French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation has delivered the first Rafale fighter jet to the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) during a ceremony at the company’s Merignac facility on Feb. 6.
The ceremony was hosted by Eric Trappier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dassault Aviation, in the presence of His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs, and Geneviève Darrieussecq, French State Secretary to the Minister of Armed Forces, and Major General Mubarak Al Khayareen, Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force.
The first Rafale delivery, on schedule, comes after the signature in May 2015 of the contract for the acquisition by the State of Qatar of 24 Rafale to equip its Air Force, and an additional 12, in December 2017, for a total of 36 aircraft to fly under the Qatari colors. If the country proceeds with the 36 additional option, its total number of Rafale jets with it will go up to 72, making it the biggest operator of Rafale fighter jets in the world after France.
In the frame of this contract, a large group of Qatari pilots as well as technicians are being trained in France both by the French Air Force and the French Industry.
The very high level of the guests attending that ceremony reflects the importance of the historic and strategic partnership between Qatar, France and Dassault Aviation, and the Rafale, following on from the Mirage F1, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000, will carry out the tradition and will contribute to secure the sovereignty of the state of Qatar.
“For the fourth time in our long and trustful partnership with Qatar, a Dassault Aviation aircraft will serve proudly in the Qatari Emiri Air Force. This first delivery is the culmination of a relationship started more than 40 years ago and I am very pleased and grateful that once again the State of Qatar, has renewed its confidence in our dedication and confirmed not once, but twice, the choice of the Rafale to protect its land and people”, declared Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation.
Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.
It is equipped with the RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and the OSF (optronique secteur frontal) infra-red search and track (IRST) system.
The Rafale carries a 30 mm GIAT 30 DEFA cannon and can be armed with SCALP EG cruise missiles, MBDA Meteor BVR air-to-air missiles and AM39 Exocet sea skimming anti-ship missiles. The ones used by French military is even capable of conducting nuclear strikes when armed with ASMP-A missiles.
The aircraft is available in three main variants: Rafale C single-seat land-based version, Rafale B twin-seat land-based version, and Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.
Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and it has been ordered by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Emiri Air Force.