Qatar signs multi-billion-euro deal for 24 French Rafale fighter jets

Friday 01/05/2015
Rafale jets can be used for reconnaissance missions

DOHA - Qatar signed a multi-billion-euro deal with French defence group Dassault on Monday to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets, in a ceremony attended by the leaders of both countries in Doha.

The contract was signed by Dassault CEO Eric Trappier and Qatari General Ahmed al-Malki, who oversaw negotiations for the 6.3-billion-euro ($7-billion) deal.

French President Francois Hollande told Malki during the ceremony that Qatar had made a "good choice" in purchasing the warplanes, a correspondent said.

Malki also signed an agreement Monday with multinational missile group MBDA.

Qatar's Defence Minister Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah and French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian inked a separate deal which will see France train 36 Qatari pilots and around 100 mechanical engineers, as well as intelligence officers.

Rafale jets can be used for reconnaissance missions.

Monday's ceremony was a "success for Dassault" and "the result of hard work by the team," Trappier said.

Having struggled for years to sell any of its Rafale jets abroad, Dassault has recently scored several lucrative, high-profile contracts with Egypt, India, and now Qatar.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said recently that talks with the United Arab Emirates on buying Rafales were also headed in the "right direction".

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