x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Rafale fighter deal 'is back on'

A multibillion-dollar deal for 60 Rafale fighter jets for the Air Force may be back on.

ABU DHABI // A multibillion-dollar deal for 60 Rafale fighter jets for the Air Force may be back on.

Talks were believed to have stalled last year when Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, said the planes' French maker, Dassault Aviation, had proposed "uncompetitive and impractical" terms.

But Maj Gen Khalid Al Buainnain, former commander of the Air Force and Air Defence, said: "Discussions never stopped."

Gen Al Buainnain, is also chairman of Baynuna Group, an Abu Dhabi company that has a joint venture with Dassault to "transfer technology know-how, services and products" in the UAE and abroad.

"The technical and financial and contractual discussions have been completely finished. We're … working out how we can smooth out this contract."

The deal could be done by April, unidentified sources told the French newspaper La Tribune last week.