France's Dassault Aviation is in talks with the United Arab Emirates for a possible sale of its front line Rafale fighter aircraft. France has so far failed to secure in any foreign orders for the jet, due to competition from other models.
Reuters - Dassault Aviation is in talks with
the United Arab Emirates over a possible order for its Rafale
fighter jets, the company said on Saturday, in what would be the
first sale of the aircraft to a foreign buyer.
Newspaper Le Parisien reported earlier on Saturday that
France was finalising the sale of 60 Rafale jets in a deal worth
6-8 billion euros ($8-11 billion).
The paper said President Nicolas Sarkozy would personally
push the issue in a visit on Monday and Tuesday to Abu Dhabi.
Dassault declined to confirm the figures and said an
agreement may be reached this year.
"There are negotiations with the Emirates but it will still
take a while. We aren't close to finalising a contract in the
next few days," a spokesman for Dassault said, adding that the
talks were extremely complex.
Le Parisien said the contract under negotiation would cover
several years. Citing a source close to the negotiations, it
said the Rafale, which was developed years ago, would have to be
upgraded to convince the buyers.
Sarkozy's office said ties between the governments, the
manufacturers of the Rafale and the UAE air force had deepened
since the Gulf Arab state publicly announced its interest in the
Rafale last year.
"Things are progressing in a normal fashion," the
president's office said.
France has so far failed to find a foreign buyer for the
Rafale jet. It is France's most sophisticated combat aircraft,
combining both fighter and bomber roles, but it has lost out to
rivals offering cheaper, less high-tech models.
Date created : 2009-05-23