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UAE, France Sign Historic Deal for 80 Rafale Jets

UAE, France Sign Historic Deal for 80 Rafale Jets

Friday, 3 December, 2021 - 11:45
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) is greeted by Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan at the Dubai Expo on the first day of his Gulf tour Thomas SAMSON AFP

The UAE signed a record 14-billion-euro contract for 80 French-made Rafale jets and committed billions of euros in other deals as President Emmanuel Macron kicked off a Gulf tour on Friday.

The biggest international order ever made for the Rafale jets came as Macron held talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed at the start of a two-day trip which also includes Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The UAE also inked an order for 12 Caracal military transport helicopters for a total bill of more than 17 billion euros.

"This is an outcome of the strategic partnership between the two countries, consolidating their capacity to act together for their autonomy and security," the French presidency said in a statement.

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala sovereign wealth fund also pledged eight billion euros in investments in French businesses, while the licence of the UAE capital's branch of the Louvre art gallery was extended for 10 years to 2047.

The Rafale order signed on Friday, while Macron met with Sheikh Mohammed at Dubai's Expo site, is the biggest made internationally for the aircraft since it entered into service in 2004, according to AFP.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly called it a "historic contract" which will contribute "directly to regional stability". The F4 model Rafales, currently under development, will be delivered from 2027.

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