French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (C) gestures as he visits a new branch of the Lycee Francais (LFC) for the secondary classes on al-Merag campus on October 11, 2015 during its inauguration in al-Maadi district in the south of the Egyptian capital Cairo. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: France and Saudi Arabia are to agree big aerospace contracts when French Prime Minister Manuel Valls visits the kingdom on Tuesday, sources close to the matter said on Sunday.

Valls is on a tour of several Middle Eastern countries which began on Saturday in Cairo with the signing of a deal with Egypt to sell two helicopter carriers.

One source said that important contracts would be agreed with Saudi Arabia and another source said that there would be a military contract with Airbus Helicopters.

Saudi Arabia has shown interest recently in purchasing flexible assault naval vessels like the Mistral helicopter carriers sold to Egypt as well as multi-purpose Fremm frigates.

However, negotiations are so far not underway.

The country is also interested in spy satellites made by French defence group Thales, which has flagged hopes of winning a big contract with Riyadh.

France meanwhile hopes to sell Saudi Arabia two next-generation European pressurised reactors made by the state-controlled nuclear group Areva.

France agreed to sell the Mistral helicopter carriers to Egypt after cancelling a deal with Russia over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in Cairo on Saturday that the Mistral deal with Egypt was worth about 950 million euros ($1.1 billion), including modifications and training. The two vessels are expected to be delivered in February and March.