The flight lasted less than seven hours. The establishment, on Sept. 1, of the BA 104 is the first step in the process to establish a permanent French military presence in the United Arab Emirates (designated IMFEAU), as agreed by the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Jan. 15, 2008 by French Defence Minister Hervé Morin, who accompanied French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his official visit to the UAE. The IMFEAU will ultimately comprise a naval support base, an army combat group and an air base. It is the concrete consequence of the strategic partnership concluded in 1995 by the two countries by the signature of bilateral agreements. The French Air Force Mirage 2000-5s will be deployed on Al Dhafra air base alongside the Mirage 2000-9s operated by the United Arab Emirates Air Force.