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Dassault Scores the Biggest International Contract in French Military Aeronautics History

You win some, you lose some – this is certainly true for France’s top aeronautics company, Dassault Aviation. After infamously having retired from the competition for Canada’s future fighter jet fleet a few years ago, signaling a bias towards American manufacturers, Dassault has now made a spectacular comeback.
UAE and France signed a contract for 80 Rafale F4 aircraft, making it the biggest purchase in French military aeronautics history 11 photos
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It’s official – the first armed forces to deploy the Rafale F4 outside France are the United Arab Emirates Air Force & Air Defense (UAE AF & AD). What Dassault calls “a historical contract” was signed in the presence of Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic, and Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. A total of 80 Rafale F4 will be delivered to the UAE AF, making this the largest contract ever signed in the military aeronautics industry of France.

This agreement will have a huge beneficial impact on the country’s industry, considering that no less than 400 smaller and bigger companies are connected to the Rafale production process. On the other hand, this also consolidates Dassault’s position in the industry, as the main contractor for both military and civilian aircraft, over the past 70 years.

This new collaboration between France and the UAE Federation is certainly not new. In fact, it comes as a culmination of their 45-year-long strategic connection, based on several fighter jet versions from the Mirage family. The Rafale, which entered service with the French Navy and the French Air Force in 2004 and 2006, respectively, is a big step forward in terms of performance and capabilities.

The Rafale airframe integrates innovative composite materials, which increase the maximum take-off weight to empty weight ratio by 40%, compared to conventional aluminum and titanium airframes. It’s powered by the new-generation M88-2 turbofan engine, which offers a high thrust-to-weight ratio while also being easier to maintain, and it features an advanced digital flight control system that claims to provide the highest level of the flight system.

A versatile, multi-role fighter jet, the Rafale is just as effective for air defense as it is for reconnaissance and nuclear deterrence.

press release

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