Rafale 'gamechanger' Photograph:( AFP )
Dassault CEO Eric Trappier said it had earlier sold Mirage 2000 planes to the UAE. The Rafale deal was signed by President Macron and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.
As President Emmanuel Macron began his official tour to the Gulf, the United Arab Emirates announced it had ordered 80 Rafale fighter jets from France.
The Rafale deal is worth $19 billion. It is the biggest Rafale order that the warplane maker Dassault has signed so far.
Dassault CEO Eric Trappier said it had earlier sold Mirage 2000 planes to the UAE and now since it has become the country has moved "towards the next generation which is the Rafale".
The deal was signed by President Macron and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan at the Dubai Expo last year.
The two countries sought to consolidate "strategic partnership" with the Rafale deal. Qatar had earlier ordered 36 Rafales and Egypt had also ordered new Rafales.
Greece and Croatia had also ordered the French fighters. The Greek government had ordered 18 Rafale jets in a $3 billion deal with Macron's government in a bid to stengethen its air power and strengthen defence cooperation.
Rafale had earlier confirmed it would compelte its order of delieving all 36 jets to India by April next year as the Indian Air Force (IAF) reinforces its fleet with the modern French fighters.
(With inputs from Agencies)