PARIS --- Egypt and Qatar could convert their options on additional Rafale fighters by the end of the year, and add 24 additional aircraft to Dassault Aviation’s order book, according to the LaTribune financial website.
Both countries have options for 12 Rafales in addition to the 24 aircraft they both have ordered.
Egypt has been lobbying for several months to obtain the same favorable financial package it obtained for the original order, but French Treasury opposition to extending further unsecured credit to Egypt was blocking the transaction.
Dassault CEO Eric Trappier recently visited Doha with a formal offer covering the additional batch of 12 Rafale. Qatar’s option was due to expire, and Qatar asked for the option to be extended, La Tribune reported today, so a quick signature looks plausible. La Tribune reported it could be signed as early as December 7, when French President Emmanuel Macron is due to make an official visit to Doha.
The original contract with Qatar, and worth €6.3 billion including a very large weapon package, was signed in May 2015 and covered six Rafale two-seaters and 18 single-seaters.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi asked Macron in September to overrule the French Treasury’s veto on the sale of 12 additional Rafale, and La Tribune reported Nov 16 that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Cairo to tell al-Sissi his request had been approved, and that an Egyptian delegation is currently in France for the deal’s final negotiations. La Tribune, quoting several unidentified sources, said the contract could be concluded “in the coming weeks.”
Egypt in the past two years has ordered €6.8 billions’ worth of French military equipment, including the first 24 Rafales, a military communications satellite, four Gowind corvettes, one FREMM frigate and two Mistral-class amphibious warfare ships.