First delivery of French Rafale jets arrive in Egypt

In 2015, Cairo signed a multi-billion euro deal to purchase from France 24 Rafale fighters, of which six have been already delivered (AFP Photo/Khaled Desouki)

Cairo (AFP) - The first three of 24 Rafale fighter jets Egypt bought from France in a multi-billion-euro deal flew in on Tuesday, leading a formation flight over the Nile and the pyramids.

Egypt took delivery of the aircraft Monday at an air base in southern France as part of the 5.2-billion-euro ($5.6 billion) deal.

The Rafales led a formation flight of 11 other warplanes in an early afternoon flypast over Cairo.

Egypt bought the jets to boost its military capability in the face of an unstable Libya to the west and threats from the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula to the east.

The deal also includes contracts for missiles and for a frigate from naval group DCNS.

For a long time France was the only country to buy the Rafales from planemaker Dassault. Its military forces have ordered 180, with 137 delivered so far.

Attempts to sell Rafales to countries including South Korea, Singapore, Morocco, Switzerland and Brazil have seen it lose out to foreign competitors.

But this year has been a good one for Dassault after deals with Egypt and Qatar, a firm order from India and interest from the United Arab Emirates.

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