In what can only be described as a fantastic success for French diplomacy, Egypt will buy 24 Dassault Rafale 5th generation multi-role fighter jets plus a multi-mission frigate from France. The deal was confirmed on Thursday 12 February 2015 by French president François Hollande.
“The Egyptian authorities just let me know of their intention to acquire 24 Rafale combat aircraft (…),” the French president said. “This equipment will allow Egypt to increase its security and to play its role in the service of regional stability.”
The deal is worth about 5 billion dollars, with the signing of the documents planned for 16 February in the Egyptian capital of Cairo. With the deal there is finally an opening for more sales for the jet, that had scored well during air operations over Libya in 2011 that lead to the toppling and death of the then long-sitting dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The Rafale is also said to score the highest points during the evaluation of a new fighter aircraft for the Swiss Air Force. A deal that looked as it would go to Saab for political and financial reasons and was subsequently shot down by the Swiss people in a referendum. Currently France has deployed nine Rafales to fight the so-called Islamic State force (ISIS / ISIL / Daech) in Iraq.
Indian Air Force
The Rafale was launched in 1998 as France’s next-generation combat jet. The French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) and French Naval Aviation (Aeronautique Navale) already have 137 on strength, with 42 more coming. The planes are being produced at a rate of 11 aircraft per year, but Dassault is hoping to win a giant Indian Air Force order for another 126 aircraft. The Indian process has been stormy, to say the least, but the Egyptian buy of the Rafale went quite smooth.
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force is a long-standing customer for French military aircraft. The Al-Qūwāt al-Gawwīyä al-Miṣrīyä flies about 18 Mirage 2000s and between 70 and 82 Mirage Vs, as well as 55 to 65 Alpha Jet advanced trainers and light attack aircraft.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top) French Air Force Rafales with Reco NG pod operate out of the UAE to map rebel forces in Iraq (Image © Armée de l’Air)
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