RAFALE, GRIPEN, TYPHOON for Swiss AF – Purchase postponed!

Dassault RAFALE fighter aircraft aerobatics
RAFALE - Photo © Xavier Cotton - http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

08/26/2010 Article adapted from AVIANEWS

As far as the Swiss Air Force is concerned, there has been two options so far – the choice of new fighter aircraft or postponement thereof, the second alternative has been chosen. You will find hereafter the Avianews webmaster’s analysis:

This is the Swiss Federal Council Message:

« However, given the current state of federal finances and priorities taken as a whole, the time of acquisition is postponed to no later than 2015. The Federal Council decided on the proposal of DDPS (Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports) to postpone the replacement of 54 obsolete combat aircraft F-5 Tiger Air Force. The Head of the DDPS, Ueli Maurer held a news conference on the postponement which is expected to last at most until 2015. The Federal Department of Finance and the DDPS together confirm by the end of 2011 the conditions for an acquisition during the second half of the decade.  »

The reasons for non selection:

First, this is an organizational problem from the financial organization of Armée XXI. Remember, the people had voted for the new military organization with a comfortable 70% « yes »! id est a military downsized with a budget of only 4.3 billion Swiss Francs now. However, the parliament has never put forward this budget that painfully reaches 3.6 billion. The Swiss People is reportedly disappointed by such loss of income, and deception as well.

No F-5 replacement:

Eurofighter Typhoon FGR4 on apron
Typhoon FGR4 - Photo © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

Replacing the F-5 is out of the question anymore but to get prepared for the next generation of F/A-18 from 2025. Consequently, there is more urgency to acquire a large number of aircraft as a whole block but split into several ones.

Consequences:

The losers in this case are the Swiss industry and jobs. Indeed, if the cost of a fighter plane is expensive, the returns on partnerships to « Offsets » were significantly higher and would have revitalized both the Swiss manufacturing industry and employment.

Competitors:

The three companies will meet in a few years for a new offer and therefore cannot comment on this « no choice »!

Dassault must be disappointed for they would certainly have won the contract with his Rafale. The version of the Rafale-04T was proposed with more powerful engines, the wiring for the METEOR missile, the new targeting pod Damocles XF and the brand new IDM (Improved Data Modem).

It bodes well for Saab because they now may complete the Swedish version of the Gripen E / F (NG), whose development is not completed yet and find a buyer with the Swedish Air Force (SwAF). Indeed, it must order the Gripen E / F by 2015.

EADS Eurofighter will be able to finalize its AESA E-scan radar and they are likely to reduce maintenance costs of the aircraft as promised this summer to the Switzerland Economy Minister Doris Leuthard at the ILA Berlin Airshow.

… To be continued …

Photos © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

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The Swiss might buy Rafale fighter aircraft

Dassault RAFALE fighter aircraft
Rafale - © Xavier Cotton, http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

(Article adapted from AVIANEWS) According to Pascal – you can read here in French – the Rafale has numerous assets, and might become the winner in the NAC competition to replace the F-5 fleet, id est: Switzerland might buy Dassault’s fighters.

Industrial partnership:

The industrial consortium Rafale International – Dassault Aviation, Snecma (Safran Group), and Thales – MBDA, and their subcontractors are able to offer Switzerland an industrial and scientific cooperation for the benefit of the townships . This offer concerns the whole range of suppliers ie: the military, but also the civilian sector which includes programs for Falcon business jets, the civilian CFM56 engines, and Aircraft and helicopters avionics.

French Air Force RAFALE fighter aircraft aerobatics during airshow
Rafale - © Xavier Cotton, http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

Some elements of the Rafale have already been produced in Switzerland – cockpit, fuel tank and more recently additional elements of the Thales radar RBE2.

The offer includes the outsourcing of many structural components, final assembly andmaintenance in Switzerland for all of the Rafale program, and research and development. The manufacture of weapons (MICA missiles) is also proposed and the development of helmet-mounted sight GERFAUT are also concerned, as well as systems such as the system of self-protection SPECTRA and OSF (Front Sector Optronic).

France would have confirmed the Swiss access to all technologies used in the aircraft including development tools, source codes, and to the most sensitive data.

