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

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


Qualification Pilote FCL .055 Anglais OACI en France – Ce qu’il Faut Savoir

(Dernière mise à jour – 10 mai 2016)

Important: le FCL 1.028 et FCL 1.200 seront remplacés respectivement par les FCL .055 et FCL .055 D à compter du 9 avril 2013.

Depuis le 5 mars 2011, tout pilote désireux de quitter l’espace aérien français doit avoir validé les deux cases FCL 1.028 et FCL 1.200 (Cases XII et XIII) sur sa licence (FCL pour Flight Crew Licensing). Cependant ces exigences peuvent aller plus loin (lire les liens de la DGAC ci-dessous)

Certain pilotes étaient détenteurs de la QRI (Qualification de Radiotéléphonie Internationale) et ont bénéficié de la « loi du grand-père ». D’autres ont passé une FCL 1.200 (FCL .055D) qui leur a permis d’incrémenter le niveau requis pour le FCL 1.028 (FCL .055 IR ou VFR).

Désormais la qualification de radiotéléphonie en langue anglaise (QRI ou FCL 1.200 en VFR ou IFR) ne suffit plus. Il faut justifier au minimum du niveau 4 OACI (Organisation de l’Aviation Civile Internationale ou ICAO en anglais) à l’examen FCL .055 qui est une qualification différente (en langue anglaise principalement) du FCL .055D de la DGAC (qui est un examen de RTF – radiotéléphonie).

Il faut d’abord présenter le FCL .055D pour la DGAC (pas obligatoire pour d’autres organismes examinateurs) puis ensuite à échéance de votre compétence linguistique (sauf pour ceux qui ont obtenu le niveau 6),  l’examen FCL .055 ordinaire (sans QCM de compréhension de documents issus de l’aéronautique). Pour l’instant, les formats de ces deux examens se ressemblent si ce n’est que l’épreuve écrite fait partie du FCL .055D mais pas du FCL .055.

Avoir une bonne moyenne ne suffit pas: c’est la note la plus basse des sept compétences évaluées qui est retenue. Autrement dit, il faut être au mieux bon en tout et au pire mauvais dans aucune des compétences suivantes:

  • Compréhension orale
  • Prononciation
  • Débit, aisance à l’oral
  • Structures, constructions grammaticales à l’oral
  • Vocabulaire, Champs lexical à l’oral
  • Interaction
  • Compréhension écrite (QCM, uniquement pour le FCL 1.200)

On peut trouver de nombreuses informations sur des forums mais il y a un risque d’interprétation voire d’erreur et il vaut mieux prendre les informations à jour et à la source, c’est à dire sur ces liens de la DGAC (certains devraient de nouveau être mis à jour):

  1. Le contrôle de compétence linguistique du FCL .055

  2. Les modalités du contrôle de compétence linguistique

  3. L’examen FCL 1.200

Vous pouvez télécharger les publications suivantes (en partie bilingues) concernant la radiotéléphonie:

Il est important également d’acquérir le document ICAO PANS-RAC DOC 4444 ainsi que le manuel de radiotéléphonie (Manual of RadiotelephonyDoc 9432). Il est possible de trouver ces documents sur Internet mais attention, il s’agit de versions légèrement périmées et il ne faudrait pas non plus oublier que l’Agence Européenne de la Sécurité Aérienne (AESA, en anglais EASA qui signifie European Aviation Safety Agency) réglemente de plus en plus notre espace aérien.


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:


Legendary Alberto Santos-Dumont – First sportsman of the air

The Brazilian pioneer was the first to demonstrate that controlled flight was possible thanks to his dirigible balloons. He flew his « Number 6 » round the Eiffel Tower as early as 1901. He designed and flew the 14-bis « Oiseau de proie » (Bird of prey) in 1906. This invention was the first fixed-wing flying machine witnessed by the European press and French aviation authorities to achieve an actual controlled flight.

He designed and flew the Demoiselle (Damselfly) in 1908. This aircraft was controlled by wing warping, and a tail unit equipped with a rudder, and an elevator.




First of all, it is not that simple. Last instance: The « World’s Armed Forces Forum » has recently posted a new topic relating to this Prepa PLS Anglais post: /rafale-vs-typhooneurofighter/ which was edited here on December 20, 2009. It is very clear that this was just a post to pass rumors on to other websurfers who may not have already read/heard such gossips.

This post may have been deemed as a preposterous one among the aviation community. That is why I then posted this post: /french-fighter-aircraft-performance/ in early 2010. Well, in hindsight I ought to add that I had forgotten that confrontation between the French Dassault fighter aircraft with the Eurofighter: the Rafales – there were only two of them according to the report – shot down four Typhoons during an exercise. Yes, twice as many…

The assumption that a Rafale might have shot down an F-22 Raptor left my readers in utter disbelief in 2009. Well, in hindsight again, I ought to add that I had forgotten to quote the Korean balance sheet about the Rafale performance, as I had forgotten that a United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) Mirage 2000-9 (variant of Mirage 2000-5 Mk.2) flown by a French pilot would have – virtually – shot down an F-22 Raptor as well…

RAFALE fighter aircraft aerobatics at La Ferté Alais airshow 2010
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 © Xavier Cotton

I would never write anything like « an F-5 cannot down any French jetfighter ». Let us get real on this – I guess that either an F-5 or a MiG-21 could down any Mirage 2000 or Rafale. It depends on the radars; the sensors; the weapon systems used that day; the weather conditions; the pilots’ training; and their skills; the distance – BVR or WVR, not to mention autonomy; etc. When I read that some people remain adamant that any Rafale cannot have downed any F-22 Raptor, I think that they have the right to take such a stance. As I have the right to believe that they are wrong in their assertion. All-in-all, everything would be rumors… So, why should they care about them?

The pragmatic Swiss have honestly stated that they would be interested in the French Rafale for they got the results of their demanding NAC tests. However, due to a shrinking defense budget, they may not buy Rafales.

As far as the Brazilian, Emirati, Greek, and Indian (for MMRCA tender) media are concerned, they have already issued – at least once – breaking news according to which their countries would not purchase any Rafale for it would be « too expensive« .

Blimey! Let them buy what they like. I do not know whether it is worth paying for such performance because with these tenders, it is not a question of purchasing warplanes but foreign policies. Nonetheless, I would not be suprised to learn that some French Rafale pilots might be eager to challenge the brand new Chinese J-20 5th-generation fighter aircraft as it is deemed to be less performant than the F-22 Raptor.

If it were to happen – J-20 vs Rafale – the result would remain, as usual, among the rumors.   😉

Photo: © Xavier Cotton –