Greece Looks to India to Buy its Grounded Mirage 2000 Jets

Although the expected sale price is modest, Athens sees an opportunity for broader strategic cooperation with New Delhi: Greek media
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 12:21 PM, February 8, 2024
  • 782
Greece Looks to India to Buy its Grounded Mirage 2000 Jets
HAF Mirage 2000 fighter @Greek media

In a bid to offload 18 Mirage 2000 EGM/BGMs retired in January 2022, the Greek Air Force is actively seeking potential buyers, with sources suggesting a keen interest in selling them to India before considering scrapping the aging aircraft due to prolonged grounding.

Informed sources indicated to Kathimerini that there is a growing interest in selling these decommissioned fighters to India. The proposal has been communicated to both the Ministry of National Defense and the Maximos Palace, indicating a potential shift in defense ties between Athens and New Delhi.

The 18 Mirages, acquired in the late 80s, faced operational challenges leading to their retirement with the arrival of Rafales in January 2022. The 332 Hawk Squadron struggled with Mirage 2000 availability issues, resulting in some aircraft being abandoned on Tanagra tracks and others cannibalized beyond operational use. Despite their poor condition, India, which maintains three squadrons with around 50 Mirage 2000s, has expressed interest in procuring these fighters to extend their service life.

The decision to sell the retired Mirages is anticipated to have more political than economic benefits for Greece, reflecting a desire to strengthen defense ties with India. Although the expected sale price is modest, Athens sees an opportunity for broader strategic cooperation with New Delhi.

Meanwhile, the Greek Air Force is also evaluating the future of the newer Mirage 2000-5s operated by the 331 Squadron "Theseus." While the support contract has improved their availability, concerns about their compatibility with evolving technologies and the high costs of integration, such as a proposed Link-16 terminal, have led to a reassessment.

As the Air Force transitions into network-centric operations, the Mirage 2000-5 faces challenges in keeping pace with modern capabilities. One option under consideration is to sell the 24 Mirage 2000-5s while they are still operational and use the proceeds to finance additional Rafale purchases. The Air Force is set to receive six Rafales in the first half of the year, with the potential for an additional six, allowing for the formation of two squadrons.

While no final decisions have been made, selling Mirage 2000-5s could enhance the qualitative strength of the Greek Air Force, aligning it with modern capabilities. The shift would also provide financial benefits and streamline support for a more uniform aircraft fleet. The positive operational impact is expected, with Rafales utilizing the full range of weapons previously designated for the Mirage 2000-5, including long-range SCALP EG missiles and Exocet AM39 anti-ship missiles.

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