Uzbekistan UzAF MiG 29 credit Scramble Archive 640Next in line for Rafales: Uzbekistan?

On 2 November 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron visited the Uzbek capital Tashkent. During the visit, bilateral economic ties were high on the agenda. According to sources within the French government, the Uzbek government has expressed interest in purchasing 24 Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France.

Currently, the Oʻzbekiston Harbiy havo kuchlari (UzAF, Uzbek Air Force) operates just over a dozen MiG-29 (9-13) fighter jets from Qarshi-Xonobod, and about 20 Su-25 attack aircraft from the same base.

In recent years, the UzAF has acquired western aircraft like four Airbus C295MW transport aircraft as well as about a dozen Airbus H125 and sixteen H215 helicopters, increasing its troop transport and assault capabilities. However, operating a complex fighter aircraft like the Dassault Rafale would require a considerable change in doctrine for the Uzbek military.

Uzbekistan UzAF patch 320Moreover, the production line of the Rafale is fully booked for the coming years, with orders from Croatia, Egypt, France, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, and with Saudi Arabia still under negotiation. With only limited production capability, Dassault may have to significantly increase its production pace to cope with the Rafale’s growing popularity.

Credit photo: MiG-29 of Uzbek AF (Scramble archive)

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