Dassault sees prospects for Rafale in Canada: report

The logo of French airplanes maker Dassault Aviation is seen on Dassault Aviation headquarters before a news conference to present the company's 20011 annual results in Saint Cloud, Paris suburb, March 22, 2012. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - French plane-maker Dassault Aviation AVMD.PA will respond to an information demand from Canada on its Rafale fighter plane and would be ready to participate in a tender, were Ottawa to backtrack on its support of Lockheed Martin's LMT.N F-35, new chief executive Eric Trappier told French daily Les Echos.

“Canada is potentially the first country that could challenge the F-35,” Trappier said.

“We are ready to explain what a Rafale offer could be, its operational capabilities and an industrial cooperation,” he added in an interview due to be published in Les Echos’ Wednesday edition.

Canadian officials said last month that the government would restart the process of searching for a new fighter for Canada’s air force after soaring costs spurred a rethink of plans to buy Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35.

They said it was still possible that Ottawa would eventually decide to buy the F-35, dismissing reports Canada had decided to walk away from the jet.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Tim Dobbyn