Dassault Aviation sees new deal for its Rafale fighter jet in 2018: report

Eric Trappier, Dassault Aviation CEO, poses for pictures in front of an Dassault Rafale C fighter during the 51st Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) - French plane-maker Dassault Aviation SA sees a new sale contract for its Rafale fighter jet in 2018, Chief Executive Eric Trappier said in an interview with French regional newspaper Sud-Ouest on Sunday.

“After a contract signed in India, regarding the delivery of 36 Rafale jets, and the order of 24 of these aircraft by Egypt and 24 other by Qatar, we should soon conclude a fourth contract abroad, but it will rather be in 2018,” Trappier said in the interview.

Dassault Aviation is also in talks with India over a potential second contract, Trappier added.

“We’re notably in talks with Malaysia over 18 aircraft, but also with India over a second contract,” the plane-maker’s CEO said. “India’s needs are enormous. Hence, for its navy, 57 aircraft are considered,” he added.

Rafale is seen as front-runner in Malaysia, as the country looks to replace its aging fleet of combat aircraft. A deal to sell 18 jets could potentially be more than $2 billion, sources have said.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Nick Zieminski