Dassault has closed the sale of 80 Rafale F4 fighters to the United Arab Emirates, the company announced on Friday. The agreement was announced during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the Middle East nation.
It is the largest order ever made by the Rafale fighter outside France and amounts to 14 billion euros ($15.8 billion).
The UAE has been a Dassault customer since it bought Mirage 5 and 2000 fighter jets in the past.
“The sale of 80 Rafale to the UAE Federation is a French success story: I am very proud and very happy as a result. I wish to thank the authorities of the Emirates for their renewed confidence in our aircraft. After the Mirage 5 and Mirage 2000, this Rafale contract consolidates the strategic relationship that binds our two countries and the satisfaction of the Emirates Air Force, a long-standing and demanding partner of our company,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
Dassault, through the support of the French government, has been awarded several contracts for the sale of the Rafale fighter in recent years, including agreements to transfer aircraft used by the Air Force.
Among the countries that became customers of the French fighter are Greece, Croatia, Egypt and India.
Middle Eastern nations have been ramping up defense spending recently. Qatar, which neighbors the UAE, recently received the first US-supplied F-35 fighter jets while Bahrain signed a contract to receive the F-16 Block 70.
The UAE also has a prior agreement to receive 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, however, the Biden administration has demanded commitment from the country regarding concerns about the use of 5G technology provided by China’s Huawei.