On 16th February in Cairo, a historic agreement between Dassault Aviation and Egypt for the first export sale of the French Rafale was signed by the French Defense Minister, the aircraft manufacturer’s CEO, and an official in charge of the Egyptian airforce’s military equipment. The Egyptian Air Force will possess a total of 24 combat aircraft by spring 2019. Estimated contract value: 3.5 billion euros.
The 24 Rafale’s, destined for Egypt (16 twin-seaters and 8 single-seaters), will all be produced on Dassault’s production line in Merignac, near Bordeaux, France. Bearing in mind that it requires three years to construct a Rafale, Egypt should receive three aircraft initially destined for France by July, followed by three others in 2016, and the remaining eighteen within five years. The training of the Egyptian pilots is due to begin shortly, at Istres (southern France) with the aim that the first become operational from August this year.
The Egyptian Rafale’s will be equipped to French standards with MBDA produced air-to-air & cruise missiles (MICA & SCALP), Sagem air-to-ground GPS guided bombs (AASM), together with a Lacroix decoy system designed to protect the combat aircraft itself, although notably, without NATO communication systems, since Egypt is not a member of the organisation.
After six failed attempts (to Brazil, South Korea, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore and Switzerland) at exporting the Rafale since it was put into service in 2004, Dassault Aviation now hopes that this Egyptian contract will lead to others. To date, the Rafale has 204 firm orders.