President Francois Hollande will travel to Doha on May 4 to sign the contract, which also includes MBDA missiles, the statement said.
The contract also includes missiles, and the training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French Army, a Defense Ministry official said.
“This new success for the French team demonstrates the Rafale’s operational qualities and confirms the confidence that countries, that are already users of the Mirage 2000, have in our company”, said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
Having struggled for years to sell any of its Rafale jets abroad, Dassault has recently scored several lucrative, high-profile contracts with Egypt, India, and now -- if the deal is confirmed -- Qatar.
Earlier this year (February 2015), Egypt signed a 5.2 billion Euro ($5.92 billion) deal to buy French weaponry. The agreement was for 24 Rafale combat jets made by Dassault Aviation, a multi-mission naval frigate, and air-to-air missiles.
Egyptian Defense Minister Sidqi Sobqi signed the deal with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in a ceremony in the presence of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and a French delegation that included the manufacturers.
The Rafale is the first completely omnirole fighter capable of accomplishing all the missions assigned to combat aircraft (air-air, air-ground, air-sea). It first came into active service with the French Navy and the French Air Force in 2004-2006, gradually replacing seven types of aircraft belonging to the preceding generations.
The Rafale was deployed in Afghanistan (2007-2012), Libya (2011), in the Sahel-Saharan strip (since 2013) and in Iraq (since September 2014). It was chosen for the Indian Army’s request for proposal for 126 aircraft. Negotiations surrounding the Rafale are currently underway with several governments.
Source: Reuters; AFP; Al Defaiya