France says UAE arms deal secures supply chain, jobs – .

France says UAE arms deal secures supply chain, jobs – .

PARIS, Dec. 3 (Reuters) – A € 17 billion ($ 19.23 billion) French arms deal with the United Arab Emirates will secure the industrial supply chain of the French Rafale fighter jet for the next decade and will directly support 7,000 national jobs, according to a French defense official said.

The deal, sealed on Friday, includes the largest ever overseas sale of the French warplane. This brings the number of new and used Rafales sold for export to 236 and will trigger an increase in production of the warplane, the official told reporters.

The sale strengthens existing security ties between France and the United Arab Emirates at a time when diplomats say U.S. allies in the Middle East are increasingly questioning U.S. engagement in the region following its exit from Afghanistan. Read more

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The French official said the contract demonstrated the appetite of several nations to “diversify their security”.

The agreement covers 14 billion euros for 80 Rafale fighters from Dassault Aviation, 2 billion for air-to-air and cruise missiles supplied by the European consortium MBDA (AIR.PA), (BAES.L), (LDOF. MI) and 1 billion for 12 Airbus H225M Caracal helicopters, the official said.

The sale is for the latest F-4 Rafale standard under development for the French Air Force, which aims to increase connectivity and identification of shared targets between jets, such as the Lockheed Martin American F-35 (LMT.N).

Defense sources said the Rafale will replace a fleet of Dassault Mirage 2000 aircraft already deployed in the UAE and that it is unlikely to replace an F-35 order as the UAE continues to cover their security between two main providers.

However, the deal is widely seen as a sign of impatience as the US Congress hesitates to approve an F-35 deal amid concerns over the UAE’s relationship with China, including the prevalence of Huawei. [RIC:RIC:HWT.UL] 5G technology in the country.

The French official said the agreement did not provide for the buyout of the Mirage 2000s or the making of industrial compensation investments.

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Reporting by Tim Hepher, John Irish; Written by Benoit Van Overstraeten, Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudio Kar-Gupta and Susan Fenton

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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