Egypt to Receive its First Rafale Fighters

Egypt should receive its first three Rafale fighters later this month, before the 5th of August, day of the refurbishment of the Suez Canal, where a military parade is scheduled for this event. Egypt insisted to get the fighters before August and this term was very clear in the contract signed by Jean-Yves le Drian and General Sedki Sobhi, respectively Defence’s Minister of France and Egypt, on the 16th of February 2015. For the First time, three Egyptian Rafale are expected to fly during the military parade.

In order to reach the Egyptian expectations, the French Army accepted to deliver three of its Rafales, already under construction by Dassault Aviation, to the Egyptian Army. That’s why, the French company removed the tactical and sensitive material as nuclear armament and some software.

Simultaneously, Egyptian pilots and mechanics arrived to the military bases 118 and 113 in France, to get the proper training on how to use the French fighters.

The sale of the French Rafale to an Arab country shows a turn in the contracts of armament, especially that the United States was the main supplier of Egypt. The relation between the two countries was then strained since the President Abdel Fattah al Sissi came to power. Considered by the Obama’s Presidency as a “coup d’état”, the US military aid was suspended for a while. This change of relation between the United States and Egypt was one of the reasons of Egypt’s choice to pick a French equipment, which represents a serious alternative to the American policy.

Egypt ordered 24 Rafales, among which 16 two-seaters and 8 one-man, for a contract of $ 5.3 billion including a FREMM Frigate, the “Tahya Misr” by DCNS delivered the 24th June 2015, and AASM missiles by Sagem whose deliveries are scheduled at the end of 2016. The missile will complete the armament of Egyptian’s aircrafts and will provide, with its large operational range, an important advantage to hit moving targets with an impressive precision for all weather, day and night.

Pierre Kfouri

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