Murphy's Law: Free Jet Fighters Find No Takers


March 24, 2009: Recently, Qatar offered to give Indonesia ten Mirage 2000 jet fighters, and Indonesia turned down the gift. The problem was the high maintenance costs of the aircraft, and the fear that the French manufacturers of the aircraft, Dassault, might not survive the current recession. But the main problem was that Indonesia would have to establish a maintenance operation just for the Mirages. Currently, Indonesia is switching from American fighters (ten F-16s, and 16 F-5s) to Russian Su-27s and 30s. The Indonesian Air Force budget simply doesn't have the money to deal with just ten Mirage fighters.

Qatar has been trying to unload its 16 ton Mirage 2000 fighters for the last six years. It had hoped to sell them to India or Pakistan. India already has 45 Mirage 2000 warplanes. Pakistan has about 110 of the older, 14 ton, Mirage IIIs. The Mirage 2000 series is a newer design, although it looks like the older Mirage models. The Mirage III/5 is 1960s technology, the Mirage 2000 is 1970s and later. The Mirage 2000 was produced until 2007, and Quatar got its last ones in 1998. Qatar has always kept tight control over its defense spending, and apparently the very high tech Mirage 2000-5s are considered too expensive to operate. So they have been trying to get rid of them, without much success.


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