In an interview with broadcasters from French media, President of France Emmanuel Macron revealed plans to send an undisclosed number of Mirage 2000-5 combat aircraft from its inventory to Ukraine, and to train 4,500 Ukrainian personnel.

With the world watching France – where the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings are underway in Normandy, which also coincided with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the country – Macron declared his intention to form a coalition with other countries to send jets to Ukraine.

Tomorrow, we will launch new cooperation and announce the transfer of Mirage 2000-5 which are French combat aircraft [these] will allow Ukraine to protect its soil, its airspace,” declared Macron.

The number of units that will be sent depends on the coalition with other partners that is yet to be built. It is worth noting that this potential coalition would run alongside an existing F-16 coalition, wherein Denmark and the Netherlands among others are sending F-16 Fighting Falcons to Ukraine, while the UK instructs pilots.

“We are going to propose to President Zelenskyy that the pilots be trained this summer, it normally takes five to six months” for this, Macron suggested adding that these pilots would be trained in France.

Mirage 2000-5 and its impact on Ukraine

The Mirage 2000 is a multirole combat fighter built by the French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation. It has been operational with the French Air Force since 1984.

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Specifically, the 2000-5 variant is a single or double seated jet that includes advanced avionics, new multiple target air-to-ground as well as air-to-air firing procedures using the RDY radar, and new sensor and control systems. There are 26 2000-5 units currently in service in the French Air Force inventory.

“Some Ukrainian aircrew have already discreetly received some familiarisation training with the Mirage jets, but the announcement yesterday confirmed a full six-month combat training plan with them,” GlobalData Defence Analyst James Marques stated.

Photo of a French Mirage 2000-5 (and another not photographed) interdicting two Russian Su-30M combat aircraft under the auspices of Nato Air Command over the Baltic Sea in February 2024. Credit: Nato Air Command X post from 1 March.

“These Mirages are already steadily being replaced in French service by the Rafale jet,” of which there are more than 100 units, “so they’re slightly older examples, and much like the F-16s Ukraine are receiving they are, in one-on-one comparisons, likely outranged in radar searching power by more modern Russian jets like the Su-30SM and Su-35SM.

“Nevertheless, they are still far more capable than Ukraine’s older Soviet-era fighters, and if combined with the ASC AWACS planes being donated by Sweden, are still powerful weapons.”

Macron said that he is reaching out to partners – other nations that operate the 2000 – to support his programme. This likely means sourcing additional parts, maintenance equipment as production for the 2000 had stopped in 2007.