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September 5, 2019

Pakistan to buy 36 Mirage V jets from Egypt

National

 
September 5, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Mirage V in question possesses a helmet-mounted display, mission pods and night strike capability. Sources said Pakistan would upgrade these jets before putting a few of them into operation.

Pakistan's Air Force is expected to seal a contract with Egypt to purchase upgraded Dassault Mirage-V combat aircraft. The two countries have been negotiating the contract for years and now the final contract may see the light of day because the Pakistan Air Force wanted these fighter jets to strengthen its existing squadron of jets.

"Negotiations to purchase 36 such aircrafts almost reached the final stage", one of the person familiar with the negotiations said. These jets were retired from service by the Egyptian Air Force long ago, so Pakistan will have to refurbish them before pressing the aircraft into service. The Mirage V in question possesses a helmet-mounted display, mission pods, and night strike capability. Sources said Pakistan would upgrade these jets before putting a few of them into operation, like in the past when it has upgraded dozens of Mirage-III/Vs with Italian radars and other electronics at the Mirage Rebuild Factory, established by the Pakistan Air Force in 1978.

Pakistan's Air Force has been operating Mirage combat jets for the last five decades and despite the induction of the JF-17, the force planned to put on hold the retirement of the Mirage in the absence of better weaponry. Over the past five decades, Pakistan has purchased nearly 150 Mirage III/V fighters. The force had in the past also bought retired Mirage-III from Australia.

The Mirage V is a dedicated ground-attack variant of the Mirage III, with greater space for fuel, in place of avionics. The Dassault-made Mirage jet received major attention earlier in February when the Indian Air Force carried out an aerial strike using the Mirage 2000 fighter jet to destroy alleged terror infrastructure in Balakot inside Pakistan. Nevertheless, the only common feature of the Mirage V and Indian Air Force's Mirage 2000 is their "delta wing" design.

The relationship between the two nuclear-armed countries once again nosedived in August after India decided to revoke the special status of Held Kashmir. While India called the decision an "internal affair", Pakistan has argued at international fora including at UN that it is a violation of bilateral agreements and the Vienna Convention.

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