DOHA, Qatar — France and Qatar completed the deal for 24 Dassault Rafale fighter jets at the opening day of the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference.

The fighter deal, which includes MBDA missiles, training for 36 pilots and some 100 mechanics, was earlier reported to be worth €6.3 billion (US $6.9 billion); however, it was announced Tuesday that the deal is worth €6.7 billion (US $7.5 billion).

The deal has been made for the same number of jets purchased by Egypt in 2014, but the Qatari deal is priced higher due to the provision of long-range cruise missiles as well as Meteor missiles.

In December, Qatar made a down payment, putting the contract in effect.

The sale to Qatar boosts sales for prime contractor Dassault, radar and systems specialist Thales, and engine-builder Safran. MBDA will supply the missiles.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Khalid Al-Attiah, signed the final memorandum of understanding.

"[The year] 2015 saw, in particular, a decision by the Qatari authorities to buy French Rafales and earlier we signed, consolidated the initiative undertook by Qatari authorities last May, so our relations are good," LeDrian said at the signing. "I wanted to add that our relations with Qatar are global, which means that we share strategic exchanges, information on the situation in the Middle East. We have a strong relation and largely common views."

LeDrian said that he was meeting Al-Attiah at DIMDEX 2016 for the first time in his new cabinet position and stressed that the sale of the fighter jets are to help Qatar protect itself.

"Usually when a country is acquiring weapons, it is to protect itself. When Qatar buys weapons, it is to protect itself, as far as I am concerned," he said.

LeDrian said his government is offering additional systems and capabilities to the Qataris.

"This forum allows to see everything that France can offer in terms of equipment and its capacities, with the different companies and businesses that are here, including in the helicopter field and the naval field. There are ongoing discussions on several topics and they are confidential and honest," he said.

Pierre Tran contributed to this report from Paris.


Twitter: @awadz

Awad Mustafa was a Middle East and Africa correspondent for Defense News.

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