PARIS - Technical talks on the sale of Rafale fighters to the United Arab Emirates are wrapping up, Defense Minister Herve Morin said June 15, adding that France was likely to pick up part of modernization costs.
Regarding the improvements that the UAE is seeking to the multi-role aircraft, Morin said on France Info radio "that's a discussion we've been engaged in for months and which is in the course of being finalized
Talks on acquiring the latest-generation French-made fighters began after the UAE expressed interest in 2008 in replacing its 60 aging Mirage fighters.
The Rafale, made by Dassault, has yet to clinch a single overseas sale and is in competition with Sweden's Gripen NG by Saab and the F/A-18 Super Hornet manufactured by U.S. giant Boeing.
The deal for 36 fighter planes is estimated to be worth between four and seven billion dollars, depending on details of armaments, maintenance and peripheral industrial involvement.