Libya reportedly has sold its 49-jet fleet of Mirage-5 fighter aircraft to the Pakistani Air Force to be used for spare parts, according to informed sources in Libya.
The Libyan Mirage-5/D/DD/DE had been grounded for more than 10 years as a result of U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed on Libya for its role in the downing of an American jetliner in the late 1980s.
“It would have cost Libya a lot to service and refit the Mirages to make them operational,” said one source, who asked not to be named. “That’s why it made better sense to sell the jets and look for new ones in the market.”
Under the Pakistani-Libyan deal, reportedly reached in September, all Mirages will be transported to Pakistan before year’s end.
The Pakistani military declined comment on the purchase of the Libyan Mirages.
Pakistan, which operates a large about 52 Mirage-5 ground attack fighters and 70 Mirage-3s, has bought during the past decade Mirage-3 and -5 models from countries that could no longer operate them or had withdrawn them from service.
Lebanon was among the last countries to sell its fleet of 11 Mirage-3s to the Pakistanis in 2000.
Dassault, the French manufacturer of the Mirage-3 and Mirage-5, stopped producing parts for these models more than a decade ago.