The French Air Force and Navy has hired Dassault Aviation to provide most
of the maintenance for its Rafale fighters (which Dassault manufactures). The ten
year contract obliges to Dassault to be paid on the basis of flight hours. This
contract does not cover the engine, radar, countermeasures or weapons systems.
Those items may be covered by a separate contract. This sort of maintenance
deal is becoming more popular, even though it can put more civilians in combat
zones. This itself is not unusual, as manufacturer engineers have long served
in combat zones to assist in the repair and maintenance of military equipment.
Better predictive statistics techniques enable the maintenance suppliers to
carry out these contracts profitably and reliably.