Dassault Aviation has handed over the first three Rafales to the Arab Republic of Egypt at its flight test centre in Istres, France.

Earlier this year, the company received a contract from the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) to deliver 24 Rafales, including 16 two-seater and eight single-seater fighter jets.

This comes as the EAF seeks to upgrade its fleet with an advanced multirole fighter capable of meeting the country’s operational requirements.

Dassault Aviation chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said: "This contract constitutes a new milestone in the cooperation between Dassault Aviation and Egypt since the 1970s, more than 40 years of an exemplary partnership marked by commitment and mutual trust."

Prior to Rafales, Dassault has also delivered Mirage 5, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000 to Egypt.

"Egypt is the first export customer for the Rafale."

Trappier added: "After the Mirage 5, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000, the Rafale is the fourth Dassault aircraft to fly in Egyptian colors, and Egypt is the first export customer for the Rafale, as it was for the Mirage 2000."

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A group of Egyptian users trained in France by the French Air Force will fly the first three Rafales to Cairo.

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft that is equipped with a wide range of weapons.

It is used to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, and nuclear strike missions.

Image: Dassault Aviation received a contract to deliver 24 Rafales, including 16 two-seaters and eight single-seaters. Photo: courtesy of Dassault Aviation.