Saudi Arabia Begins Effort to Acquire 54 Rafale Fighter Jets from France
The French weekly newspaper Le Tribune stated that Saudi Arabia has officially requested the price for the acquisition of 54 Rafale fighter jets from the manufacturer, Dassault Aviation, which has a deadline until November 10 to respond.
(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) –Saudi Arabia is reported to be considering a proposal to acquire a total of 54 Rafale fighter jets manufactured by France for its air force after its efforts to obtain Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets were blocked by Germany.
If Saudi Arabia goes through with the acquisition of the Rafale fighter jets, it would mark the first purchase of French-made fighter jets by an Arab nation.
The French weekly newspaper Le Tribune stated that Saudi Arabia has officially requested a quote for the acquisition of these 54 Rafale fighter jets from the manufacturer, Dassault Aviation.
Dassault Aviation has until November 10th to respond to Riyadh’s request, as reported by the newspaper.
Previously, the French newspaper reported that the Saudi government was considering acquiring between 100 and 200 Rafale fighter jets, which are also used by several neighboring Arab countries.
While the price inquiry for the Rafale fighter jets does not confirm that Saudi Arabia will make the purchase, it does indicate that the Riyadh government is prepared to diversify its sources for importing military systems.
At present, the Saudi Arabian Air Force operates fighter jets such as the American-made F-15, as well as the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Panavia Tornado, which are produced by a consortium of European countries.
For the past few years, Saudi Arabia has sought to increase its fleet of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, which are jointly built by the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia and the UK signed a Memorandum of Intent regarding the Saudi desire to purchase 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to add to their existing fleet.
If the acquisition is successful, it would bring Saudi Arabia’s total number of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to 120, as Riyadh already possesses 48 of these fighter jets.
However, the proposed sale of 48 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Riyadh faced obstacles due to Germany’s suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia following the kidnapping and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
So far, Germany’s arms embargo against Saudi Arabia remains in place, which may have prompted Riyadh to enter into negotiations with France to acquire Rafale fighter jets.
In recent years, Dassault Aviation has successfully entered the Middle Eastern market, with several Arab countries purchasing Rafale fighter jets, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar.
Currently, Iraq is also reported to be considering acquiring Rafale fighter jets for its air force. — DSA
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