Saturday, February 28, 2015

Egypt Is The First Buyer of French Rafale and the Second of FREMM Frigate

Egypt has agreed to buy 24 Rafale fighter aircraft from France, ending the French quest to find the first export customer for the Rafale which had its first flight all the way back in 1986.

Prior to this, France had lost in several countries against fighter aircraft from other countries, such as the F-16, Typhoon and the Gripen. This includes countries such as Morocco and Brazil where it had initially been considered the favorite to win, but in the end lost out to someone else.

Ironically, Egypt also happens to be the first export destination of the Mirage 2000, the predecessor of the Rafale. There are still about 18 Mirage 2000 in service with the Egyptian Air Force.

In the near future, France is looking at additional customers for the Rafale in Qatar and India, both of which have operated the Mirage 2000. Other countries where the Rafale is hoping to secure a contract in the more distant future is Malaysia.

Egypt also becomes the second customer of the French-Italian FREMM frigate after Morocco, which, like Egypt, ordered a single ship in 2008. This ship was delivered to Morocco in 2014 and is more similar to the French version of the FREMM than the Italian version.

Besides Morocco, France has two FREMM frigates and Italy has another four frigates. In all, Egypt has spent over 5 billion euros on new acquisitions. France is expected to provide loans to Egypt to help cover the purchases.

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