The training of 30 Ukrainian pilots in France is a signal that Paris may have accepted Zelensky’s request.

Ukraine wants the F-16, but the signals from its Western allies are unclear. Instead they will have the opportunity to receive Mirage 2000 fighters. According to Intelligence Online, Ukraine hopes to receive at least 40 Mirage 2000-9 fighters. Earlier, international media reported that Ukrainian pilots were being trained to operate the French Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jet.

It is reported that at the beginning of 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered the French Ministry of Defense to make an assessment of the possibility of supplying combat aircraft to Ukraine. The training of 30 Ukrainian pilots in France is a signal that Paris may have accepted Zelensky’s request. The Mirage 2000 is no longer in service with the French Air Force, but Paris is still available. This means that France can either supply itself or facilitate re-exports from countries that still use them. These are India, UAE, Greece, Egypt, Brazil, Qatar and Peru.

Mirage 2000 has quite outdated technology. This aircraft made its first flight in 1978 and to date about 600 units have been produced. Production of the Mirage 2000 was stopped in 2007. But the chances of the Mirage 2000 being served in Ukraine are very high, especially since the West mainly supplies old equipment that is outdated to Kiev.

Mirage 2000 has nine hard points for carrying weapon system payloads: five on the fuselage and two on each wing. The single-seat version Mirage 2000C is armed with two internally mounted, high-firing-rate 30mm guns. Air-to-air weapons include the MICA air-to-air missiles, and the Magic 2 missiles, both from MBDA. MICA supports a maximum operating range of 60km.

The Mirage 2000C could provide Kyiv with the ability to conduct ground attack operations. With the capacity to conduct ground-attack missions with 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs, the Mirage 2000C has been upgraded to have some degree of multirole capabilities. Given enough time and the proper approvals, more weapons may also be added to the Mirage 2000C.

The French move could be a turning point for Western allies. In this way, it is possible to motivate other allies of Ukraine to do the same as in the case of Western tanks supplying Ukraine.

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