An official ceremony to mark acceptance by the Arab Republic of Egypt of its first three Dassault Rafale multirole fighters was held today, July 20, at the Dassault Aviation flight test centre in Istres. The event took place in the presence of His Excellency Mr. Ehab Badawy, Egyptian Ambassador to France and Dassault Aviation Chairman and CEO Eric Trappier.
This first delivery comes just five months after the Egyptian decision to acquire 24 Rafales (16 two-seaters and 8 single-seaters) in order to equip its Air Force. The contract was signed on February 16. Since then, an initial group of Egyptian users has been trained in France. Egyptian pilots, trained by the French Air Force, will fly the first three Rafales to Cairo tomorrow, July 21.
In a speech at the ceremony, Eric Trappier said: “This contract constitutes a new milestone in the co-operation between Dassault Aviation and Egypt since the 1970s – more than 40 years of an exemplary partnership marked by commitment and mutual trust. After the Mirage 5, the Alpha Jet and the Mirage 2000, the Rafale is the fourth Dassault aircraft to fly in Egyptian colours, and Egypt is the first export customer for the Rafale, as it was for the Mirage 2000. We are very pleased with this partnership, which over time has shown its solidity and ensured the durability of the historical links between our two countries. On behalf of Dassault Aviation and its 8,000 employees, its partners Thales and Snecma and the 500 subcontractors, I thank the Egyptian authorities, for the trust they have placed in us once again, and also the authorities and the French armed forces, without whose support this success would not have been possible.”
The early delivery of the first three aircraft, all two-seat Rafale DMs, was made possible after the French Air Force agreed to allow three that were already being completed on the production line for France to be diverted to Egypt. The Egyptian Government had requested their delivery in time to be able to perform a flypast over the inauguration of the Suez Canal expansion, which takes place on August 5. The remaining aircraft are due for delivery at a rate of five per year. Alan Warnes