The UAE Government is reportedly planning to transfer up to ten of its Mirage 2000-9 multi-role combat aircraft to the Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) in March this year.
A UAE Government source was quoted by DefenseNews as saying that the decision follows Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s recent visit to Abu Dhabi to ‘discuss mechanisms to enhance cooperation between the two countries and dry up the sources of terrorism.’
They said: "The UAE is trying to fortify Iraq’s security from north to south, specifically the areas from Baghdad to Erbil.
"Mainly, Erbil because many UAE strategic interests are there with regards to oil and gas investments as well as others.
"During discussions, the UAE offered a batch of upgraded Mirage 2000-9s to Iraq, they are expected to be under ten aircraft."
The UAE Air Force’s Mirage 2000-9 fighters are manufactured by Dassault Aviation and feature the company’s ‘Rafale technology with similar modular avionics, an LCD glass cockpit with full night vision goggles compatibility, and advanced sensors and systems.’
Apart from Mirage 2000-9s, the UAE is also providing a number of 24 EMB-314 Super Tucano light strike aircraft it is acquiring from Brazilian company Embraer to IQAF for border patrol and counterinsurgency missions.
Earlier this month, Brazilian Air Force commander general Juniti Saito confirmed to the publication that the UAE has started negotiations for the procurement, and wants immediate deliveries of six aircraft.
The source said: "We are hoping to finalise the deal before the end of the month."
In addition, the UAE Government has decided to supply an undisclosed number of light Russian-made special operations forces tactical weapons to the Iraqi Army.
The source said: "Al-Abadi will be coming back in March to discuss the procedures for providing aircraft and weapons."
Image: A Mirage 2000 fighter of the UAE Air Force flies over Southwest Asia. Photo: courtesy of Staff Sgt Aaron Allmon, USAF.