After struggling for many years to sell its advanced Rafale fighter jets, French defence group Dassault has finally scored several lucrative deals.
Egypt became the first country as a buyer, ordering 24 planes in February. South Asian country, India followed suit with 36 fighter jets last month in April.
On Monday, oil rich Qatar will sign a deal for 24 jets. The ceremony which is to be held in Doha, will be attended by President Francois Hollande.
France may soon strike another deal and celebrating again as negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) appear to be moving in the “right direction”, according to Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
“For a long time, there were doubts about this Rafale,” Hollande admitted last week when the Qatar deal was announced, before applauding the deal as “good news” for the country.
industry experts are of the view that aside from the fighter jets’ proven successes in combat zones like: Afghanistan, Libya or Iraq, French policy in the Middle East has played a vital role in securing the sales.
“It’s more specific to the Gulf countries which appreciate France’s coherence” in its foreign policy, said Bruno Tertrais of the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research think tank.
It won’t be wrong to say that the first foreign order by Egypt acted as a catalyst, after multiple failed bids to sell the Rafale to South Korea, Singapore, Morocco, Switzerland and Brazil.
Dassult Rafale is a plane which had its first flight on 4 July 1986. It was introduced in French Air Force on 18 May 2001. French Air Force and French Navy remain primary users of this aircraft.