As part of the bilateral military co-operation between Egypt and France, Dassault Aviation, a multinational Rafale fighter manufacturing company named based in France, delivered three Rafale fighters to Egypt on Wednesday which represents the third batch of the total deal of 24 fighters, according to a statement released by the official army spokesperson on Facebook.
This Egypt-France deal is the first of its kind. For France to sell Rafale fighters to any country, as was the case in February 2015, was unprecedented.
The deal also includes training Egyptian fighter pilots in these imported Rafale fighters in France. The Egyptian pilots' performance was reported to be superior to their Qatari counterparts who were also at the training center following their country signing similar deals with France.
In May 2015, a month before the delivery of the first three Rafale fighters to Egypt, Qatar signed a similar deal with Dassault Aviation for 24 Rafale fighters. The signing took place in Doha in the presence of French President François Hollande.
The terms of the Qatari purchase contract also included training 36 Qatari fighter pilots and 100 Qatari technicians in an affiliated training center. The training was planned to be carried out under the supervision of high-ranking French military experts, according to the Qatari-based news channel Al-Jazeera.
According to a report published by Reuters in 2015, instructing foreigners at the Rafale training centre, based in France, was perceived as a remarkable endeavor — it is the first time the centre opened its doors to foreign trainees.
The report mentioned that the Egyptian fighters underwent an intensive training program in order to qualify them to use the Rafale fighters at the New Suez Canal inauguration in August 2015.
French weekly aviation magazine Air & Cosmos issued a report in February, indicating a huge difference between Qatari and Egyptian fighter pilots' training levels and results in the Rafale training center.
Contrary to the fast-paced and strenuous training the Egyptians received, the Qatari fighter pilots were not on the same level as the Egyptian Rafale fighters’ considerable experience and quick understanding of the technology, according to the report.
The inexperienced and young Qatari pilots, on the other hand, would need to train for thousands of hours, the magazine said.
Concerning the delivery time agreed with Qatar, several media reports stemming from France 24 said Qatar will receive 11 fighters annually starting from mid-2018 at a cost of €6.3 billion.
Since the signing between Egypt and France in 2015, the Egyptian Air Forces has received nine of the 24 fighters that were agreed upon. Dassault Aviation company delivered the first batch of three Rafale fighters in July 2015, followed by the second batch of three fighters in January 2016.
The Rafale fighters are equipped with high-quality aerial war technology and armament that enable them to reach numerous targets simultaneously; therefore, these fighters are in high demand from several countries that seek to enhance their aerial defense abilities.
Several countries like the United Arab of Emirates, Saudi Arabia and India have expressed interest in purchasing these fighters. French media has reported that there are ongoing discussions between Dassault Aviation and the UAE for 12 Rafale fighters; however, no official confirmation from either side has yet been released.