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Fighter Aircraft Modernination / Rafale Sale

On 12 February 2015, Egypt and France reached a deal for the sale of 24 Rafale aicraft to Egypt. The deal, valued at US$ 5.7 billion reportedly also included the sale of a FREMM naval frigate and MBDA air-to-air missiles. The official signing was set for 16 February 2015. The contract for 24 Rafales is the first time France had ever sold a fighter plane to another country. Egypt has so far received seven of these planes. The first batch of four, which arrived in August 2015, took part in the celebrations for the inauguration of the new Suez Canal. Three more arrived in January 2016.

The French Rafael manufacturer Dassault Aviation disclosed in March 2017 that it would deliver to Egypt eight Rafale fighters during 2018.

Egypt was interested in the modernization of their 20 Mirage 2000 EM / BM ordered in December 1981 and delivered between 1986 and 1988, but this had not advanced in the absence of agreement on price. Cairo remained "very interested" in this, but the Egyptians found the plans "too expensive and too long." Dassault Aviation and Thales proposed a modernization like India, without air-ground dimension, to keep costs down. The two manufacturers made a similar proposal in Peru (12 Mirage). In Egypt, the bill would amount to 900 million euros, or over one billion, according to various sources.

As a result of the US suspension of some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid following the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi by the military in July 2013, Egypt looked elsewhere to meet its military needs.

In September 2014, Alexander Fomin, Russias chief of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said Egypt had agreed to a $3.5 billion arms deal that includes fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, submarines and other equipment. Arms exports to Egypt would include deliveries of small arms, air defense systems and artillery. Russia earlier expressed interest in MiG-29/35 fighters, Mi-35 attack helicopters and other hardware. Presumably part of the deal, Egypt is buying S-300VM air defense systems from Almaz Antey for about $500 million.

By 2014 French officials were concerned about competition from Russia and China, which is believed to be pitching to renovate Mirage 2000 airplanes bought from France in 1980. Amnesty International called on France not to sell weapons to Egypt because of rights concerns following Sisis toppling of the elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.

Abdul Fattah al-Sisis regime was in the market for fighter planes. The MiG-35 and Frances Rafale were the first to be prospected. A contract was signed in April 2014 for acquiring 24 Mig-29-M2 (the most modern Mig-29 development). The Mig-29 M2 will replace the old Mig-21, Egypt was in talks with Russia to acquire 24 Mig-35 fighter jets. If the Egyptian Air Force signed a deal with Russia it will be the first country to acquire the Fighter.

At the beginning of summer 2011, the Egyptian military sent to Paris an "expression of interest" from 12 to 20 Rafale. Paris was then very embarrassed and Dassault not interested. This was shortly after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, but Paris considered the situation at the time too unstable.

US Defense officials delayed the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt on July 24, 2013 following the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. The four F-16's were part of a sale of 20 aircraft to Egypt. On March 3rd, 2010 the U.S. government had awarded an initial $213 million to Lockheed Martin for long-lead tasks for the production of 20 new Advanced Block 52 F-16 aircraft for Egypt. When tahe sale was announced, the US DOD stated "This procurement will dissuade Egypt from using national funds to buy fighters from another country. It will also increase the percentage of US-built equipment in the Egyptian inventory."

Paris began to discuss with Cairo to understand the needs of the Egyptian military. Egyptian pilots were even trying the Rafale. Cairo expressed during the visit in mid-September 2014 of Jean-Yves Le Drian an interest in the Rafale. the Rafale will replace some of the Mirage V Egypt has, Egypt has about 80 Mirage V jets, so not all of them will be phased out.

In October 2014 Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan was said to have sent a delegate to Egypt to meet with Egyptian Defence Minister General Sidqi Sobhi on the Emirati Mirage 2000-9s and Egyptian plans to buy the Rafale. Negotiations between the UAE and Egypt were for the Emirati Mirage 2000-9 fighters to replace the Mirage 5 fighter and to increase the number of Mirage 2000s in service. The UAEAF Mirage 2000s would provide the Egyptian Air Force with a more modernized version of Mirage 2000 than it already has. The manufacturer of the Rafale, Dassault Aviation, was really not interested in resettling the Mirage 2000-9 of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) through the sale of 60 Rafale in Abu Dhabi.

French newspaper La Tribune reported in January 2015 that France had offered two DCNS FREMM multi-mission frigates worth 1.8 billion euros and 20 Dassault Rafales worth 3.6 billion euros. Egypt apparently expressed interest in up to 24 Rafales in September last year during a visit by French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The country had originally shown interest in the Rafale in 2011 during the Arab Spring. The Egyptian military had fairly close ties with France, and operates French equipment such as vehicles and some 18 Mirage 2000 fighters. France is in advanced talks to sell Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets to Egypt for around 6 billion euros ($6.88 billion), Les Echos newspaper reported on 05 February 2015. The business daily said the two countries were close to finalizing a deal worth 5 to 6 billion euros for 24 jets and a FREMM naval frigate.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said on 08 February 2015 "There are actually pretty advanced discussions with Egypt, but they're not over". If the deal was confirmed, it would be the third success for Dassault after India and Qatar, where the French company was in negotiations to sell the Rafale.

In November 2017, La Tribune said that Egypt is going to sign a military deal with France which will see Egypt buy 12 Rafale fighter aircrafts. At the time, the newspaper quoted anonymous sources as saying that the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian negotiated the deal with President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi while attending the World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh in November 2017.

The US blocked Franco-Egyptian negotiations on the sale of 12 additional Rafale fighter jets to the Egyptian Air Force by refusing to export an American component aboard the Scalp cruise missile, French outlet La Tribune reported 24 February 2018.

Alexandre Vautravers, an official at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP), discussed with Sputnik the impact of US companies being in the chain of contractors on European military suppliers. "It would be great if France's manufacturing industry could produce entirely French products, but we should take into account the development cost of each component in a complicated missile like Scalp. What if no country can afford purchasing these missiles," Vautravers said.

"The problem is not solely in the Rafale fighter jet a French aircraft with predominantly French components the problem is in the cruise missile that can be fitted with this specific warhead, turning it into a weapon of mass destruction. Obviously, the US government doesn't want a country like Egypt to possess such technology," he explained.

According to Vautravers, this type of missile could influence power dynamics in the whole Middle East and create a problem across the region if it was used against a country like Israel or Libya. "This is why the US has decided to turn to the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), the rules that the US agreed to in late 1940s in order to establish control over the transfer of the US-manufactured technology to communist nations and the Soviet Union."




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