Discussions are ongoing between Dassault Aviation and the United Arab Emirates on the possible sale of 60 Rafale fighters, with the company unable to say if a contract will be signed in the near term.
"It takes time, we are still discussing. This is not us making the schedule, it is the customer making the schedule. The specifications, timing, are all still being discussed," says Eric Trappier, executive vice-president international business at Dassault Aviation. "Usually, here in the UAE, they have their own pace. We will follow that."
Trappier, however, says that there is no link between a deal for the Rafale fighters and the UAE's request for the French government to take off its hands 63 Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters that they will replace.
Earlier this week, a senior UAE official said that the French government "needs to find a solution for the Mirage 2000 in order for the UAE to be able to purchase the Rafale", with neighbouring Oman or eastern European nations possible buyers of the fighter.
"The Rafale deal does not depend on the return of the Mirage fighters," says Trappier. "We do not have any details on what is happening with that, but those are two separate issues."