Enmity with Turkey could provide Egypt with new fighter jets

PARIS, (BM) – In February 2015, Egypt signed Rafale’s first export contract, with an order for 24 units. And, in recent years, there has been regular talk of a new contract, more modest, with rumors of passage suggesting the purchase of 12 additional units.

Only, the negotiations came up against the American regulations ITAR [International Traffic in Arms Regulations], the SCALP cruise missiles which then interested the Egyptian air force containing components manufactured on the other side of the Atlantic. In addition, relations between Paris and Cairo took a turn for the worse, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took a pessimistic look at the remarks made by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, about human rights. Hence the rumors of a possible order for Eurofighter planes from Italy.

However, the firmness of Paris in the face of Turkish activities in the eastern Mediterranean warmed Franco-Egyptian relations. In addition, during the Skyros exercise, conducted last January by the Air & Space Army [aAE] in Egypt, photography suggested that Cairo had finally succeeded in obtaining SCALP missiles, called “Black Shaheen” for export… and these elements indicated that a new order for Rafale was once again in the pipeline.

However, according to information from AFP, Egypt is about to sign a contract for the delivery of 30 additional Rafales, for an amount of around 4 billion euros, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing opex360.

“Very advanced discussions are indeed taking place with Egypt, and we could make announcements very soon,” a French government source confirmed to the news agency. Two other contracts, concerning MBDA and Safran Electronics & Defense, are also about to be concluded.

“It is up to the customer to communicate on this type of order, but if this announcement were confirmed, it would be a great success for the French industry and employment in France”, responded Cédric Perrin, vice-president of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, requested by AFP. At this time, Dassault Aviation has not commented.

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A priori, Egypt would have obtained an 85% guaranteed loan from Paris to finance this new order.

As a reminder, and according to the latest report on arms exports submitted by the Ministry of the Armed Forces to Parliament in June 2020, Cairo ordered 7.7 billion euros of military equipment from France between 2010 and 2019. They are making it the fourth customer of the French Defense Industrial and Technological Base [BITD] during this period.

As for the Rafale, and in addition to Egypt, it has been sold to Qatar, India, and, more recently, Greece. The Dassault Aviation aircraft is also competing in tenders launched by Finland, Switzerland, and Croatia. Finally, it is the subject of particular interest in Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iraq.

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