The Qatar Emiri Air Force has now received three batches of Dassault Rafales, totalling 15 aircraft, and the first squadron is working up at the new Tamim Air Base at Dukhan in western Qatar. Qatar originally signed a â‚¬6.3 billion ($6.92 billion) memorandum of understanding covering the supply of 24 Rafales (six of them two-seat trainers) in May 2015. Twelve more Rafales were added to the original order in December 2017 and Qatar retains an option to buy up to 36 more.
In addition to the 24 Dassault Rafales fighters, the contract included the provision of long-range cruise missiles and Meteor missiles as well as the training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French military and several Qatari intelligence officers; thus, the price can be viewed as â‚¬263M for each aircraft. On 7 December 2017, the option for 12 more Rafales was exercised for â‚¬1.1 billion ( â‚¬92 million each) while adding an additional option for 36 further fighters. The first Qatar Emiri Air Force Rafale was delivered in February 2019.
The Qatar Emiri Air Force Rafale aircraft are being supplied with MBDA MICA infrared, MICA EM, and Meteor air-to-air missiles, and with MBDA SCALP-EG cruise missiles, as well as a range of air-to-ground weapons, including laser- and GPS-guided Safran AASM Hammer missiles. The Qatari Rafales also have provision for an Elbit Systems TARGO-II helmet-mounted target designation system, laser designator pod instead of the French Thales Damocles or the new Thales Talios pod (now under development).
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.