Optimized for Switzerland:

According to Dassault, the Rafale would suit Switzerland, because as a neighbor, the military and industrial collaboration can be eased considerably. Moreover, the latest block (F3+) which was tested in Switzerland responded to 95% in specifications and offers the following possibilities:

  • flight capability in supercruise mode .
  • Short take-off distance.
  • Range and flight capacity extended, enabling long surveillance missions.
  • Swiss militia could carry out fast preflight checks.
  • Ease of integration into the structures already built.

Multisensor system proposed:

The proposed version of the Rafale in Switzerland is the most recent available, that is to say the block F3+ (sometimes identified F4). This version is not in service yet. However, 60 Rafales of this kind were ordered by the French Air Force and Navy in late December 2009. The F3+ features:

  • Thales AESA Radar RBE-2AA .
  • SPECTRA self-protection system.
  • New-generation OSF (Optronic Front Sector).
  • Latest data link 16 (Link16 – MIDS).
  • NCW (Net Centric Warfare) data fusion system.
Dassault RAFALE air intake
Rafale - © Xavier Cotton, http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

In terms of propulsion, it is not excluded that a more powerful version of the SNECMA M-88 jet engine might be available

(to be confirmed).

Military training cooperation:

Switzerland is already training with the French Air Force (air-to-air refueling, and EPERVIER exercise). In case of Rafale acquisition, pilots would also have flight simulators at their disposal as well as several training sectors in France. De plus, la base aérienne 113 de Saint-Dizier serait ouverte pour nos pilotes. Moreover, the air base 113  at Saint-Dizier – already equipped with Rafale facilities – would welcome the Swiss pilots.

French Air Force RAFALE multirole fighter aircraft aerobatics during airshow
Rafale - © Xavier Cotton, http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

Pascal’s comments:

Although not a favorite in early trials, the F3 + version has demonstrated its excellent capabilities and respond in exemplary fashion to the specifications. In addition, Dassault personnel were able to conduct a remarkable campaign thanks to both technical and interpersonal skills. The Rafale now has many assets that could very well do to win the Helvetian market!

(Article adapted from Pascal’s AVIANEWS blog – Photos: © Xavier Cotton’s gallery and his blog http://passiondesavions.blogspot.com/)

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French fighter aircraft performance, F-22, JSF F-35, Typhoon, etc.

F-22 Raptor 5th-generation fighter aircraft - Sonic boom
F-22 Raptor – Sonic boom (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett)

As I have been told that this post about Rafales vs Eurofighter Typhoons, F-16s, and F-22s left some in disbelief, I believe it is fair to point out that some elements were written in bold typing as « rumours », and the publications quoted were not « filed » as rumours though it might have been some rumours as well – who knows, indeed?

For instance, many times gossip spread about Mirage 2000s that would never shoot F-16s down. Never ever? Watch below…

Many (on a global basis – which means not everybody) people still believe that no Rafale could outperform any F-16. Let us watch hereafter (in French, sorry).

For those who cannot speak French, it is mentioned in this video that the Rafales defeated the F-16s in a US AFB, and the score would have been 6 – 2.

Well, let us go back to the previous Rafales’ performance post for I have not added further information I had read before from a remarkable Swiss aviation specialist’s website: AVIA NEWS. Pascal – AVIA NEWS webmaster – let me quote his analysis according to which the Rafale obtained the best score (95%) among the fighter aircraft evaluated for choosing which will replace the Swiss Air Force’s F-5 Tiger. The other two competitors were the SAAB JAS-39 Gripen, and the Eurofighter / Typhoon. I am going to update my previous article about this figure.

Last but not least: The Dutch did compare various fighter aircraft in 2002. Who remembers? The RNLAF – the Royal Netherlands Air Force – carried out this study and the balance sheet came out in the Dutch press:

Here is the rating reported:

F-35 = 6.97

RAFALE = 6.95

Eurofighter = 5.83

F-16 Block 60 = 5.80

Well, we must admit that the JSF / F-35 Lightning II is the best fighter among those that were assessed. However it was a close shave, wasn’t it?

