In the wake of increasing pressure from the People's Liberation Army, Taiwan is making hefty investments to maintain its fleet of Mirage 2000s.
Taiwan is investing no less than 300 million euros to sustain its Mirage 2000s fleet. This move is driven by pressing need to preserve its potential for combat aircraft in the face of escalating pressure from the People's Liberation Army. Sustaining the operational condition and upgrading, particularly of the Mirage 2000s acquired from France in the 1990s, has proven to be a challenging task.
Selling Military Equipment to Taiwan: A Delicate Balance
Supplying Taiwan with military equipment while managing China's sensitivities is a fine juggling act. To illustrate, a small contract in 2020 worth 24 million euros awarded to a French company for new decoy launchers for Taiwan's La Fayette-type frigates provoked a strong backlash from Chinese diplomacy.
Investment in Spare Engine Parts
The Taiwanese Ministry of Defense has entrusted a 10.2 billion Taiwan dollars deal (approximately 300 million euros) to the French group, Safran Aircraft Engines. The contract involves the provision of “spare M53 engine parts”. The deal will be carried out from January 2024 to December 2028 at the Hsinchu airbase.
Continued Contracts with Foreign Companies
This is the third contract signed with foreign companies within the past month to ensure the availability and operational readiness of its two-decade-old Mirage 2000-5 fighters. The specifics of the other two contracts were not disclosed. Just a day prior, Taiwan declared it had clinched an agreement with a French company to procure “parts and components” for MICA and R.550 Magic air-to-air missiles.
Modest Order for Missile Components
The order, assigned to MBDA, is moderate, amounting to “only” 396.8 million Taiwanese dollars (roughly 11 million euros).
Extending the Lifespan of Mirage 2000s
Last summer, the Taiwanese air force stated its aspiration to prolong the lifespan of its Mirage 2000s. This will provide more flexibility, as these aircraft could be deployed for combat missions and pilot training. These aircraft also have the capability to carry the ASTAC electronic intelligence pod, supplied by Thales.