Dassault to export Rafale fighters to Egyptian Air Force
Dassault Aviation has been selected by the Egyptian Government to supply Rafale multi-role combat aircraft to the national air force.
French President Francois Hollande said in a statement: "The Rafale fighter jet has won its first export contract.
"The signing will take place in Cairo on February 16. I have asked the defence minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to sign on behalf of France."
Valued at more than €5bn, the contract covers the supply of a total of 24 Rafale fighters, a Fremm multipurpose frigate, as well as undisclosed number of MBDA air-to-air missiles to the Egyptian Air Force.
Hollande was quoted by The New York Times as saying that Egypt was looking to buy 'aircraft quickly, due to the threats that it faces.'
"I believe that, given the current context, it's very important that Egypt is able to act to uphold stability and to be in security, not only stability on its own territory, but stability in the region."
Powered by two SNECMA M88 engines, the Rafale is a delta-wing multi-role jet fighter designed to conduct air-to-air combat, reconnaissance flights and nuclear bombing missions and can also carry anti-ship, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.
Representing the first aircraft to operate from a land base and an aircraft carrier, the aircraft can also attack land and naval targets and provide close air support to ground troops.
The aircraft entered service with the French Navy and Air Force in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and has also been selected for the Indian Air Force's medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) project that covers supply of 126 aircraft.
Dassault has been attempting to export the plane, which has been deployed for operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, and in Iraq, for more than a decade.
In addition, the company is in talks with Qatar to supply the fighters to its air force, as reported by Reuters.
Image: Dassault will supply 24 Rafale multi-role fighters to the Egyptian Air Force. Photo: courtesy of A. Jeuland © Armée de l'air.