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​What is There About Mirage 2000 and Ukraine and Is It About the Transfer

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French Mirage 2000 / Photo credit: Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace
French Mirage 2000 / Photo credit: Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace

France has its own private military companies, and there is so little known about them that it creates ambiguity

Initially, French media outlet Le Figaro reported there were 30 Ukrainian pilots training on Mirage 2000, and it sounded like they were learning how to operate the fighters and use them in battle. At first, it was denied by the Air Force Command of Ukraine.

Then, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated the pilots were just "having an air defense training and learning how to survive on enemy territory after catapulting." No mention of piloting or learning Mirage 2000 at all.

Read more: ​France is Considering to Transfer Mirage 2000 Combat Aircraft to Ukraine
French Mirage 2000
Mirage 2000 of the French Air Force / Photo credit: Armée de l'Air et de l'Espace

It seems Defense Express has found the reason what is the origin of the news of Ukrainian pilots on Mirage 2000, and it sounds like a paradox. The real state of affairs may be that Ukrainians could be training on Mirage 2000 without learning how to pilot them.

The thing is, there are private companies in France that use Mirage 2000, they buy used aircraft from foreign operators, have contacts with the French Air Force and own pilots with a peculiar combat experience.

There is a high chance one of those PMCs was involved in specialized training of Ukrainian pilots on particular skills, such as breaching enemy air defenses or surviving after being shot down. But given this peculiar situation, the "media background" is intentionally made ambiguous and contradictory.

For illustration, let's recall the reports dating December 2021 saying French ARES (Advanced Redair European Squadron) private military company made a deal with the Qatari Air Force on procuring 12 decommissioned Mirage-2000-5EDA/DDA. The delivery should take place throughout December 2021 – April 2022. Former Qatari aircraft were supposed to be restored to flight condition and used as "aggressors" during the military drills for the French Air Force as part of the €300 million contract with ARES.

One of the Mirage-2000-5EDA/DDA fighters ARES PMC might have bought from Qatar
One of the Mirage-2000-5EDA/DDA fighters ARES PMC might have bought from Qatar / Open source illustrative photo

The French military also cooperates with another PMC that has jets in service, the Procor which has nine Mirage-2000B/C as a core of its fighter fleet.

As long as the segment of aircraft-owning PMCs is hiding in shade and not well developed compared to the USA or Canada, there is a place for such a dissonance in public statements and media reports regarding the training for Ukrainian pilots.

Mirage 2000 of the Procor PMC's fleet
Mirage 2000 of the Procor PMC's fleet / Open source illustrative photo
Read more: ​French Tanks and Aircraft for Ukraine: "Symbolism" of Leclerc and Fears of Mirage "Bombing Bases in russia"