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Following on the Indian deal, France expects Brazil will purchase Rafale fighter jets

Friday, February 3rd 2012 - 06:12 UTC
Full article 9 comments
Defence Minister Gerard Longuet hopeful of a deal with the UAE Defence Minister Gerard Longuet hopeful of a deal with the UAE

French Defence minister Gerard Longuet said that following on the deal to sell 126 Dassault Rafale fighter jets to India, Paris is hopeful it can seal a similar contract with Brazil.

“Brazilians did the right thing, first and above all they purchased submarines (from France) which is what they most needed”, pointed out Longuet adding that what is now pending is the tender for the fighters for which France and the Rafale are competing the US and Sweden.

Earlier in the day French newspaper La Tribune reported on Thursday that France would seal a long-awaited deal for Dassault to sell at least 60 Rafale fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates by April, “turning around what appeared to have been a lost cause”.

The Rafale this week appeared as the preferred bidder in a plus 15 billion dollars contest to supply India with 126 warplanes, lifting hopes for a sale that would boost French national pride and restore the lustre of its aviation sector.

La Tribune said on its website that President Nicolas Sarkozy would go to the UAE in March or early April when the contract is likely to be finalised.

The deal, potentially worth 10 billion dollars has been in the works since 2008, but was thrown into doubt in November when the world's fourth-largest oil exporter said the proposed terms were “uncompetitive and unworkable.” It asked for details of a rival aircraft, the Typhoon built by the Eurofighter consortium.

A French government source said that Paris was waiting to hear from the Emirates this month. The UAE has pressed for the aircraft's engines to be upgraded with extra thrust and for better radar, industry sources have said.

La Tribune said there were a few technical details still to be ironed out, but that they were easy to resolve. It added that as part of the deal Paris would take back the Emirates' existing Dassault-made Mirage fighters.

Speaking after the India announcement, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet hinted there could be more deals ahead.

“Good news is like worries, they fly in squadrons,” he said. ”That (deal) is the start of a squadron of good news.”

A French win in the UAE could also lead to further contracts in the Gulf Arab region which shares the West's concerns that Iran is using its nuclear energy programme to develop weapons, a charge Tehran has denied. Saudi Arabia inked a deal for U.S. arms worth nearly $60 billion a year ago.

Qatar, a close French ally, said last year it wanted to replace its fleet of Mirage fighter jets during 2012 possibly buying 24 to 36 units. Kuwait in 2010 said it was also considering buying Rafales to replace its ageing Mirage fleet.

According to analysts the Gulf countries are looking to have the same aircraft for inter-operability reasons as well as differentiating themselves from Gulf power house Saudi Arabia, which uses U.S. Boeing-built F-15s.

Categories: Politics, Brazil, International.

Top Comments

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  • DanMoura

    Indeed, our licitation have almost the same range, something about 120 fighters, 36 is just the begining, once Embraer is able to produce ir full scale we will change the whole fleet. Anyway, the air force, i mean, Embraer. has chosen the gripen, our pilots,the Super hornet and the government the rafale. Any of the competitors would be able to fulfil theirs role. Hope this contest is over soon, our old and modernized f5 tiger will be discomissioned by 2016.

    Feb 03rd, 2012 - 09:08 am 0
  • Idlehands

    I'm sure they'll be fine as long as they don't fight any wars with nations equipped with Eurofighters or the new generation of American kit.

    Feb 03rd, 2012 - 12:37 pm 0
  • zethe

    Rafale's are great jets. I fail to see why it's taken them so long to get a export deal to be honest.

    It is simply not what one is “better”. They are different. While both are able to multirole both excel at different jobs. The Rafale is a better air to ground bomber than the EF(The EU air to ground capabilitys were added in after by the RAF) while the EF was designed as an Air superiority fighter and has superior engine system, thrust, vector control and Supercruise. The Rafale can be launched off carriers, has a longer range and can fit more bombs.

    It is easy to see why India has gone for these jets and i thought they would for a while now. It makes perfect sense for a navy that plans to have two aircraft carriers for a jet that can fit literally all it's roles(Both ground and naval) without having to buy the f-35 from the US.

    In a straight up fight though, the EF would win in a 1v1 situation. Simply due to it's radar beng longer range.

    Feb 03rd, 2012 - 03:41 pm 0
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