Libya are looking to purchase a new fighter aircraft for its newly formed Armed Forces. Several options are on the table, with countries such as France and the UAE thought be placing bids. Two weeks ago, during a visit of the French Defense Minister Gérard Longuet in Libya, France and Libya signed an agreement to patrol Libyan borders and to renovate the small Libyan fleet of Dassault Mirage F1 fighter jets and to train its personnel.
In the Seventies, Libya bought 38 Mirage F1s from France and in 2005 France agreed to upgrade 12 of these for 100 million euros. Under the agreement just only four aircrafts were modernized as recent Libya war interrupted the program and left one aircraft destroyed by allied bombing and two others flying to Malta. The new agreement covers the renovation of the remaining eight aircraft and their return to operating status including the pilots' training.
It's important to clarify, as reported from French Defence Minister sources, the aircraft are expected to have only reconnaissance and patrol capability, as the main priority for new Libyan authorities is now the control of its ground and maritime national borders and to prevent people, drug and arms traffic.
Libyan Airforce Expansion
Meanwhile France is seen as potential seller of 24 Mirage F1 aircraft currently in service with French Air Force, as the French are replacing them with new Rafale multirole aircrafts. So Libya could purchase the Mirage F1s as second hand aircraft and use them as a fighter class jet.
France is not the only potential supplier for the Libyan Airforce, in particular, Libya Defence Minister Osama Al-Juwaili was quoted recently that Libya is talking with the UAE about Mirage 2000-9 in service with UAE Air Force (UAEF). UAEF is a Mirage operator and in the late nineties it also bought Mirage 2000-9 variant with 20 single-seaters and 12 two-seaters aircrafts.
Now UAE are reportedly trying to sell these aircraft, as they looking for a new fighter aircraft amid a bid where offers are being arranged from the Eurofighter consortium, Dassault, Boeing and Lockheed Martin with the Typhoon, Rafale, Super Hornet and F-16 respectively.