Qatar has firmed up options for a further 12 Rafale combat aircraft in accordance with the agreement signed in Doha in December.
Qatar has firmed up options for a further 12 Rafale combat aircraft in accordance with the agreement signed in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron in Doha in December. The aircraft have been officially added to Dassault Aviation's Rafale order backlog, which now includes 36 aircraft for Qatar, including the initial batch of 24 ordered in May 2015.
Qatar is one of three export customers for the French combat aircraft, alongside Egypt (24 aircraft) and India (36). In recent testimony to the Defence and Armed Forces Commission of the Assemblée Nationale, CEO Eric Trappier expressed optimism about future deals. Rafale production is currently scheduled to continue until 2030, so the aircraft will be offered for sale on export markets at least until that date.
Under current plans, France will acquire a total of 225 aircraft, and Dassault aims to secure roiughly the same number of orders on the export market. The United Arab Emirates and Malaysia have been reported as potential future customers. India could also place further orders for the Indian Air Force and for the Navy — possibly up to 200 aircraft, according to Trappier.
The Rafale is also being offered in Switzerland, which is due to launch a call for bids this year to replace its F-5s and F-18s.