France's Mirage 2000D fighter jets may boost Ukraine's air forces: A closer look
The possibility of a transfer of French fighter jets to Ukraine has sparked lively discussions in recent weeks. The Chairman of the French defense commission, during a visit to the UK, raised hopes with his assertion that France does not rule out the delivery of their combat aircraft to Ukraine. Recent articles, including one in Forbes, suggest that the transaction may indeed be possible. The question now is, which version of the French fighters will be deployed against the Russians?
Could Mirage 2000D be Ukraine's choice?
Forbes also cites comments by the Commander of the Ukrainian air forces, Mykola Olekschuk, who explicitly stated, "The Mirage 2000D could potentially enhance the combat capabilities of the Su-24M bombers". French media sources assert that the Mirage 2000Ds will be one of the topics discussed during the meeting between the Presidents of France and Ukraine.
These comments and reports from France are of high importance given that earlier discussions speculated on the Mirage 2000, not the Mirage 2000D. This distinction is significant.
Essentially, the Mirage 2000D is a two-seater, attack version of the French machine developed from the Mirage 2000N. Introduced in the 1990s, it is equipped with an additional Antilope-5 radar for terrain tracking, night vision goggles and the Sabre electronic warfare (EW) system.
Mirage 2000D boasts a wide range of armaments
A key consideration in the Paris-Kyiv negotiations is the Mirage 2000D's ability to carry a wide assortment of weaponry. It can transport AASM and GBU bombs, as well as SCALP-EG cruise missiles, which Ukraine regularly receives from France, and British Storm Shadow missiles of similar capabilities.
While France has been retiring successive units of the Mirage 2000 aircraft for years, this has yet to include Mirage 2000D variants. Though some consider this puzzling, it doesn't necessarily affect the odds of transferring these machines to Ukraine. In addition to enhancing the Su-24M bombers, they would ideally complement F-16 fighters, due to be delivered to Ukraine within weeks.