According to Reuters, a billion-dollar arms deal was announced by United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials during a recent visit to France.
According to Reuters, a billion-dollar arms deal was announced by United Arab Emirates (UAE) officials during a recent visit to France. In addition to the contract to buy 80 multi-purpose Rafale fighters worth not less than 15 billion USD, the UAE also agreed to buy 12 Caracal transport helicopters and accompanying equipment from France. The total value of this contract package is about 19.2 billion USD.
The office of French President Emmanuel Macron said that this is the result of a strategic partnership between the two countries, strengthening the ability to act together for security and autonomy. This can be considered the largest arms export contract ever of France. They offer a shot in the arm for France’s defense industry after the collapse of a $66 billion contract for Australia to buy 12 French submarines.
The UAE and France have been negotiating the Rafale for more than 10 years. The first aircraft are expected to be delivered to the UAE from 2027, to replace the fleet of 60 Mirage 2000 fighters also made by France. They will operate simultaneously with 50 F-35 stealth fighters ordered from the US in a contract worth nearly $ 23.4 billion approved by the administration of President Joe Biden in the middle of this year.
The Dassault Rafale is a twin-engine multirole jet fighter armed with a variety of high-precision weapons. Rafale can perform diverse missions such as air superiority, long-range interception, reconnaissance, ground support, deep strike in enemy territory, anti-ship and nuclear deterrence.
Rafale’s central avionics uses modular integration technology, which helps control all key features of the fighter such as flight control, data fusion, weapon guidance, and communication between the fighters. The value of electronic systems accounts for up to 30% of manufacturing costs.
In total, more than 200 Rafale fighters were produced, each costing about 100 million dollars, not to mention the weapons systems and maintenance costs. Five countries already operate this fighter line, including France, Egypt, India, Qatar and Greece, while Croatia has ordered 12 used Rafale from France and is expected to receive it from 2023.
France has particularly deep ties to the UAE, a federation of seven sheikdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. France has a naval base there and French military aircraft and personnel also are stationed in a major facility outside the Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi. With this new arms deal, the UAE will be a formidable force in the region.