BRUSSELS --- Mr. Éric Trappier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Aviation, today signed on behalf of the GIE Rafale International, 13 cooperation agreements with Belgian manufacturers as part of the proposed Franco-Belgian strategic partnership on combat aircraft.
These agreements, in addition to those already signed, bring to more than 30 the number of contractual documents with Belgian industry, covering a wide range of areas ranging from the maintenance of the Rafale combat aircraft to aeronautical engineering training, including participation in drone projects, production line automation, additive manufacturing, predictive maintenance, simulation, advanced materials research and Smart City projects
During the signing ceremony that brought together the leaders of more than a dozen companies including, Sabca, Safran Aero Booster, Thales Belgium, Asco, Esterline, Flying Group, DronePort, ie-net, JDC Innovation, AKKA Belgium , Amia Systems, Ilias and Alt-F1, Éric Trappier explained that these agreements would be followed by dozens of other similar agreements in order to achieve the objectives that the French aerospace industry has set for industrial and societal returns related to the offer for the replacement Belgium’s F 16 fighter aircraft.
In front of the representatives of the big Belgian industrial associations (Agoria, Flag, BSDI, Ewa, Bag), the President of Dassault Aviation restated the main lines of this commitment:
-- the identification of 100 new and structuring cooperation projects involving start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises, industrial groups, the academic world and local authorities;
-- the creation, in cooperation with the inter-municipal authorities, of "Smart City" initiatives and projects focusing on urban and inter-urban development;
-- the creation of two research centers in Flanders in the field of additive manufacturing and the Human Machine Interface, and in Wallonia in the field of numerical simulation and advanced materials;
-- the creation in Brussels of a center of innovation in the field of predictive maintenance;
-- the creation in Flanders of a RAFALE maintenance center (MRO) around an industrial consortium;
-- the creation in Wallonia of an industrial excellence center on image analysis and processing and a cyber security industrial excellence center.
In addition to the 800 million Euros of current annual orders to Belgium that would be extended for at least 20 years in the event Belgium acquired 34 Rafale, Dassault Aviation, Thales and Safran are committed to valuing economic and societal returns at least 100% of Belgium's investment in the F-16 replacement program.
Thus, the overall objective of Dassault Aviation and its partners is now an industrial and societal return for Belgium, valued at least at € 20 billion over 20 years. The breakdown takes into account the economic weight of the Belgian regions. In total, more than 5,000 high-tech jobs would be supported.
"These commitments are intended to consolidate and formalize, in coherence with inter-governmental discussions on the construction of a strategic Franco-Belgian partnership on combat aviation, and in particular, the replacement of the F-16 of the Component Air of the Belgian Army by Rafale. This approach fits unambiguously into the framework of building a Europe of Defense and its strategic autonomy. Our determination to fulfill our objectives in terms of economic and societal partnerships in high-technology areas is to offer a sustainable solution to Belgium," said Eric Trappier.
Rafale International is a G.I.E (Economic Interest Group) formed by Dassault Aviation, Safran Aircraft Engines and Thales to promote the Rafale fighter jet to international customers. With more than 140,000 employees and an annual turnover of more than € 30 billion, the three partners are major players in the fields of aeronautics and defense.