New international success for the Rafale.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) sign a giant contract for the acquisition of 80 French combat aircraft.
This is a firm order, the largest ever signed by Dassault Aviation *, the manufacturer of the flagship of French combat aviation.
This signing took place this Friday morning, during the first stage, in the UAE, of Emmanuel Macron's regional tour in the Gulf.
The President of the Republic must then go to Qatar, also a client of the Rafale, and to Saudi Arabia.
It is in the presence of Emmanuel Macron and Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and vice-commander of the UAE armed forces that Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, signed with Tareq Abdul Raheem Al Hosani, CEO of Tawazun Economic Council, in charge of security and defense acquisitions, this historic contract.
A second contract was also signed with the European missile company MBDA, which concerns the acquisition by the UAE of weapons that will equip the 80 Rafale.
"A French success"
The sale of 80 Rafale to the UAE Federation is a French success: I am very proud and very happy. I want to thank the UAE authorities for renewing their confidence in our planes,
”said Eric Trappier. “
After the Mirage 5 and the Mirage 2000, this Rafale contract confirms the strategic relationship that unites our two countries and the satisfaction of the United Arab Emirates Air Force, a long-standing and demanding partner of our society. I would like to underline the quality and the effectiveness of the relations between the French authorities and the industry, which also allowed this success of the France team.
This Gulf country has been a loyal customer of France since the early 1970s. UAE pilots are familiar with the world of Dassault aircraft.
The first Rafale will be delivered from 2027 until 2031. The Emirates are in fact buying Rafale with the new F4 standard, the most modern and the most advanced, which is being developed with a view to gradual entry into service. , within the French forces, over several years from 2023. In the meantime, the UAE, which is also equipped with some 80 American F16 fighters, will continue to use their sixty Mirage 2000-9s.
Increase in production rates
With this new contract, sales of the Rafale cross the milestone of 400 units (428 to be precise), including 192 for France and 236 internationally. Its export rate reached 55%, ie a score comparable to the Mirage 2000. But that much faster since the Rafale achieved this international breakthrough in just six years. The UAE has become the sixth member of the “Club Rafale export”, since the first order signed by Egypt in 2015. Abu Dhabi joins Egypt, Qatar, India, Greece and Croatia in this club. .
The UAE will eventually be at the head of the largest Rafale fleet, behind France which still has to increase its sails.
In 2023, the Ministry of the Armed Forces has in fact planned to sign a new order, called tranche 5, for 42 additional Rafale, delivered from 2027.
This order is good news for Dassault Aviation, as well as its major partners, Thales, the electronics engineer for the Rafale, and Safran, its engine manufacturer, as well as the 400 companies of all sizes that work, with their 7,000 employees, who work on the Rafale program.
Dassault Aviation will indeed initiate an increase in production in order to go from 1 to 2 Rafale products per month, in the coming weeks.
Doubling the pace will lead to an increase in the number of staff involved in the program.
A mature and "combat proven" aircraft
Especially since “the Rafale Team” does not intend to stop there.
The French plane is at the start of its international career.
India, which has already bought 36 aircraft (they are in the process of being delivered), has greater needs, estimated at some 110 aircraft for its air force and 57 for its Navy.
Dassault Aviation stands ready to respond as soon as the decision has been taken by New Dehli.
For its part, Indonesia has expressed its interest in purchasing 36 Rafale.
An official decision is expected in 2022. In Europe, Finland where the Rafale is competing, must also make its choice next year.
The Rafale's success can be explained by its modernity, the quality of its equipment, its versatility - it is multi-mission in the air and from an aircraft carrier - as well as its ability to evolve from one standard to another.
He is mature and “combat proven” after having been engaged in several theaters of operations in Africa and the Levant.
* The Dassault group owns the Figaro