France delivers fighter jets to Egypt
The planes will be flown to Cairo by specially trained pilots on Tuesday
Egypt on Monday took delivery of three Rafale fighter jets from France, the first of 24 warplanes sold in a 5.2 billion euro ($5.6 billion) deal earlier this year, according to Agence France-Presse.
Egyptian authorities took charge of the planes at an air base in southern France, and they will be flown to Cairo by specially trained pilots on Tuesday.
Cairo is hoping to boost its military presence as it faces an unstable Libya to the west and threats from militants linked to the Islamic State group in its Sinai Peninsula to the east.
For Egypt, the agreement is also a show of support for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew his Islamist predecessor in 2013 and wants to break a US monopoly over arms sales to Cairo.
The deal is a much-needed boon to cash-strapped France and Paris hopes that by showcasing French military technology it will prompt more orders for its premier combat jet, which it struggled for years to sell.
The overall deal also includes contracts for missiles and for an FREMM multi-mission frigate from naval group DCNS.
However, the deal has sparked concern from campaign groups worried about Cairo's human rights record.
The head of Dassault Aviation, which manufactures the warplanes, thanked the French military "without whose support this success would not have been possible."
Planes were diverted away from the French military base for the handover ceremony.
In a further coup for French military exports, India in April ordered 36 Rafales in a multi-billion-euro deal that took years to clinch.
Sisi opens ‘new page’ with Europe after first tripIn his short visit to Italy and France, the Egyptian president managed to revive ... Analysis
Egypt seeking military equipment from France: reportSisi said the agreement would need to be at a low cost, swift and come with ... Middle East
France signs deal with Egypt for export of jetsEric Trappier, chief executive officer of France’s Dassault Aviation, signed the ... Middle East
France, Italy save hundreds off Libya coastFrench patrol boat saved 217 people while Italian Coast Guard and navy rescued ... World News
France’s Le Pen hails Egypt’s battle against ‘extremism’The far-right leader said that Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which is blacklisted in ... Middle East