RAFALE omnipresent at Paris Air Show 2011

RAFALE Le Bourget Airshow
RAFALE Le Bourget 2009 – Xavier Cotton http://www.passionpourlaviation.fr

No other fighter aircraft will be as omnipresent at the Paris Air Show as the Rafale as it has been shorlisted for India’s MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) tender along with the Eurofighter. The IAF (Indian Air Force) is to order 126 multirole fighter aircraft for a deal of up to $10 billion. The French Dassault Rafale is still in competition with the Swedish SAAB JAS 39 Gripen, and the American F/A-18E/F Super Hornet in Brazil.

The Rafale also remains with the Gripen, and the Eurofighter in the Swiss NAC competition in order to replace the Swiss Air Force F-5s. The French Air Force has already demonstrated through the Rafale its combat readiness in Afghanistan, and over Libya. Its brand new reconnaissance pod Reco NG is now flying, and it managed to strike moving targets with its laser-guided AASM – Air-to-Ground Modular Weapon – beyond all expectations.

Its new Thales RBE2-AA AESA radar is still being developed. It has already been tested, and should be fully operational next year.

ToT (Transfer of Technology) has been pledged for the Rafale if the Indian government were to make its procurement decision.

Special thanks to Xavier Cotton, an aviation geek who provided the top left picture. Please visit his website http://passiondesavions.blogspot.fr/ full of fantastic posts about aircraft of all time as well as from everywhere.

 

FLYING from Paris to New-York in 1.5 hours at Mach 4 !

This is the brand new project being designed by EADS, and supported by Japan as well as the French DGAC (Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile – FAA or CAA equivalent). The European consortium has just unveiled its ZEHST project as the Paris Air Show 2011 is opening. ZEHST stands for Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation.

This aircraft would be both a commercial airplane, and a rocket. It could cruise at « flight level 1056 » i.e. 20 miles or 32 kilometers above the mean sea level… The ZEHST specifications feature a speed of Mach 4 but according to the video below, it might reach Mach 4.5 i.e. 5,500 km/h or 3,000 kts through the stratosphere. It would use two independent turbojets for taking off, then it would gain speed thanks to two cryogenic rocket engines, finally two ramjets would propell the aircraft to hypersonic speeds.

The ZEHST is supposed to pollute far less than the Concorde as it would have a main cruise stage in the stratospheric layers, and according to EADS, its carbon footprint should be very low. There could between 60 and 100 passengers on board who could join Tokyo from Paris in 2.5 hours instead of 11.5, and New-York in 1.5 hours instead of 8! The prototype is expected to fly by 2020, and the first passengers might enjoy stratospheric flights around 2050.

Watch the video:

AIRBUS VISIONARY PROJECT – TRANSPARENT AIRLINER

Airbus has just unveiled a revolutionary concept through images of a transparent airliner design.

This aircraft of the future will use the latest technology – bionic structure; blended airframe; enhanced laminar flow and noise reduction; blended V-tail; biomorphing seats; leading-edge relaxation systems; human body thermal recycling; dramatic panoramic view; round of golf; etc.

Airbus will showcase their project called Concept Cabin during the Paris Air Show, at Le Bourget Airport. A movie – Airbus Future of Flight – will also be shown in a 360° planetarium at the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace from 20 to 26 June 2011. Watch what travelling by plane could be… 40 years ahead:

Special thanks to Thierry HERMAS – Aeronautical English teacher at the French Air Force Academy (EOAA, Salon de Provence) – who passed the video link on. Thank you very much indeed.

INDIA’s Fighter Aircraft Deal – RAFALE & TYPHOON still incompetition

The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) should be a European fighter jet. India shortlisted the Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Rafale for a $12 billion fighter jet deal. 126 fighter aircraft are to be ordered! As controversial rumours have spread for months through the Internet and the Indian channels, nobody could be certain of the sort of decision that could be made. For instance, remember this idea of purchasing two different combat aircraft that was issued a few months ago. Then, the news came right out of the blue yesterday April 28, 2011. Indeed the American, Russian, and Swedish jetfighters have been discarded.

According to the video hereafter,

The high-flying American campaign to win the $10 billion multirole combat aircraft tender has crashed.

The Indian Defence Ministry confirmed that the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the latest F-16IN were out of the race. Neither of these U.S. fighters would have met the Indian Air Force’s technical requirements during the trials that were also submitted to the JAS-39 Gripen; the MiG-35; the Rafale; and the Typhoon.

RAFALE aerobatics at La Ferté Alais Airshow 2010
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 - Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

One may wonder why the Gripen was not selected in this competition. Well, this excellent aircraft is not equipped with any arrestor hook, and that is probably why it has not been kept in the race for this tender.

According to previous articles in this very website, the assumption that a Rafale might have shot down an F-22 Raptor plus some other rumours about the French combat aircraft performance left my readers in utter disbelief two years ago.

It is important to notice that the Rafale purchase is a rather expensive option. However, it should also be noted that, in spite of the modest political clout of France in India, as well as its price tag – $90 million – the Dassault Rafale remains in the final competition. A transfer-of-technology amendment might be added to the contract.

As the Super Hornet and the Super Viper have been rejected, this is a deep disapointment for Lockheed Martin; McDonnell Douglas; Boeing; General Dynamics; as well as a real watershed in the geopolitical approach in Asia.

Photo courtesy: Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

Brazil to buy U.S. F-18s instead of French Rafales

RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 - © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

According to Le Monde, and Reuters the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff would much rather have American F/A-18 Super Hornets than buy French Dassault Rafales to upgrade the FAB – Força Aérea Brasileira, the Brazilian Air Force.

Mrs Rousseff would have stated that the American fighter aircraft would be superior to the Rafale when she met with Timothy Geithner current United States Secretary of the Treasury.

One may wonder why as the Rafale is almost superior to the Super Hornet in almost every skill as far as performance is concerned.

Last but not least, the radius of combat of the French fighter is far longer than its rivals. The Brazilian president is to make a decision presently.

However, and particularly because of the range difference, it would not be wise to reject the Rafale in a country as vast as Brazil. Anyway, everybody knows that wisdom has nothing to do with such decision 😉

Photo courtesy: © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/