The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considering the purchase of France’s Rafale fighter jet – which is yet to be sold overseas.

The UAE currently owns a fleet of French Mirage 2000 planes.

“The UAE is seriously considering replacing its fleet of Mirage 2000 combat planes with the French new generation Rafale fighter starting in 2013,” an official was quoted as saying by the state Wam news agency, Associated Press reports.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the announcement is “good news” for France.

He says there are “no fixed dates, nor have commercial negotiations begun” but added that “discussions will be held in the coming weeks”.

Aircraft maker Dassault has yet to find a foreign buyer for the Rafale, which can carry out interception and reconnaissance missions as well as nuclear strikes.

By staff writer