The Swiss might buy Rafale fighter aircraft

Dassault RAFALE fighter aircraft
Rafale - © Xavier Cotton, http://passiondesavions.blogspot.com/

(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.com/

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.com/

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.com/

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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French fighter aircraft performance, F-22, JSF F-35, Typhoon, etc.

F-22 Raptor 5th-generation fighter aircraft - Sonic boom
F-22 Raptor – Sonic boom (U.S. Navy photo by Sonar Technician (Surface) 1st Class Ronald Dejarnett)

As I have been told that this post about Rafales vs Eurofighter Typhoons, F-16s, and F-22s left some in disbelief, I believe it is fair to point out that some elements were written in bold typing as « rumours », and the publications quoted were not « filed » as rumours though it might have been some rumours as well – who knows, indeed?

For instance, many times gossip spread about Mirage 2000s that would never shoot F-16s down. Never ever? Watch below…

Many (on a global basis – which means not everybody) people still believe that no Rafale could outperform any F-16. Let us watch hereafter (in French, sorry).

For those who cannot speak French, it is mentioned in this video that the Rafales defeated the F-16s in a US AFB, and the score would have been 6 – 2.

Well, let us go back to the previous Rafales’ performance post for I have not added further information I had read before 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. I am going to update my previous article about this figure.

Last but not least: 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 is the rating 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?

Some might say « it was just an illusion ». Well, why not? Illusion would be everywhere – as for instance:

  • Do you really think that a serious R&D organisation is used to issuing so-called inaccurate reports?
  • Do you really think that a DGA/CHEAr research director would recognize that the Rafale can be on a par with the JSF / F-35 Lightning II? This is what happened during a symposium (colloque) in January 2006.

As a conclusion, many people still believe that F-16s can outperform Rafales, MiG-29s, Eurofighters, and even Su-27s. This is not an illusion.

Photo: www.navy.mil courtesy

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Depot Efforts Continue to Keep T-38s Flying

USAF T-38 Trainer Aircraft

The T-38 Talon is a twin-engine, high-altitude, supersonic jet trainer. It is used primarily in Air Education and Training Command for undergraduate pilot and pilot instructor training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Thurow)

AIR FORCE LINK Courtesy
by Wayne Crenshaw
78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

10/20/2008 – ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. (AFNS)

Members of the 573rd Commodities Maintenance Squadron here continue to put in long hours to make sure Air Force pilot training doesn’t come to a halt.

Many members of the squadron have been working 10-hour days, seven days a week to make a new aileron actuator lever for the T-38 Talon used to train pilots. A T-38 crashed in April, killing the instructor and student. A faulty aileron lever was declared a contributing factor in the crash. The problem threatened to ground all T-38s, but officials at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center and at Air Force Materiel Command’s two other depots, Hill AFB, Utah, and Tinker AFB, Okla., took on the task of developing a replacement lever. While about 32 people have hands-on involvement in the lever work at Robins AFB, the importance of the work results in the squadron participating in weekly, worldwide conference calls to update progress of the work. Tommy Hunnicutt, deputy director of the 573rd CMMXS, said he expects the squadron personnel to boost their output to 75 levers per week, which would put completion of the contract at about Nov. 14. That would be well ahead of the original completion date of Dec. 26.

Mr. