Qatar takes delivery of 1st French-built Rafale jet fighter

Qatar on Wednesday took delivery of the first of 36 Rafale multi-purpose jet fighters it has ordered from French manufacturer Dassault. The handover ceremony in Merignac, southwestern France, where the planes are built, was attended by Qatar Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah and Dassault Aviation chief Eric Trappier, AFP reports. Qatar ordered 24 of the fighters in 2015, adding 12 more last year. It also has an option to buy 36 more. The twin-engine fighter has been in service with the French Air Force since 2004. After failing to sell the Rafale abroad for several years, France finally won a contract from Egypt in 2015 for 24 jets, followed by the sale to Qatar. In September 2016, India also agreed to buy 36 of the fighters.