The Qatar Armed Forces and Dassault Aviation signed an agreement on future cooperation and the exercise of an option for 12 additional Rafale fighter jets.
The signing seremony was done in the presence of Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar.
This new order follows on from the contract signed on 4 May 2015 between the State of Qatar and Dassault Aviation for the acquisition of 24 Rafale, thus raising the number of Rafale aircraft operated by the Qatar Emiri Air Force to 36.
The Dassault Aviation said in a statement that they and their partners thank the Qatari Authorities for having given them the opportunity to enhance their collaboration by restating their confidence in the qualities of the Rafale and expressing their satisfaction with the performance of the main contract.
“This new agreement is built around the special relationship that exists between the two countries and the shared determination, by the Defense Ministry of Qatar and Dassault Aviation, to move forwards together”,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 selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force.