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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RAFALE or EUROFIGHTER to become next Indian Air Force fighter jet according to Indian media – Russian and US media deny

Rafale fighter aircraft aerobatics at La Ferté Allais airshow in 2010
RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 - © Xavier Cotton http://passiondesavions.blogspot.de/

Amazing rumours have spread for a couple of days regarding the MMRCA (Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) or the MRCA Tender which is an ongoing competition to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft maybe up to 189 fighter jets.

The Indians have considered 6 bidders so far:

Typhoon (European Eurofighter Consortium)
Rafale (French Dassault)
MiG-35 Fulcrum-F (Russian UAC subsidiary RSK-MiG)
Gripen NG/IN or JAS 39 (Swedish Saab)
Super Hornet F/A-18 E/F (US Boeing)
F-16IN Fighting Falcon (US Lockheed Martin)

As you can watch the video below, two fighter aircraft have been quoted as finalists for the last stage: The EUROFIGHTER-Typhoon and the RAFALE.

However, American and Russian media deem that such statement cannot be true. Official results should be announced soon. Well, wait and see…

Photo above: RAFALE La Ferté Alais 2010 – © Xavier Cotton PASSION pour l’AVIATION

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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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South African Atlas Denel Cheetah

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RAFALE vs Typhoon/Eurofighter, F-16s, and even F-22Raptor! Guess which gives the others a rough ride?

French Navy RAFALE fighter aircraft takeoff from a carrier aircraft deck
RAFALE to defeat any other fighter aircraft? Photo:©  Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes

Strange as it may seem, the French have not managed to export Rafale fighter aircraft so far… However, the Rafale has been deemed to be an excellent fighter aircraft so many times – formidable in dogfighting, awesome when it strikes, and its superb CATIA-designed streamlining turns it into a feline grace nonetheless redoubtable whenever it is to be challenged in the skies.

There have already been rumours such as:

Rafales – thanks to its RCS (Radar Cross Section) –  would have beaten F/A-18s Hornet.

– After several dogfights reported between the Rafale and the Raptor, ( Rafale vs F-22 Raptor:  1 – 1 , according to the rumours ) BVR engagement exercises would have been cancelled. Another version deems that F-22s never took part in such exercises, so what did they do there at that time? Sightseeing? Not to mention the F-22’s withdrawal at the Paris Air Show 2009…

– The Rafale was onboard American CVs (aircraft carriers) in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The rumour in forums spread about American fighter aircraft that could not stand the Rafales’ level of performance during exercises.

But who knows, actually? However, some other elements have also been reported. They do not come from forums or blogs. So, can they be called « rumours »?

For instance, I still remember an article from The New York Times dated July 16th 2006. It was reported that the Rafales could outfly F-15, F-16 and F-18 opponents in dogfights. They also won against F-15s and Eurofighter Typhoons in technical and performance evaluations . The American media paid tribute to the French jet but almost nobody knew that in France at that time. How bizarre… Well, it must be admitted that there is a curious fad in France that consists in criticizing everything that works.

Remember, according to French TF1 channel in 2008… This was the balance sheet:

FAF Rafales vs USAF F-16s :  6 – 2

Moreover, the former Red Arrows team leader – Peter Collins – stated last month that it should be done justice to this aircraft for the Rafale would be according to him – as he had just flown a standard F3 Rafale – a « war-fighter par excellence ». He added that he deemed the Rafale to be the best and most complete combat aircraft that he had ever flown. He concluded in saying that if he had to go into combat, on any mission, against anyone, he would, without question, choose the Rafale.

Last but not least, the French Rafales would have slammed – if I may put it this way – the other aircraft in an exercise in the UAE – United Arab Emirates. Even the F-22 Raptor – though 5th generation fighter – could hardly do anything to « tame » this tough challenger. According to Jean-Marc Tanguy’s information, defence journalist, the balance sheet lies in the figures hereafter:

Dogfighting (with Rafale weapons system’s performance lowered on purpose):

FAF Rafales vs RAF Typhoons :  4 – 0

Dogfighting with further Rafale weapons system reduction:

FAF Rafales vs RAF Typhoons :  3 – 1

Final balance sheet (in both scenarii the Rafales did not have full weapons systems…):

FAF Rafales vs RAF Typhoons :  7 – 1

Not to mention Rafales outperform F-16CJs in targeting while in air-to-air and ground attacks thanks to the Rafale’s FSO – Front Sector Optronic.

I read 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.

Furthermore, 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 are the ratings 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?

You will find an excerpt below of Jean-Marc Tanguy’s post from his blog « Le Mamouth« :

French Navy's Rafale multirole fighter aircraft on deck with shooter
Rafale on deck – U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes

La première confrontation engageant quatre Rafale contre quatre Typhoon s’est terminée par un 4-0 en faveur des Français. Malgré, explique-t-on, l’emport d’un armement air-air fictivement dégradé. Après avoir un peu dégradé encore l’armement, le Rafale l’a encore emporté, 3-1.
Le Rafale a été confronté au F22 lors d’un vol, mais dans un cadre limité au combat air-air à vue. Il n’aurait été dans le collimateur du chasseur américain qu’ à une reprise, explique t-on aussi. CLIQUEZ ICI pour lire L’ARTICLE ENTIER en français

Citation du Mamouth – Le Mamouth courtesy

Photos: U.S. Air Force Link

Rafales on movie below:

You can read more recent information here: http://airforces.fr/2010/02/14/french-fighter-aircraft-performance/

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