CAIRO: French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is expected to head to Cairo Monday to sign a deal on the sale of 24 Rafale fighter jets, a naval frigate and related military equipments to Egypt, Youm7 reported Sunday.
During his visit, Le Drian is scheduled to sign the $5.9 billion deal with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Defense Ministry sources told Youm7 Saturday.
The deal comes after several failed attempts by France to sell the Rafale, one of the most powerful fighter jets available but also one of the most expensive, according to Le Monde.
“The Egyptian authorities have just let me know their intention of acquiring 24 Rafale planes, a multi-mission frigate as well as related equipment,” French President François Hollande stated Thursday.
The deal, which will upgrade Egypt’s arsenal, comes amid security threats in the Sinai Peninsula and the rise of Jihadist groups in the Egypt-Libya borderline.
The deal was first planned during Sisi’s visit to France in November when he discussed ways to upgrade Egypt’s fleet of 18 French Mirage gets, according to Youm7.
Dassault Aviation, the company that produces Rafale and Mirage jets, describes them in its website as “the right answer to the capability approach selected by an increasing number of governments.”