RAFALE multirole fighterjet at Paris Air Show 2011

The French Dassault RAFALE multirole fighter aircraft should be omnipresent at Le Bourget PAS 2011 as it has been shortlisted as a final competitor versus the Typhoon Eurofighter for the Indian MMRCA tender which will make a decision on the purchase of up to 126 multirole jetfighters. Furthermore, the French aircraft is still a contender in the Brazilian bid request, and it has been shortlisted in the Swiss NAC tender.

Nonetheless – and maybe « thanks » to some media always « forgetting » to state the outstanding results of the RAFALE in theaters of operations as well as in exercises and evaluations – this state-of-the-art fighter has never been exported so far… Watch the video – First comments in French, then in English:

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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.

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Volcanic ash posing a threat to flight safety

Sunday 5/22/2011 – Breaking news:

The Grimsvötn volcano began erupting yesterday. It is located underneath the uninhabited Vatnajokull glacier in southeastern Iceland. As it has been sending ash into the skies up to flight level 650 i.e. 65,000 ft or around 20 kilometers or 12 miles.

The European fleets might be grounded due to the spreading of an ash cloud which is forecast to drift over Scotland on Tuesday – May 24, 2011 – and expected to reach France and Spain by Thursday or Friday. Here is an interesting short documentary about how the scientists examine the volcanic ash, and how they determine that it can pose a threat to aircraft.

Watch the video:

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Solar Impulse’s first international flight

Andre Borschberg took off from Switzerland, flew across France,then Luxembourg, and Belgium, and finally landed safely thanks to the sunlight-powered HB-SIA Solar Impulse in Brussels in the evening of May 13, 2011. Bertrand Piccard was there:

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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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