To the uninitiated, a deal to supply military equipment to a small, landlocked European country which has not fought a war, or been involved in anything resembling an armed conflict, for almost two centuries might not seem that significant.
But Dassault's loss to its rival Sweden's Saab Gripen of Switzerland's fighter contest is significant is that it marks the second disappointment for the French airframer in almost as many weeks. Touted as a shoo-in for the UAE, the Rafale and its manufacturer were humiliatingly snubbed by Abu Dhabi defence chiefs during the Dubai air show. It also marks the latest failure to secure a first export contract after things looked so bright a year ago.
Dassault's decision to publically question the basis for Switzerland's decision is even more puzzling and will do the company no favours in future contests either in that country or with future potential customers.
Our leader piece in next week's Flight International (6 December) asks whether the Rafale is finished as an exportable fighter, or whether Dassault can improve its sales story in the competitions that are still active.