Monday, July 26, 2010

Qatar race is ON !

Defensenews reveals that Qatar could initiate a RFQ for 40 fighters jets in order to replace its fleet of 12 mirage 2000-5 EDA/DDA bought in 1994. Qatar was the second export costumer of the dash 5 which were replacing the aging mirage F1.

It is worth noting that the gulf state is trying to sell its mirage 2000-5 since 2005 and offered them to India (But no deal was signed due to the high price tag asked by Qatar). Back then the rumors were saying that Qatar was trying to get rid of its mirage 2000, either to buy rafale or to swicht to a US fighter.

Now it seems that Qatar is accelerating its replacement process, So one could guess that they might have found a solution to sold the Mirage. In the mean time, it is important to remember that the UAE will soon put about 50 very powerfull mirage 2000-9 on the market of used fihters.

Several countries could be interested by those second hand, but still green, mirage. Among them we can cite India of course but aslo Egypt or Irak.

In India, they could be part of a mixed package of second hand mirage 2000-5/9 and new rafale for the MRCA contest.
Egypt is already an operator of the Mirage 2000E (first export version) and could take the opportunity to buy a second squadron of the delta at a good price. IMHO, it is very unlikely,but who knows...
Irak could be a surprise. The country is rebuilding its air force, and France could very well be part of the process.

This map of the persian gulf shows the 6 possible fighter deals that could happen during the next 5 years. Rafale is a strong contender in 3 of them : EAU, Kuwait and Qatar.

To conclude I think it is now prety obvious that the rafale will not export well if France fails to manage properly the market of the used Mirage 2000.

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