Two tooled up Armée de l'Air Rafales during 2014 operations over Iraq. (Image © Armée de l'Air)

‘Qatar Rafale deal in December’

Qatar and Dassault are said to be closing in on deal for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft. According to the French paper La Tribune on Tuesday 25 November, a deal should  be signed before the end of the year, with even the set date of 15 December doing the rounds. It would mean a major breakthrough for Dassault, which desperately seeking to export its Rafale.

Qatar is looking to replace 12 Mirage 2000 jets with a new type, and has been window shopping for years. Negotiations have now apparently reached the stage where payment details are being discussed. If things don’t work out, a last minute’s visit to Qatar by French president Francois Hollande could be on the cards.

The Rafale has so far only been bought by the French government. A total of 180 aircraft are on order for the Armée de l’Air and Marine Nationale. About 140 have been delivered, with the fleet having flown well over 120,000 flight hours.

India selected the Rafale earlier, but is hesitant to finally place an order. A success in Qatar would bring a sigh of relief to Dassault.

© 2014 editor Elmer van Hest

GBU-12 loaded French Rafales on their way to the target, image likely taken from the C135FR tanker that refuelled them (Image © Armée de l'Air)
Two tooled up Armée de l’Air Rafales during recent operations over Iraq. (Image © Armée de l’Air)