According DefenceNews, France and Qatar completed the deal for 24 Dassault Rafale fighter jets at the opening day of the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference.
The fighter deal, which includes MBDA missiles, training for 36 pilots and some 100 mechanics, was earlier reported to be worth €6.3 billion (US $6.9 billion); however, it was announced Tuesday that the deal is worth €6.7 billion (US $7.5 billion).
Qatar’s purchase of Dassault Rafale fighters has been financed with the help of Japanese banks . The Gulf state recently paid a 15% down payment on its order, which in total amounts to $6.8 billion. The loan highlights a growing relationship with Japan through Japanese business interests in areas of construction and finance. Investments and projects involving Japanese companies include construction for the 2022 World Cup, and the building of a subway system in Doha, while Qatar supplies liquefied gas to Japan. The participation of Japanese money in the deal comes as tighter EU financial regulations to European banks bring lending under greater scrutiny, while a US loan to buy French technology may have upset Boeing, a competitor to Dassault in the fighter market.
The Rafale is a 9.5 – 10.5 tonne aircraft powered by 2 SNECMA M88 jet engines, each generating up to 16,500 pounds thrust with afterburner. Canards are used to improve maneuverability, especially for snap-shots in short-range dogfights, and radar shaping lowers the aircraft’s profile relative to 4th generation competitors like the Mirage 2000 or F-16. Carrier capability was a prime motivator behind France’s decision to go it alone with the Rafale program, and variants exist for both land-based and carrier use.
UPDATE: DIMDEX Press Day – A dedicated day for the press was organised for Monday 28 March, the day before DIMDEX officially opens. Press Day consisted of three main components: covering the arrival of warships to Doha Commercial Port (DCP) on tugboats, followed by a press conference and a media lunch at the QNCC. There was an option to stay longer on a tugboat instead of attending the press conference / lunch if desired.