France on 16 February 2015 signed a 5.2-billion-euro (5.9 billion US dollar) agreement with Egypt for the first foreign sale of its Rafale fighter plane. As per the deal, France will supply 24 Rafale fighters to Egypt.
The deal was signed at the Presidential palace in Cairo in presence of French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The deal will enhance the Egypt’s military capability to tackle the jihadists more efficiently and add more fire power to the air strikes conducted by Egypt following the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIS in Libya.
The deal to supply 24 Rafale fighter planes is part of overall deal that includes three contracts with Egypt. The other two contracts are supplying an FREMM multi-mission frigate from naval group DCNS, and missiles.
Besides, the two countries also issued a joint statement calling for a UN Security Council meeting on the threat from Libya and urging the international community to take new measures. The joint statement was issued by France’s President Francois Hollande and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The signing of deal is a show of support by France for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013 and wants to break a US monopoly over Egypt's arms supplies.
Sale of Rafale fighter planes to get a boost
The deal is also expected to act as a catalyst to unblock sale of Rafale fighter planes to other countries. This is because attempts to sell the Rafale jets to countries such as South Korea, Singapore, Morocco, Switzerland and Brazil did not fructify as Rafale lost to its foreign competitors.
The deal with India for 126 Rafale jets worth 12 billion euros is going at a slow pace because India wants some of the jets manufactured at home in a bid to boost manufacturing.
When: 16 February 2015