Iraq, Serbia, Colombia: The Rafale still on the offensive on export markets

2021 will have been, without a doubt, the year of the Rafale, with 188 aircraft ordered for export by Greece (18+6 units), Croatia (12 aircraft), Egypt (30 aircraft), the UAE (80 aircraft) and Indonesia (42 aircraft), in addition to the 96 Rafale previously ordered by Egypt (24 aircraft), Qatar (24+12 aircraft) and India (36 aircraft) . In doing so, the flagship of Dassault Aviation and of the entire French aeronautical industry, is approaching the export scores of its predecessor, the Mirage 2000 with 284 aircraft ordered by 7 countries, against 298 aircraft ordered by 8 countries for the 2000. However, the French aircraft manufacturer does not intend to stop there, participating in particular in the two major Indian competitions, the MMRCA 2 competition for 114 ( or 57) combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force, and that to equip the aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy involving 57 aircraft. In both cases, it would seem that the Rafale is well positioned, if not a favorite of the competition, at least according to the Indian press. At the same time, other customers of the French aircraft plan to extend their fleet, such as Greece, which aims to build a second squadron by the end of the decade, or Egypt which would consider increasing its fleet to 80 aircraft.

Beyond its existing customers, towards which Dassault Aviation is continuing its efforts, the French aircraft manufacturer and Team Rafale, which also brings together Thales, Safran and MBDA as well as several hundred subcontractors, continue to work alongside the plenipotentiary services of the State, and with the support of the DGA, to extend this customer base, even if, probably burned by the Swiss episode, they now remain even more discreet than usual. If discussions are underway with several countries, including Malaysia, Bangladesh and even Saudi Arabia, 3 prospects stand out, to be now, if not close to an order, in any case close to a decision : Iraq, Serbia and Colombia; so that after having equaled the export scores of the Mirage 2000, the Rafale could well, in the end, approach and perhaps even exceed the 470 aircraft exported to 10 countries of the Mirage F1, without however hoping to catch up with the absolute record of the Mirage III/V, 950 copies exported to 17 initial customers. But that was another time...

Mirage 2000 and Rafale Qatari during an exercise in Turkey.

Negotiations with the Iraqi authorities have been underway for several years, with the objective for Baghdad to reconnect with its former military partners, such as Russia and France, and to reduce Iraqi dependence on the US defense industry and control. imposed by Washington. According to information gleaned on both sides from specialized journalists, Paris and Baghdad would indeed negotiate the sale of 14 Rafale planes to the F4 standard, but also 12 H225M Caracal maneuver helicopters and French artillery systems (probably CAESAR), in an economic model allowing the Iraqi authorities to pay France directly in hydrocarbons. Iraqi statements around these negotiations should be taken with caution, especially with announced prices inconsistent with the market price of the Rafale, even second-hand. However, during the opening speech of the Eurosatory 2022 exhibition, President Emmanuel Macron cited Iraq, which is moreover first on his list, when he listed the customers of the French defense industry, which leaves assume that indeed, significant progress has been made in this dossier, and that an official announcement is now close.

The rest of this article is for subscribers only

Full-access articles are available in the “ Free Items“. Subscribers have access to the full Analyses, OSINT and Synthesis articles. Articles in the Archives (more than 2 years old) are reserved for Premium subscribers.

From €6,50 per month – No time commitment.

Related posts