Bloomberg News

UAE Weighs Typhoon for Combat Jet Order in Blow to Dassault

November 13, 2011

Nov. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The United Arab Emirates has asked Britain for information on its Typhoon combat jet, setting up a possible competition with Dassault Aviation SA on an order that the French manufacturer had been confident to win.

British government officials met with officials from Abu Dhabi in mid-October to provide details about the plane’s performance, as the United Arab Emirates seeks to replace its Mirage fighter planes with more modern aircraft, a senior official at Eurofighter GmbH said today at the Dubai Air show.

The Typhoon, marketed as Eurofighter within Europe, has won orders from U.K, Germany, Italy and Spain, which represent the four countries that participate in the project. The jet has also been sold to Saudi Arabia and Austria, while Dassault’s Rafale has failed so far to win a single export order.

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said Oct. 17 that he saw a “very strong” probability that the United Arab Emirates would place an order for Rafale planes.

Dassault is now building only one Rafale a month on its production line, to supply the French military. Winning an order from the UAE, which is expected to buy 60 planes, or from elsewhere would help cut the costs of maintaining a production line. Officials from the UAE couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Dassault and Eurofighter are also facing off in India, where the government is seeking to place an order valued at an estimated $11 billion. India has said it may select the winner from the two contenders this year.

Eurofighter is an alliance of European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co., the U.K.’s BAE Systems Plc and Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA.

--Editor: Benedikt Kammel

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Rothman in Paris at aerothman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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