The Gulf state of Kuwait is to test Rafale jets in June before making a final decision on buying the French-made warplanes, the defence minister was quoted as telling MPs on Sunday.
"The defence minister told MPs that the deal is so far in the early stage of offers and making the technical assessment by the ministry," government spokesman Mohammad al-Baseeri told reporters outside parliament.
"These will continue until June when the plane will be tested in Kuwait," Baseeri, also communications minister, said after Defence Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah had talks with parliament's interior and defence committee.
"The defence minister also pledged that the deal will not be signed before completing all constitutional and legal requirements and after the deal passes through the Audit Bureau," Baseeri added.
The meeting came after a number of opposition MPs last week threatened to grill either the prime minister or the defence minister if the multi-billion dollar deal was signed.
The opposition MPs claimed that technical assessment by the Kuwaiti air force has recommended against the deal, saying Rafale was technically inferior to other international aircraft and more expensive.
The chief of staff of the French armed forces, Admiral Edouard Guillaud, who was in Kuwait last week, defended the Rafale as one of the best jets in the world, saying talks over the deal are proceeding in complete transparency.
He said that France has proposed that Kuwait replace its old Mirage jets with the advanced Rafale and the Kuwaiti government asked to study the offer.
Last month, Sheikh Jaber said the Rafale deal remained a priority.
In October, Kuwait and France signed a new defence agreement and discussed details of the Rafale deal.
During a Gulf tour in February 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said discussions had begun with Kuwait on the sale of between 14 and 28 Rafales, which are made by Dassault Aviation.