The State of Qatar last week confirmed an order for 24 Rafale aircraft from French manufacturer Dassault Aviation at a signing ceremony in Doha.
The ceremony was attended by company officials and dignitaries including the French President, François Hollande, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Defense minister, Eric Trappier, the CEO of Dassault Aviation and Cheikh Tamim Ben Hamad, Emir of the State of Qatar.
According to reports, the deal could be worth as much as €6.3 ($7bn, £4.5bn) and will also include the supply of MBDA missiles, along with training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French army.
Dassault Aviation’s primary partners for the Rafale are Thales and Safran, but in total close to 500 companies contribute to the construction of the jets. Dassault said it and its partners were delighted at the announcement of the new contract and said it further proved its ‘competitiveness’ and its ‘industrial and technological know-how’.
Thales provides equipment accounting for around 25% of the total value of the Rafale. The company equips the Rafale with its technological systems including the European combat radar. In a statement, CEO of Thales, Patrice Caine said: “Thales wishes to thank the Qatari authorities of this renewed confidence.”
The Qatari order is Dassault Aviation’s third export order for the Rafale aircraft since the beginning of the year with Egypt having purchased 24 jets in February, and India having committed to buy 36 in April.
For the Indian contract, Dassault Aviation and France have committed to allocate 50% of the contract value (approximately $4bn) as investments in the Indian defence and aerospace sector. Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Rafale jet project will “unleash Make-in-India“.
The Rafale is a delta-wing multi-role jet fighter designed to conduct air-to-air combat, reconnaissance flights and bombing missions. It is powered by two Safran Snecma M88 engines and is planned to be the French Air Force’s primary combat aircraft until 2040 or later.