France offers fighter jets and wider military cooperation to Belgium

  • Redakce ESJ
  • 13.9.2017 19:07

French Defence Minister Florence Parly offered Rafale fighter jets to her Belgian counterpart Steven Vandeput on Thursday 7 September while also highlighting the possibility of closer bilateral military cooperation on training, operations, and equipment repairs.

Belgium is looking for a substitution for its outdated F-16 fighters and France is likely to become a competitor for the American company Lockheed-Martin and its fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II in the Belgian tender for 34 aircraft worth 3.6 billion euros. Dassault, the company manufacturing Rafale aircraft, wants to support the tender by offering business cooperation to Belgian arms companies. Even though it is only a draft so far, it is one of the first signs of a possible strengthening of the defence and arms industry cooperation between EU states, which has long been discussed on the EU level. For example, Poland has a similar collaboration with US company Raytheon, who is to supply Patriot air defence systems to the country, and the Czech Republic cooperates with the French company Nexter, with the Titus armoured vehicle as the joint product. Moreover, Germany intends to strengthen defence cooperation with Britain, particularly through the joint development of a new fighter aircraft, the successor of the Eurofighter Typhoon.

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