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PARIS — France signed arms export contracts worth some €16 billion (US $17.5 billion) in 2015, with Dassault Aviation, MBDA, DCNS and Airbus at the top of the list for the foreign deals, said a Defense Ministry official who declined to be identified.

That is France's highest figure for exports and compares to foreign sales of €8.2 billion in 2014. The figure was driven by the sale of 48 Rafale fighter jets to Egypt and Qatar, which brought in €11.5 billion, with the latter holding options for 12 more units. Airbus sales to South Korea of helicopters and A330 multirole tanker transport aircraft put sales to Asia second to that of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia bought €100 million of French arms.

France imported €1.5 billion of foreign equipment, mostly electronics kit.

Email: ptran@defensenews.com

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