France targets emerging markets for fighter jet sales

France targets emerging markets for fighter jet sales
Rafale jet fighters are seen on the assembly line in the factory of French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation in Merignac near Bordeaux during a visit by the French President March 4, 2015.

PARIS - A French aerospace company has recently scored big, winning orders for fighter jets from Middle Eastern and Asian buyers.

At a time when sectarian violence and conflicts are spiraling out of control in the Middle East and other parts of the world, emerging nations are rushing to upgrade their defence equipment. Defence equipment makers in the developed world, meanwhile, are looking for buyers outside their home markets to make up for declining budgets at home.

In late April, the Qatari government agreed to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets from French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation. Francois Hollande, France's president, on April 30 praised the deal as a wonderful achievement. Aviation and the defence sector are major pillars of French industry, along with automobiles. The recent orders for the Rafales are widely expected to benefit the French economy and create jobs.

"This new success for the French team demonstrates the Rafale's operational qualities," Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier said in a press release.

On May 4, the company held a signing ceremony in the Qatari capital, Doha, with President Hollande and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in attendance. The deal was worth a total of 6.3 billion euro (US$7.09 billion). Dassault is expected to deliver the first jet to the country in 2017.

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