confirmed by sources to the Spanish La Razón. The transfer follows a long period of discussions. However, no official confirmation has been made regarding the transfer.

The initial sales contract signed in 1998 between Abu Dhabi and Paris specified that any transfer of these aircraft to a third party would require French approval in accordance with the regulations of the manufacturing country.

The Mirage 2000-9, a multirole single-seat fighter, was specifically developed for the United Arab Emirates as a variant of the Mirage 2000-5 interceptor. It boasts improved systems and is equipped with the same central computer as the Rafale, which enables it to carry out both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions.

For a while, rumors circulated that France considered repurchasing the Emirati Mirage 2000-9 fighters for potential transfer to Ukraine to support its defense against Russia’s invasion.

The Moroccan Air Force, which currently flies a combination of Mirage F1, Northrop F-5, and General Dynamics F-16 fighters, deemed acquiring Mirage 2000s crucial amidst heightened regional tensions. According to As-Sahifa, the urgent need prompted discussions between France and Morocco’s foreign ministers on April 10, 2024.

Ultimately, the administration of French President Emmanuel Macron is reported to have approved the transfer to Morocco in light of the broader military cooperation between France and the United Arab Emirates. This includes the latter’s acquisition of 80 Dassault Rafale fighter jets on December 3, 2021.

AeroTime sent a request for comment to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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