A new export success for the flagship of French defense aeronautics. Egypt will order 30 additional Rafale fighter jets, a source familiar with the matter told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday (May 3rd), confirming information from the online investigative media. Disclose. A big customer of the French arms industry, Egypt was the first foreign country to buy Rafale – 24 planes – in 2015.
The aircraft manufacturer Dassault did not wish to comment on this information immediately. A French government source, for his part, mentioned “Very advanced discussions [qui] indeed take place with Egypt ”. “Announcements could be made very soon”, said the same source to AFP.
A contract worth 3.95 billion euros
According to details disclosed by Disclose, France and Egypt signed, on April 26, a contract worth a total of 3.95 billion euros, including the sale of 30 Rafale fighter jets as well as two other contracts for the benefit of the missile MBDA and of Safran Electronics & Defense. An Egyptian delegation was to initial the agreement in Paris on Tuesday.
“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 for employment in France”, reacted Monday Cédric Perrin, vice-president of the committee of foreign affairs, defense and the armed forces in the Senate.
This sale will confirm the late but real export success of the French combat aircraft. Ordered by Egypt, then Qatar (36 planes) and India (36 planes also) – a sale in 2016, on which weigh heavy suspicions of corruption -, it was sold in January to Greece in 18 copies , including 12 used. And the next few months could be good, hopes Dassault Aviation: the Rafale is in competition in Switzerland, Finland and Croatia.
According to Disclose, which cites Egyptian government documents detailing the terms of the contract, Egypt has obtained a loan guaranteed by France up to 85% to finance these purchases, causing French taxpayers to default on payment.
Despite Paris’ stated desire to refocus its arms exports to Europe, Egypt is one of the main recipients of French military equipment. If exports represented only a few tens of millions of euros at the beginning of the 2010s, they increased considerably with the coming to power of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in 2014, mainly between 2014 and 2016 thanks to the sale of Rafale, a frigate, 4 corvettes and 2 Mistral helicopter carriers.
In total, Egyptian imports of French armaments amounted to 7.7 billion euros between 2010 and 2019, making Cairo the fourth client country of France in terms of armaments, according to the annual report to Parliament.
But the concern expressed by the French President, Emmanuel Macron, over the human rights situation in Egypt, during a joint press conference with his counterpart in January 2019, had affected the good relations between France and the ‘Egypt. The latter had not since concluded a new contract, observed in November the deputy Jacques Maire in a report on the control of arms exports.
A recent sign of warming, President Sissi was received in December 2020 by Emmanuel Macron, who awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, the highest French honorary distinction.