Wednesday, April 28, 2010

French Companies Offer to Make Rafale fighter jets in UAE

A consortium of French aerospace companies hoping to sell as many as 60 Rafale fighter jets to the UAE is offering to set up facilities to make the aircraft in Abu Dhabi.The plane maker Dassault, the aerospace company Thales, the engine maker Snecma, the missile builder MBDA and the avionics maker Sagem make up the French consortium.The companies have issued a proposal to train UAE nationals in aerospace manufacturing and production to handle local production of the jet, according to Major Gen Khalid al Buainnain, the former Commander of the UAE Air Force and Air Defence.

“The programmes will be about how to manufacture aircraft, how to manage factories and about quality-controlled production,” said Major Gen al Buainnain, the chairman of Baynuna Group. Baynuna is the local partner in the consortium and the jets deal is reportedly worth as much as €10bn (Dh48.87bn).In June 2008, the UAE said it was “seriously considering” the possibility that the Rafale could enter service in about 2013. The deal would reportedly include a provision for France to buy back the UAE’s fleet of Mirage 2000s, which is due to undergo a comprehensive mid-life upgrade at about the same time.The UAE has requested an advanced version of the Rafale, with adaptations including a more powerful engine and radar system than those designed for the French air force and


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