Opinion: Dassault’s First Rafale Export Order Underscores France’s Patience
Decades have elapsed between Rafale leaving the drawing board and landing a foreign sale.
Egypt will take delivery of 3-5in the next few months after recently signing a contract for 24 aircraft—marking an unusually rapid sequence of events. Egypt has long been considered a potential customer but such haste between signing and delivery is unheard of, even considering the hostile geopolitical tensions in the region. However, Cairo’s military wants to flex muscles by putting up-to-date combat aircraft into service as soon as possible.
Despite assertions by the French media, there were no secret agreements behind the sale. Egypt historically has split its military procurement between French and U.S. manufacturers. To some extent, this was Europe’s turn and the Rafale seems to be a wise choice. Moreover,and the DGA French procurement agency were poised to act promptly. In the absence of any export orders more than 15 years after the Rafale’s service entry with the French air force and navy, France was ready to offer some concessions, but not on price; evidently no technology transfer agreement seems to be involved. The rapidly negotiated agreement came about for more complex reasons. After years of trying to snare a foreign buyer, the Rafale has finally accomplished that aim.