According to French media reports, the UAE and France are negotiating the purchase of Rafale fighter planes.
According to preliminary data, France has agreed to deliver 30 to 60 Rafale fighter planes to the UAE.
An official announcement of the deal is expected to be announced later this month in December 2021 during a planned visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to the UAE.
If the reports of such negotiations between the two countries are true, it will mark the fourth such contract for the supply of Rafale fighters in 2021.
In December 2020, Greece signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 18 Rafale aircraft along with weapons worth 2.8 billion euros.
In May 2021, Egypt signed a defense purchase agreement with France for the purchase of 30 Rafale fighters, worth around 5 billion dollars.
In the same month, Croatia also signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 12 Rafale F3R fighters at a cost of “a little less than 1 billion euros”; deliveries of the same is slated for 2024-2025.
UAE’s decision to purchase French Rafale fighters comes in the wake of Rostec, Russia’s state-owned company introducing its latest fifth-generation Su-75 Checkmate, to which the UAE had reportedly shown an interest.
According to analysts, Russia’s Su-75 Checkmate has not been designed for the Russian market, but has instead been designed eyeing the export market. There appears to be a logic to such claims since Russian pilots prefer to fly two-engine fighters; the Su-75 has only a single engine. Having twin engines provides Russian fighters an advantage in close combat including greater thrust and manoeuvrability, since the plane can reach a certain height faster.
As per a Russian source in the defense industry, Abu Dhabi is the “secret” partner of the Russians in the production of the Su-75 Checkmate.
The Russian checkmate has a cost advantage over the US F-35.