UAE purchases 80 Rafale aircraft, 12 Caracal copters


Dubai — France and the United Arab Emirates confirmed on Friday that they had signed deal on the supply of 80 Rafale warplanes, manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation.

The two nations have signed a deal worth 16.6 billion euros by which France will supply 80 Rafale fighter jets to the UAE, in addition to 12 Caracal H225 Helicopters including weaponizing, training and spare parts.

The deal aims to promote strategic and investment partnership that targets the 2030 UAE-France economic program like renewable energy, innovation and technology, said a joint Emeriti-French statement carried by UAE’s news agency (WAM) on Friday.

They offer a shot in the arm for France’s defense industry after the collapse of a $66 billion contract for Australia to buy 12 French submarines that ultimately went to the US.

French President Emmanuel Macron has forged a good relationship with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MBZ), with investments flowing between both countries. Paris has a permanent military base in the Emirati capital.

Speaking to reporters in Dubai, Macron said they are important contracts for the deepening defense cooperation between France and the UAE that will contribute to the stability of the region and enhance a common fight against terrorism.

In addition, “it’s important for our economy because the planes are manufactured in France,” he said.

Manufacturer Dassault Aviation said the UAE is buying the upgraded F4 version of its multirole Rafale combat aircraft. That will make the Emirates Air Force the first Rafale F4 user outside of France, it said.

Dassault Aviation boss Eric Trappier called the sale “a French success story” and “excellent news for France and for its aeronautical industry.”

Dassault said the Rafale will give the UAE “a tool capable of guaranteeing sovereignty and operational independence” and that it will start delivering the planes in 2027.

French defense officials were jubilant. Defense Minister Florence Parly said the Rafale deal “directly contributes to regional stability.” The additional sale of Caracal helicopters also illustrates “the density of our defense relationship,” she said.

The statement stressed commitment of the two countries to supporting the efforts made to promote peace and stability at both the regional and international levels.

They expressed their hope for successful elections in Libya in line with the timeframe agreed upon and the withdrawal of all mercenaries and foreign fighters from the country, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Mubadala Investment Company and Bpifrance extended the joint investment program worth 4 billion euros to be deployed, in line with the previous strategy of both Franco-Emirati Fund and the Innovation, it noted.

In addition, Mubadala Investment Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French Ministry of Economy and Finance to explore investment in French funds for a total amount of 1.4 billion euros, it pointed out.

Furthermore, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Total Energies inked a strategic cooperation deal in mutual interest including carbon capture and storage (CCS), low carbon H2, talent development and upstream oil and gas operations in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food signed an MoU to collaborate on developing sustainable and resilient food systems in both countries, it stated.

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