2021 will have been, without the slightest doubt, the year of the Rafale , with 188 aircraft ordered for export by Greece (18+6 units), Croatia (12 aircraft), Egypt (30 aircraft), the UAE (80 aircraft) and Indonesia (42 aircraft), these being added to the 96 Rafale previously ordered by Egypt (24 aircraft), Qatar (24+12 aircraft) and India (36 aircraft) . In doing so, the flagship of Dassault Aviation and the entire French aeronautical industry, is approaching the export scores of its predecessor, the Mirage 2000 with 284 aircraft ordered by 7 countries, compared to 298 aircraft ordered by 8 countries for the 2000. However, the French aircraft manufacturer does not intend to stop there, in particular by participating in the two major Indian competitions, the MMRCA 2 competition for 114 (or 57 ) combat aircraft intended for the Indian Air Force, and that to equip the aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy covering 57 aircraft. In both cases, it seems that the Rafale is well positioned, if not favorite of the competition, at least according to the Indian press. At the same time, other customers of the French aircraft are considering expanding their fleet, such as Greece, which is aiming to create a second squadron by the end of the decade, or Egypt, which is considering carrying its fleet has 80 devices .
Beyond its existing customers towards whom Dassault Aviation continues its efforts, the French aircraft manufacturer and Team Rafale which also brings together Thales, Safran and MBDA as well as several hundred subcontractors, continue to work alongside the plenipotentiary services of the State, and with the support of the DGA, to expand this customer base, even if, probably scalded by the Swiss episode, they now remain even more discreet than usual. Although discussions are underway with several countries, including Malaysia, Bangladesh and even Saudi Arabia, 3 prospects stand out from the pack, to now be, if not close to an order, at least close to a decision : Iraq, Serbia and Colombia; so that after having equaled the export scores of the mirage 2000, the Rafale could well, in the end, approach and perhaps even exceed the 470 aircraft exported to 10 countries of the Mirage F1, without however hoping to catch up with the absolute record of the Mirage III/V, 950 examples exported to 17 initial customers. But it was another time...
Negotiations with the Iraqi authorities have been underway for several years, with the objective for Baghdad to reconnect with its former military partners, such as Russia and France, and to reduce Iraqi dependence on the US defense industry and control. imposed by Washington. According to information gleaned from both sides from specialized journalists, Paris and Baghdad are in fact negotiating the sale of 14 Rafale to the F4 standard , but also 12 H225M Caracal maneuvering helicopters and French artillery systems ( probably CAESAR), in an economic model allowing the Iraqi authorities to pay France directly in hydrocarbons. Iraqi statements surrounding these negotiations should be taken with caution, particularly with announced prices inconsistent with the market price of the Rafale , even second-hand. However, during the opening speech of the Eurosatory 2022 show, President Emmanuel Macron cited Iraq, at the top of his list, when he listed the customers of the French defense industry, which leaves assume that significant progress has indeed been made in this matter, and that an official announcement is now close.
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