Saudi Arabia Considering 200 Dassault Rafale Fighter Jets Purchase, a Sign its Drifting Away from US

By Arie Egozi

Defence Industry

Tel Aviv: The Saudi decision to purchase up to 200 French made Dassault  Rafale fighter aircraft, brings the tension between Riyadh and Washington to a new peak. The Middle Eastern analysts say that the plan proves that Saudi Arabia no longer considers the US to be its major Western ally.

In response to Riyadh’s drop in oil production, US legislators proposed legislation last October to halt all arms deliveries to the country. The analysts say that the modern design of the French fighter aircraft and the fact that France is a NATO member is another factor in the Saudi evaluation. This is based on the fact that a French fighter aircraft will be easily integrated with the Saudis existing fleet of American made fighter aircraft. Russia and China have also offered their fighter aircraft to the Saudis but at this point all signs point to the selection of the French made fighter aircraft.

The 4.5 generation Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine delta-wing agile multi-role jet fighter that was created and manufactured by Dassault Aviation. The Rafale, which debuted in 2000, is being developed for both carrier-based operations with the French Navy and land-based operations with the French Air Force.

After the surprising coalition created between Iran and Russia in March, another one has just been announced –  Iran and Saudi Arabia have decided to restore diplomatic relations. This surprising development has broad repercussions throughout the Middle East and the Gulf regions. In addition, this development has many implications for the world generally and for the US and Israel specifically.

In recent months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played with the idea of creating an agreement with the Saudis that will make them practically part of the Abraham Accords. But it seems that the Saudis have been following the developments in Israel, namely the attitude of the far right government and that resulted in second thoughts if there were any.