F16 replacements: French government promises Belgium €20 billion for the purchase of Rafale aircraft

France is offering around €20 billion in compensation if Belgium buys the Rafale aircraft from the French constructor Dassault Aviation SA (“Dassault”).

This is reported by De Tijd on Wednesday, based upon Dassault documents, which the daily publication has consulted.

France has already promised a “strategic and economic” partnership if the Belgian federal government chooses the Rafale aircraft, and not its competitors, the F-35 and the Eurofighter, to replace the F-16. The French government and Dassault have since then worked upon a concrete proposal, with a view to this appealing to the Belgian government.

The French government appeared to have put itself out of the running by not respecting the procedure put in place by the federal government to replace its fighter aeroplanes. However it appears that, as of now, that the French government and Dassault are not adhering to the procedure, as they are seeking to offer more economic compensation to Belgian industry than is feasible within the framework originally established by the Belgian government.

Dassault is promising both an economic return of 100% of the purchase price, which would mean around €20 billion over 20 years, and more than 5,000 high-technology jobs. It remains to be seen whether the Belgian federal government will accept the proposal.

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