Egypt to Become Biggest International Customer of Rafale Jets

  • Our Bureau
  • 10:02 AM, May 4, 2021
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Egypt to Become Biggest International Customer of Rafale Jets
Egyptian Rafale jet @Dassault Aviation

Egypt will add 30 more jets to its 24-strong Rafale fleet for reportedly for $4.5 billion, making it the biggest buyer of the French aircraft, overtaking India and Qatar.

On May 4, the Egyptian Defense Ministry said it signed an agreement with France for 30 Rafales. The contract is financed through a financing loan of a minimum duration of 10 years. According to reports, the accord covers contracts for MBDA and Safran valued additional $240 million.

“This new order is proof of the unfailing bond that unites Egypt, the first foreign user of the Rafale, as it was for the Mirage 2000, with Dassault Aviation for nearly 50 years. It is also a tribute to the Rafale’s operational quality, as this is the second time an export customer has chosen to order additional aircraft. Dassault Aviation and its partners would like to thank the Egyptian authorities for this new mark of trust and assure them of their total commitment to meeting their expectations once again,” stated Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

Cairo signed its first Rafale deal for $5.9 billion in February 2015. This contract was for 24 (8 single-seat, 16 two-seat) Rafales, Meteor and Scalp missiles, as well as a FREMM multipurpose frigate. The deal was financed up to 50% by a consortium of French banks.

India purchased 36 off-the-shelf Rafales for nearly $8 billion in 2016. This contract included an option for 18 more jets. Until now, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has inducted 15 Rafales and the remaining jets are scheduled to be delivered to the service by the end of 2022.

Each of these IAF jets that come with a price tag of around $200 million each have a combat range of 780-1650km without mid-air refueling. They come armed with weapons such as 300km-range Scalp air-to-ground cruise missiles, Meteor air-to-air missiles with strike range of 120-150km, and Hammer air-to-ground precision-guided munitions with strike range of 20-70km.

The Egyptian deal comes just four months after Greece confirmed a $3.01 billion contract for 18 Rafales.

Qatar bought 24 Rafales with an option to buy 12 more for $7 billion six years ago. The contract included the provision of long-range cruise missiles and Meteor missiles as well as the training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French military and several Qatari intelligence officers; thus, the price can be viewed as $270 million for each aircraft. In late 2017, the option for 12 more Rafales was exercised for $1.3 billion (or $110 million each) while adding an additional option for 36 further fighters.

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