PARIS (Jan. 16)
France is about to deliver 20 Mirage-2000 jet combat aircraft to Abu Dhabi and is on the verge of signing a contract with Saudi Arabia for 20 or more of the highly sophisticated supersonic planes, the State-owned news agency Agence France Presse (AFP) reported today.
According to the report, the Saudis want the aircraft for their own air force and “on behalf of another Arab country” not identified. The AFP report said Abu Dhabi, a Persian Gulf oil producer, will pay for the Mirages with 15 million tons of oil. Most of Abu Dhabi’s oil is extracted by a French company, Compagnie Francaise de Petroles-Total.
The Mirage-2000 has been operational in France since last summer and has been sold abroad. Egypt ordered 20 of the aircraft, Greece and India 40 each and Peru, 26. It is manufactured by the Dassault Co. Which is still run by its Jewish-born founder, Marcel Bloch-Dassault, who is 92.