Belgium to Review French Rafale Offer


(Source: compiled by; posted Sept 8, 2017)

France did not submit an offer to the Belgian fighter competition, and instead offered a wide-ranging, government-to-government partnership based on the Rafale, and including a substantial offsets and training package. (Dassault photo)

PARIS --- Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput confirmed today (Sept. 8) that France did not respond to the call for tenders for the replacement of the F-16 fighters, but instead made a direct proposal to Belgium.

Speaking on Belgium’s Radio 1, Vandeput did not, however, indicate whether the French offer would be taken into account. "We must first consider the legal status of this proposal," he said.

By the deadline Thursday night, only two candidates have formally responded: Lockheed Martin, with the F-35A Lightning II, and the Eurofighter consortium with the Typhoon.

On Thursday, just a few hours before the tender deadline, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly made a surprise announcement, saying that she had proposed to her Belgian counterpart "the establishment of an in-depth partnership between our two countries to meet the need" expressed by the Air Component of the Belgian Armed Forces for new fighter aircraft.

On Friday morning, Mr Vandeput said that there were indeed "two candidates engaged in the official procedure, in addition to the French proposal," but did not say whether it would be possible to take the latter into account.


Statement by Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces

(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Sept. 07, 2017)

(Issued in French; unofficial translation by French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Sept. 07, 2017)

PARIS --- The Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of Belgium has sent the Ministry of Armed Forces a request for proposals for the renewal of its fleet of combat aircraft.

Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, proposed to the Minister of Defense of the Kingdom of Belgium the establishment of an in-depth partnership between our two countries, in response to the need expressed by the Belgian Air Force.

This structuring partnership, which could take the form of an intergovernmental agreement, would include the supply of the Rafale combat aircraft, but also in-depth cooperation between our two air forces in the operational, training and support fields, as well as industrial and technical cooperation involving companies from both countries.

This proposal for a global partnership, that goes well beyond just military equipment, would consolidate the old and profound relationship between our two countries. It would contribute to strengthening the defense Europe and its strategic autonomy, at a time when it is more necessary than ever.

( EDITOR’S NOTE: As reported yesterday on our Twitter feed, France has opted not to submit a response to the Belgian government’s Request for Information, whose deadline was today, Sept. 8.
France, like Boeing and Saab earlier this year, pulled out as it also believes the RFI is slanted to favor the Lockheed Martin F-35, which remains in the running in competition with the Eurofighter offered by BAE Systems.
The Belgian government must now decide whether to complete the competition as originally planned, but with only two competitors, or whether to cancel the competition and instead opt for a negotiated acquisition.)


Rafale for the Replacement of the F-16s of the Air Component of the Belgian Defense

(Source: Dassault Aviation; issued Sept 7, 2017)

SAINT-CLOUD, France --- Dassault Aviation and its partners are fully participating in the comprehensive partnership offer made by the French Authorities to the Belgian Government, by presenting the Rafale for the replacement of the F-16s of the Air Component of the Belgian Defense.

The Rafale will enable Belgium to continue to fully play its role as a reliable member of the Atlantic Alliance, while contributing to the security of the European Union.

The Rafale, as a latest generation multi-mission combat aircraft, has clearly demonstrated its total NATO interoperability in combat operations. Its procurement and operational costs are well known and without risks; its design guarantees that Belgium will remain at the cutting edge of technology for the next 40/50 years.

“Already strongly established in Belgium since the end of the 1960s, with nine subsidiary companies, more than 3,000 Belgian employees in high tech jobs, a network of more than 800 referenced suppliers and over 800 million Euros of annual orders in Belgium, Dassault Aviation and its partners offer to the economic partners in the three Belgian regions, a medium-and-long-term cooperation strategy that will truly structure the future of the Belgian industry and that will enhance the European defense”, said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.

This ambitious industrial aspect, an integral part of the broad Franco-Belgian inter-state cooperation around the Rafale, will offer the Belgian industry a concrete and lasting return to a proactive economic partnership and a positive societal impact.

The Rafale is a twin-jet fighter aircraft able to operate from both an aircraft carrier and a shore base. The fully versatile Rafale is able to carry out all combat aviation missions: air defence, interception, ground support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence. The Rafale entered service with the French Navy in 2004 and with the French Air Force in 2006. It has proven its worth in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria. In 2015, Egypt and Qatar have each ordered 24 Rafale. In 2016, India has ordered 36 Rafale. On 30 June 2017, 158 Rafale aircraft had been delivered.

With more than 10,000 military and civil aircraft delivered to more than 90 countries over the past century, Dassault Aviation can offer recognized know-how and experience in the design, development, sale and support of all types of aircraft, from the Rafale fighter to the Falcon range of high-end business jets, as well as military unmanned air systems. In 2016, Dassault Aviation reported revenues of €3.6 billion. The company has almost 12,000 employees.


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