FRENCH RAFALE | Becomes a Big Russian Military Problem

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French president Emmanuel Macron is expected to promote a Rafale sale in a visit expected this summer. Kiev may depend more on French support with the forthcoming retirement of German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Revitalizing Ukraine’s outdated air force is unavoidably a long-term project. Officially, the plan is to acquire six to twelve warplanes between 2023–2025 to begin familiarizing personnel, followed by another thirty aircraft acquired between 2025–2030. These would replace Ukraine’s short-range MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters.
Separately, Ukraine also is planning to spend $1.43 billion on new medium transport planes to enter service 2027–2035, $1.25 billion to overhaul its L-39 Albatross training jets, and $1.79 billion to equip four regiments with new medium-range surface-to-air missile systems.

The Rafale is a surprising favorite because it is a more expensive option than U.S. jet fighters or Swedish Gripen jets also under consideration. But Paris is optimistic that a guarantee of up to 85 percent of a loan to Kiev to pay for a Rafale buy (for which €1.5 billion has already been set aside) will seal the deal.
France also points to an existing commercial mechanism to sell aircraft to Ukraine established for a €551 million deal for 55 Airbus helicopters.

Paris and Washington may also offer fighters on generous terms as part of a longer game: to prevent China from purchasing Ukraine’s Motor Sich engine manufacturer.

Chinese firms have had difficulty producing high-performance turbofan engines for their jet fighters. Motor Sich’s tech could contribute to overcoming that technological bottleneck.

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