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A ceremony has been held at the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) base at Gebel el-Basur, near Cairo, to mark the EAF becoming the first service after the French Air Force to achieve 10,000 flight hours with its fleet of Dassault Rafale fighters, the French company announced on 8 March 2023. 

The ceremony, which Dassault said had taken place a week prior to the announcement, was held in the presence of senior Egyptian authorities and Dassault Aviation representatives. Gebel el-Basur is the home base of the EAF’s ‘Wild Wolves’ Squadron, which operates the Rafale.

“This important milestone confirms the Rafale’s technological and operational excellence and attests to the quality of the training of Egyptian crews received in France,” Dassault stated in its press release. “It also demonstrates the effectiveness of the systems and personnel put in place by Dassault Aviation to support the implementation of the aircraft in Egypt. Lastly, it illustrates the great skill of the Egyptian Air Force, which has carried out the transformation of its pilots and mechanics to the Rafale with ease and fluidity.”

Egyptian Rafales above Cairo. The Egyptian Air Force has become the second service after the French Air Force to clock up 10,000 flight hours on the type. (Photo: Dassault Aviation)

Egypt became the type’s first international customer with an order for 24 Rafales in February 2015 consisting of 16 Rafale B (Rafale DM) two-seaters and eight Rafale C (Rafale EM) single-seaters. A second order in May 2021 added another 30 Rafales (18 single-seaters and 12 twin-seaters) to be delivered between 2024 and 2026. All of the Egyptian Air Force’s Rafales are of the F3-R standard.

The Egyptian Air Force has used its Rafales in combat operations against Islamic State targets in North Africa.

Peter Felstead