The fourth batch of five Dassault Rafales delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft left Bordeaux/Mérignac (France) on delivery to Tamim Air Base (Qatar) 3 December 2019. The aircraft involved are Rafale DQ (dual seat) QA205 and Rafale EQ (single seat) QA212, QA213, QA214 and QA226. The aircraft were accompanied by QEAF C-17A Globemaster III (A7-)MAA that arrived few days before on 30 November 2019. As with the previous deliveries in June, July and September, the aircraft must have been accompanied by tanker aircraft for refuelling support. However, it is unknown to us if this support was, again, provided by Armée de l’Air (AdlA, French Air Force) tanker aircraft.
By June 2014, Dassault had claimed it was close to signing a contract with Qatar for 72 Rafales. On 30 April 2015, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani announced to French President François Hollande that Qatar would order 24 Rafale with an option to buy 12 more aircraft. On 4 May, the contract worth €6.3 billion ($7.02 billion) for 24 Rafales was completed. In addition to the 24 aircraft, the price tag includes the provision for long-range cruise missiles and Meteor missiles as well as the training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French military and a number of Qatari intelligence officers. With all those elements included, the price can be viewed as €263M for each aircraft. The option for 12 more Rafale aircraft was exercised on 7 December 2017 for €1.1 billion (or €92M each) while adding an additional option for 36 further jets. The first Qatari Rafale was delivered in February 2019.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault. Introduced in 2001, the Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries, and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force. The Rafale has been used in combat over Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. Several upgrades to the weapons and avionics of the Rafale are planned to be introduced by 2018.