Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Dassault Aviation SA will continue the production of its Rafale fighter jets and maintain its industrial “skills,” French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said today in a speech.
“The extraordinary capacities of the Rafale have been demonstrated in the war in Libya,” Fillon said in a speech on the air base of Saint-Dizier in eastern France. ”France will in no circumstances renounce” the engineering and industrial competences developed by Dassault, he said, according to a copy of the speech e-mailed by his office.
He added that France is still seeking to sell the jets to India, the United Arab Emirates and Brazil.
Fillon’s comments follow Defense Minister Gerard Longuet’s remarks in Le Monde daily on Dec. 7 when he said that unless the jet finds a buyer abroad, the government will quit funding its production, effectively killing the program.
Over the last decade, Dassault has consistently lost out in competitions in countries including Singapore, South Korea, Morocco, and last week, Switzerland. Although it has been producing a plane a month for the French military, without export orders to help pay the cost of production, its funding burden falls entirely on France.
--Editor: Vidya Root
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