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/

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Charges of forgery in alleged fake pilot licenses

The Indian DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is getting through a major crisis – following a nose-wheel landing performed by an Indian pilot last January, investigators have found out a string of fraudulent grade sheets since late 2010.

Twenty-nine pilots have been arrested, and twelve other pilots have been held under arrest. However, the vast majority of the Indian pilots – around 8,000 – are deemed to be genuine pilots i.e. officially certified.

Watch the video:

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7 major airlines outsourcing 40% of their maintenance

A Boeing 737-300 has recently been forced to perform an emergency landing after an explosive depressurization due to a rather big hole in its fuselage. Reports suggested that some MRO (Maintenance; Repair; and Overhaul) operations had been outsourced to El Salvador, and might have caused such an accident.

However, the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) said that the last heavy « C » check – the last major MRO operation on the aircraft – was performed at the Dallas Southwest maintenance facilities in March 2010.

The TWU (Transport Workers Union) has condemned the use of aircraft repair stations outside the USA, calling on Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to toughen the FAA’s oversight – Watch the video:

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Discrimination in the skies? UK’s Air Passenger Duty explained

Every passenger departing the UK has to pay a fee. It varies depending where you are flying to, and where you are sitting on the plane. APD – Air Passenger Duty – is divided into four categories or bands based on the distance between London, and the final destination. Watch the video about this « banding system » hereafter:

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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/

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