Some might say « it was just an illusion ». Well, why not? Illusion would be everywhere – as for instance:

  • Do you really think that a serious R&D organisation is used to issuing so-called inaccurate reports?
  • Do you really think that a DGA/CHEAr research director would recognize that the Rafale can be on a par with the JSF / F-35 Lightning II? This is what happened during a symposium (colloque) in January 2006.

As a conclusion, many people still believe that F-16s can outperform Rafales, MiG-29s, Eurofighters, and even Su-27s. This is not an illusion.

Photo: www.navy.mil courtesy

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RAFALE evaluation in SWITZERLAND

French Air Force RAFALE fighter aircraft takeoff

The next aircraft (the last one was the Gripen) being evaluated in the framework of the replacement of the Swiss F-5, is the Dassault-Aviation-manufactured RAFALE until November 7. Two two-seaters stationed at Emmen airfield – Switzerland – are being tested the same way the two Swedish Gripens were tested previously.

Latest Dassault Aviation creation, the RAFALE performed its maiden flight on July 4, 1986! Its program highlighted all the major French suppliers such as: SNECMA for the M88 engine; Thales (former Thomson – CSF) for the RBE-2 phased array radar; Dassault systems; SAGEM (electronics and optronics); and the English Messier – Dowty for the landing gear.

Unlike the Mirage 2000 which versus its American competitors, the RAFALE does not fear its opponents as far as technical performance is concerned:

  • RBE-2 phased array radar
  • Latest generation SPECTRA (electronic warfare system)
  • OSF (Front-sector optronic system)
  • a GPS (Global Positioning System)
  • last but not least: a lower cost of development and maintenance compared to the majority of its opponents…

The RAFALE has a wide range of weapons at its disposal: the infrared and radar MICA missile, the SCALP (air-to-surface cruise missile) as well as the future long-range European METEOR missile. The multirole Dassault fighter aircraft is able to be equipped with various American-made bombs: Laser-guided Paveway III, for instance, but it is a shame that foreign weapons have not been licensed for the RAFALE yet.

The RAFALE fighter aircraft are parted into three standards:

  • F1 standard: air-to-air-mission dedicated only. This standard fields the French Fleet Air Arm.
  • F2 standard: encompasses the F1 standard, and has the air-to-surface capability to its disposal. The French Air Force is fielded with these aircraft.
  • F3 standard encompasses the previous skills plus the strategic capability which enables this fighter to carry out nuclear-deterrence/strike missions, reconnaissance missions, and anti-ship-strike missions. This latter standard might field the Swiss Air Force (without the nuclear and anti-ship capabilities)

SOURCE :

AVIANEWS Article

Photos 1 & 2 French Air Force, Rafale 5/330 Squadron Côte-D’argent at Dijon.

Photo 3 Pascal Kümmerling, Rafale of the 5/330 at Geneva during BEX meeting in 2007.

Bern, 09th of October 2008 – Photo: Pascal Kümmerling – The second applicant to the replacement of the Tigers ( TTE ) landing at Emmen. The French RAFALE has already started the second TTE in-flight and ground-test series in Switzerland. The European EADS Eurofighter third and last applicant will follow in November.

About thirty flights are scheduled among which some night flights for the tests at Emmen. Around 50 sorties will be needed. They will be carried out by F/A-18s, and F-5s in order to make up the targets (means playing the role of targets) and the formation flying tests. The assessment flights occur within the frame of the flights share, which means that there should not be any increase in the number of sorties on the airfields that are concerned.

The sequel: The arrival of the European EADS Eurofighter is expected on November 6, 2008. The testing syllabus is the same for the three fighter aircraft.

The flight and ground tests will be examined as well as the tenders that were handed in on July 2nd, 2008. The collected data will be used as a basis for a second call for tenders in January 2009.

The choice of the type of aircraft should come after the evaluation of the second tender, assessing equipment and price, and when everything has been put down on a balance-sheet report expected in May 2009. Then the choice should be stated in July 2009.

These aircraft belong to the 1/7 « Provence » Fighter Squadron stationed at Saint Dizier – Robinson. The « Provence » was the first squadron that had been operational with the RAFALE. The first 1/7 RAFALE flight happened in 2006. Photos: Pascal Kümmerling.

VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Pascal Kümmerling since this post is adapted from his articles on his blog called AVIA NEWS: http://psk.blog.24heures.ch/

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