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Mercenaries could pilot Mirage jets provided to Ukraine, says French analyst

"If it is a Ukrainian pilot with limited flight experience, it will be their weak point," Cyril de Lattre noted

MOSCOW, June 11. /TASS/. Mercenaries might be the ones flying the Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets France is going to provide Kiev with, as training Ukrainian pilots will not get the job done, French aviation expert Cyril de Lattre told TASS.

"Nothing will change if Ukrainians pilot [the fighter jets], but skilled foreign pilots on board may complicate things. <…> I absolutely do not rule out that mercenaries may pilot [Mirage fighters] as it might have been the case with F-16s," said de Lattre, who also specializes in geopolitics and strategy.

He said the enemy should not be underestimated. "These are very good fighter jets, and the air-to-air weapons they are equipped with are quite good, too, but everything depends on the pilot," he explained. "If it is a Ukrainian pilot with limited flight experience, it will be their weak point. And if mercenaries or Frenchmen in Ukrainian uniform, officially not in military service, pilot these aircraft, it will make the situation worse as they will be capable of using tactical warfare on the fighter jet across the board," he added.

On June 6, French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to approve the transfer of Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets to Kiev. He said the training of pilots would take five to six months and that the jets could start arriving later this year.

The Mirage 2000 fighter was developed by Dassault Aviation and it has been in service with the French Air Force since 1984. The Mirage 2000-5 modification appeared in 1999 and featured improved radar to track multiple targets. These aircraft are primarily used to intercept targets at high altitudes and supersonic speeds. Later, several versions of this fighter aircraft were developed to perform attacks on ground-based targets.