Dassault Aviation has delivered the first Rafale aircraft to the Qatari Emiri Air Force during a hand-over ceremony held at its Merignac facility in France.
The delivery is part of a contract signed by Dassault with the State of Qatar in May 2015 for the acquisition of 24 Rafale to equip its airforce.
The parties entered another deal in December 2017 for a further 12 aircraft. Qatar also has an option to procure 36 additional Rafale twin-engine multirole fighter aircraft.
Qatari pilots and technicians are receiving training in France from the French Air Force and the French Industry.
Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said: “For the fourth time in our long and trustful partnership with Qatar, a Dassault Aviation aircraft will serve proudly in the Qatari Emiri Air Force.
“This first delivery is the culmination of a relationship started more than 40 years ago and I am very pleased and grateful that once again the State of Qatar, has renewed its confidence in our dedication and confirmed not once, but twice, the choice of the Rafale to protect its land and people.”
Prior to the Rafale, Qatar bought Mirage F1, Alpha Jet and Mirage 2000 fighters from Dassault.
In addition to Qatar, Dassault has received orders from India and Egypt for 36 and 24 Rafale jets respectively.
The aircraft is capable of supporting permanent ‘Quick Reaction Alert’ (QRA) / air-defence / air sovereignty missions, power projection and deployments for external missions, deep strike missions and air support for ground forces.
Rafale can be used in reconnaissance missions, pilot training sorties and nuclear deterrence duties.