France has not submitted formal offer to Belgium’s bid to replace its aging F-16 fighter jets, has now offered economic and technology partnerships to sell Rafale fighter jets.
Belgium had called for tenders in March to replace its ageing fleet of 34 F-16 fighter aircraft for an estimated $4.2 billion. Lockheed Martin and Eurofighter have submitted an official bid for the program but Dassault has not offered a bid.
The French defense minister, Florence Parly has now offered technology and economic partnerships with Belgium if Belgium is ready to buy Rafale fighter jets.
According to Parly, the entire French industry, aeronautics, space, and advanced technologies would be involved in the partnership. More than 150 Belgian companies would be put in the loop other than the local Rafale team.
"France and Belgium are already united partners, we fight in the same theaters, where we fight together against terrorism, and our air forces work together, especially for the NATO Air Police," Parly was quoted as saying by French news daily, L’usine Nouvelle Tuesday.
This would represent "a hundred industrial or technological projects for an amount of 4 billion euros," she said. "The French proposal is ambitious: it opens the door to technological progress, to the development of the Belgian industrial fabric and to jobs, it allows an optimal defense for Belgium”.