Pakistan Air Force to buy 36 retired Mirage V jets from Egypt as IAF gets ready to deploy Rafale
Mirage-V is a jet which is not even a match for the Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage-2000, the combat aircraft used to bomb terror camps in Balakot in February 2019. Moreover, India will soon have the French Dassault Rafale, one of the most advanced and versatile multirole combat aircraft in the world, in its arsenal.
Pakistan is negotiating with Egypt to buy 36 Dassault Mirage-V fighter, an aircraft which even the French company has stopped producing. The Mirage-V jets have been retired by Egypt but the Pakistan Air Force wants them to be upgraded for its fleet.
The 36 Rafales will add more lethality to the IAF which will base one squadron at Ambala in Haryana while the second will be operating from West Bengal's Hashimara. IAF Rafales will be equipped with beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air Meteor, short and medium-range air-to-air MICA and precision-guided air-to-ground SCALP missiles.
Pakistan already operates 92 Mirage-V and another 87 Mirage-III jets along with F-16 Fighting Falcons, one of which was shot down by an IAF MiG-21 Bison piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on February 27, 2019. The country also has Chengdu J-7 and JF-17 Thunder combat jets.
Pakistan Air Force wants the Mirage-V upgraded with better radars and electronic warfare suites before taking their delivery. The country has been upgrading the Mirage III and V in its arsenal under Project ROSE (Retrofit Of Strike Element). The jets which Pakistan is looking at already have a helmet-mounted display, mission pods along with the ability to carry out airstrikes in the night.
While the negotiations have been going on for the last few years, Pakistan now wants the jets immediately as tensions with India rise. The February 26, 2019, airstrikes carried out by IAF Mirage-2000 jets before daybreak on the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan's Balakot had caught the country's air force napping which failed to even track the Indian jets.
The Mirage-V is currently in service with only the Pakistan and Egyptian air forces.