France splurges EUR 3bn on Dassault fighter jets

7th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - France unveiled Tuesday the order of 59 nuclear-capable Rafale fighter jets from the French aeronautic group Dassault Aviation in a contract worth more than EUR 3 billion (USD 4 billion).

PARIS, Dec 7 (AFP) - France unveiled Tuesday the order of 59 nuclear-capable Rafale fighter jets from the French aeronautic group Dassault Aviation in a contract worth more than EUR 3 billion (USD 4 billion).

Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie gave official notification of the order, initiated last February, during a Senate debate Monday on the French defence budget, the ministry said in a statement.

The Rafale order is the largest to date by the French government, which has been the only purchaser of the Dassault jet since the programme's launch in 1988.

It brings to 120 the total number ordered so far, including 82 for the air force and 38 designed for carrier use by the navy.

The new contract includes 47 of the air force version and 12 for use on carriers, with deliveries to extend from 2008-2012.

All of the new planes will be designed to carry medium-range, air-to-ground nuclear weapons in addition to a range of other arms.

The order is a boost not only for Dassault, which stands to earn EUR 1.3 billion, but also for the defence electronics group Thales which is set to make EUR 1 billion from the deal by providing the navigation and attack systems.

Jet engine maker Snecma is to earn EUR 600 million.

A fourth major industrial group set to benefit is the missile maker MBDA, which is controlled by the European aerospace company European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, the British group BAE Systems, and Finmeccanica of Italy.

According to the French defence program for 2003-2007, the armed services should have a total of 234 Rafales for the air force and 60 for the navy by 2020.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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