UAE orders 80 Rafale F4 to France for €16 billion

Si an order for planes Rafale was expected during Emmanuel Macron's lightning visit to the Gulf countries from December 2 to 4, very few hoped that it would reach such a volume! Indeed, the French President and his Emirati counterpart, Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, commonly known as MBZ, have this morning signed two contracts for a record amount of € 16bn relating on the one hand to the acquisition of 80 aircraft Rafale to the F4 standard for €14 billion, this including the devices but also the maintenance infrastructure, spare parts and staff training, as well as a €2 billion contract with the missile manufacturer MBDA for a stock of MICA air-to-air missiles NG and Black Shaheen cruise missiles, Emilian designation of SCALP EG already in service on the Mirage 2000-9 which equip the country's air forces. Delivery of combat aircraft will take place between 2026 and 2030, that of missiles from 2027 to 2031.

This new order for the French aircraft is exceptional in more than one way. On the one hand, this is the largest aircraft order Rafale never recorded by Dassault Aviation, including coming from France. With the 80 Rafale, the UAE will become the first international operator of this aircraft, ahead of Egypt and its 54 aircraft. In addition, this is the largest order in terms of amount ever signed by the French Defense Industry, since there is no question here of interlocking iterative contracts as was the case in Australia regarding sub-contracts. sailors, but of a firm and definitive order signed in one piece. This order is also the fourth recorded this year, after those from Greece (18 + 6 devices), Croatia (12 devices) et from Egypt (30 new devices), bringing the total of devices sold over the year for export to 146 devices, almost as many as the number of Rafale in service with the French air forces to this day.

RAfale Greece Defense News | Fighter aircraft | Military aircraft construction
Greece was the first to order the Rafale in 2021, and the first aircraft have already been delivered to the Hellenic Air Force

Above all, with this command, the Rafale, long criticized as too expensive and too complex to be exported, has become the most exported aircraft in its category, with 242 aircraft ordered and/or delivered internationally to date, compared to 150 Eurofighters. Typhoon, 105 Super Hornets and Growlers, 92 JAS 39 Gripen, 48 Su-35s and the 82 F-16 Block 70/72+ ordered to date. Only the F-35 is doing better than the French plane with more than 600 aircraft ordered, without reaching the export ratio of the Rafale with more than 1 aircraft exported per aircraft ordered (or to be ordered) by the French air forces, compared to 1 aircraft exported for 2,5 F-35s ordered (or supposed to be ordered) by the US Air Force, the US Navy and the US Marine Corps. With this command, the Rafale will have been exported to 6 countries, approaching the success of its predecessor the Mirage 2000, 270 copies of which were exported to 8 countries. Obviously, this order definitively closes the debate and controversy surrounding this device, which has proven to be a technological, industrial and commercial success.


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