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Rafale Export: a major contract signed with the United Arab Emirates for 80 combat aircraft

Dassault Aviation's Rafale has scored its sixth international success with an order placed today by the United Arab Emirates. This is the largest order ever signed by Dassault Aviation and the Rafale international consortium.

Another huge international success for the Rafale. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a giant contract for the purchase of 80 French fighter aircraft. This is the largest firm order ever signed by Dassault Aviation. The signing took place this morning, Dec. 3, during the first stop in the UAE of Emmanuel Macron's regional tour of the Gulf. 

"The sale of 80 Rafale to the UAE Federation is a French success: I am very proud and very happy. I want to thank the UAE authorities for renewing their confidence in our aircraft," said Eric Trappier (Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation). "After the Mirage 5 and Mirage 2000, this Rafale contract confirms the strategic relationship between our two countries and the satisfaction of the UAE Air Force, a long-standing and demanding partner of our company. I would like to underscore the quality and efficiency of the relationship between the French authorities and industry, which also made this success possible for the French team," he added. 

Thales is fully associated with this success through the Rafale International consortium. For Patrice Caine (Thales Chairman and CEO), this contract "is recognition of the excellence of the French defense industry, and also a strong vote of confidence in all of our Group's employees, who work alongside Dassault Aviation's teams with professionalism every day." 

The first Rafales will be delivered from 2026 to 2031. The Emirates are buying Rafales of the new F4 standard, the most modern and advanced, which is currently being developed for validation in 2024.


Rafale sales history


  • 192 Rafales ordered in several orders (the last of 12 Rafales in February 2021 following the sale of 12 second-hand Rafales to Greece)


  • 54 Rafales ordered, including 24 in February 2015 (the first export customer), and 30 in May 2021 plus one in August 2021 (to replace the one that crashed in 2019)


  • 36 Rafales ordered in two installments: 24 in May 2015 and 12 in December 2017


  • 36 Rafales ordered in September 2016


  • 18 Rafales ordered in January 2021 (6 new and 12 second-hand)


  • 12 second-hand Rafales ordered on November 25, 2021 

Image below: From left to right: Patrice Caine, Thales Chairman and CEO, Florence Parly, French minister of the Armed Forces, Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation, and Olivier Andriès, Chief Executive Officer of Safran 

Cédric Leurquin
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