The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) Rafale fleet has become the first export customer to reach 10 000 flying hours on the type, having flown the Rafale since 2015.
“This important milestone confirms the Rafale’s technological and operational excellence, and attests to the quality of the training of Egyptian crews received in France. It also demonstrates the effectiveness of the systems and personnel put in place by Dassault Aviation to support the implementation of the aircraft in Egypt. Lastly, it illustrates the great skill of the Egyptian Air Force, which has carried out the transformation of its pilots and mechanics to the Rafale with ease and fluidity.” Says Dassault Aviation.
A ceremony to celebrate the Rafale’s 10,000 flight hours was held last week on the operational air base in the presence of senior Egyptian authorities and Dassault Aviation representatives, where the Egyptian Air Force’s Rafale “Wild Wolves” squadron is stationed.
After an initial order in 2015, that made Egypt the Rafale’s first export customer, followed by a second in 2021, the Rafale has reached a new milestone thanks to the Egyptian Air Force: the first 10,000 flight hours operated by a user other than the French air Force.
“Egypt has chosen the Rafale, recognizing its unique ‘game-changer’ character, to ensure its role in full sovereignty as a key player in the regional and international arena, in a demanding geopolitical context. This celebration around the 10,000 flight hours of the Rafale salutes the great mastery of the Egyptian Air Force, the excellence of the Rafale, and honours Dassault Aviation, which has maintained strong relations with Egypt based on trust and commitment for nearly 50 years”, said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
Egypt signed a contract for an initial 24 Rafales in 2015, and another 30 in 2021. Egyptian Rafales have been armed with MICA air-to-air missiles, HAMMER stand-off weapons, Al Tariq guided munitions, and SCALP cruise missiles.
The French Ministry of Economy and Finance previously blocked the deal, however, Dassault later delivered the final three of the Egyptian Air Force Rafale fighter jets on 28 November 2017. They are operated by the 203 Tactical Fighter Wing codename ‘Storm’. 34th Squadron ‘Wild Wolves’. Egypt Air Force ordered a total of 16 Rafale DM twin seats and eight Rafale EM single-seat fighters on 16 February 2015.
In February 2021, Egypt reached an agreement with France for the purchase of 30 additional Rafale fighter jets worth 3.75 billion euros ($4.5 billion). Eighteen single-seat models of the Rafale and 12 twin-seaters are to be delivered between 2024 and 2026, according to the French defence ministry.
The deal also includes a €240 million contract for buying equipment and munitions package from Safran Electronics and Defense as well as with missile-maker MBDA, and Egypt’s defence ministry disclosed that the deal would be financed through a loan spanning over at least 10 years.
Later that year, the deal with Dassault was confirmed and announced to have come into force on 15 November. “In a demanding geopolitical context, Egypt has chosen the Rafale to ensure its role as a key player in the regional and international arena, in full sovereignty. This is an honour for Dassault Aviation and its partners, who are fully committed to meeting the expectations of the Egyptian authorities,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.