France may sell Rafale fighter to U.A.E.

By LEANDER SCHAERLAECKENS, UPI Correspondent   |   June 5, 2009 at 12:14 PM   |   0 comments

BRUSSELS, June 5 (UPI) -- France may sell Rafale fighter to U.A.E.

French officials believe they are close to closing a deal to sell their Rafale fighter jet to the United Arab Emirates.

The deal would prove a landmark for the French military aerospace industry as it would be among its first export deals for the beleaguered Rafale fighter jet program.

France has previously only succeeded in selling the Rafale to Libya as part of a recent mega deal arranged between Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Rafale is built by Dassault Aviation and has also been purchased by the French air force.

The United Arab Emirates has a history of buying French combat aircraft. It still operates 60 Mirage fighter and ground support fighter-bomber combat aircraft that were also built by Dassault Aviation.

U.A.E. spokesmen have publicly announced that "positive progress" has been achieved on the deal thought to be worth roughly $10 billion.


Germany awards Rheinmetall air defense capabilities contract

The German Bundeswehr -- the federal army -- has awarded Rheinmetall a contract to supply it with aerial protection for its troops, the company said in a statement. The technology is intended primarily for the German troops stationed in northern Afghanistan.

Two C-RAM force protection systems that can detect and automatically engage and destroy mortars and rockets were purchased for $175 million. Follow-up contracts worth a further $28 million may be exercised in further options for additional training and documentation. The deal also includes a follow-on order for AHEAD ammunition.

The acquisition is consistent with Germany's drive to create a very short-range protection system for its Afghanistan-based troops. The C-RAM system will be operationally deployed in three German bases in Afghanistan as early as 2010. The C-RAM is designed to defend forces against smaller weaponry such as those used by Afghan insurgents.

Rheinmetall says its C-RAM may also be sold to Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, Singapore and Australia.


Saab to develop new rotorcraft UAVs

Swedish firm Saab and Swiss UAV have reached an agreement to develop and market a new line of rotorcraft unmanned air vehicles, Defense News reported last week.

The terms of the deal will lead to the merger of Saab's Skeldar division with Swiss NEO and Koax. The development deal is expected to be long term and to create a single entity that will develop the helicopter unmanned air vehicles. The new products are expected to sell to both the civilian and military markets.

The value of the deal is unknown. Swiss UAV is a privately owned, 2-year-old company.


EDA, EC reach agreement on research efficiency

In an attempt to save funds for research and development, the European Commission and the European Defense Agency -- an EU institution that operates under the authority of the European Council -- have agreed to coordinate their activities to avoid any duplication of research in their respective projects.

The European Defense Agency is designed to stimulate and support research in the European defense industry, while the European Commission carries out similar tasks for civilian research.

Much of the research currently being conducted is relevant to both European military and civilian technology and industry, making it attractive to cooperate and thereby reduce the soaring costs of military equipment.

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