Rafale Blowing Hot Again In Switzerland, U.A.E.?
Dassault has offered to adjust the Rafale package for Switzerland to reduce cost and prevent the confirmation of the Saab Gripen as that country’s new fighter. The move follows the leaking of the Swiss air force evaluation report on the competing fighters, which also included the Eurofighter. The Rafale was the clear winner of the SAF evaluation, with the Eurofighter second, but the Swiss government opted for the cheaper Gripen package. This was worth $3.4 billion and included 22 jets. The potential new French offer is $3 billion for 18 aircraft, according to reports in the Swiss media.
Meanwhile, French media outlet La Tribune reported that the long-awaited sale of 60 Rafales to the UAE may soon be concluded, despite last November’s dramatic declaration by the Emiratis at the Dubai Air Show that the price was not right. According to La Tribune, Dassault chief executive Charles Edelstenne returned to Abu Dhabi some days after the show to repair relations. There was a positive outcome, and now French President Sarkozy is standing by to visit the UAE at the end of March to seal the deal, La Tribune continued.