UAE Rafale Order on Final

 - June 19, 2009, 11:26 AM

Technical negotiations with the United Arab Emirates for what will be the first export sale of the Dassault Aviation Rafale combat jet, are almost complete. But commercial and government talks continue, so a formal announcement is probably still some months away. Deliveries are unlikely before 2013. At the Paris Air Show, Dassault displayed two scale models of the Rafale with weapons configurations that are unique to the UAE. One of them showed three of that country’s Hakim precision-guided bombs, plus large external fuel tanks and Magic air-to-air missiles. The other showed three MBDA Scalp cruise missiles, also with large tanks and Magic AAMs. This latter configuration is said to be quite heavy, and is the reason the UAE contract will provide funds for an uprated version of the Rafale’s Snecma M-88 turbofans. This engine upgrade is not required by the French Air Force. Export prospects for the French jet are improving elsewhere, notably in Brazil and Switzerland, where competitions to select a new fighter are ongoing. Kuwait has also expressed public interest in the Rafale.