Back to the future
On the 18th July 2005 Dassault and the
Brazilian government announced that a deal had been finalised for the sale of 12 Mirage 2000C (10 single seaters and two two-seat trainers formerly in AdlA service). The sale includes Super 530D BVR missiles R550 Magic II IR missiles. The
aircraft are equipped with the RDI radar that is still used by the majority of French aircraft. The sale has been valued at € 85 Million.
The devastating floods that inundated parts of Central and Eastern Europe in the summer of
2002 threatened the Austrian procurement but in the last week of August 2003 the Austrian government confirmed the planned purchase of 18 Typhoon fighters. Austria has traditionally looked to Sweden for it´s military aviation needs and it
came as a suprise that the Eurofighter Typhoon had been chosen.
Looking elsewhere, in Eastern Europe, Poland has chosen the F16. Hungary has opted for a Gripen lease (although leasing fighter planes is hardly what any manufacturer
wants). Both Dassault and Lockheed Martin
withdrew their bids from the Czech competition, citing onerous bidding requirements. The Czech requirement had been on the table for years, and it may be that "bidding fatique" set in. As it transpired the Czechs finally opted for the Gripen, deciding to lease 12 single-seaters and two two-seater training aircraft for ten years.
Chile, where at various times all competing aircraft were considered to be frontrunners, has chosen the F16 C. Most South American countries simply aren´t in a position to even consider a new fighter. Argentina, traditionally a
Dassault customer, is in the midst of a deep economic crisis and will have to postpone any requirement for years to come.
Dassault will most likely be focusing on repeat orders
from existing customers. India, Greece and the United Arab Emirates have ordered extra aircraft, either as attrition replacements, upgrades or new-build airframes. There are persistent rumours of a large order from the Indian Air Force.
The Republic of China(Taiwan) has previously expressed a requirement for an additional 60 aircraft but France will not approve it.
Dassault will also be focusing on upgrade packages, based on the Dash 5. The first generation export
variants would benefit enormously from a Dash 5 MkII type upgrade, giving the customer fourth generation avionics capability in a proven third generation airframe. The proven strength of the airframe certainly makes upgrading an attractive
alternative to buying new aircraft.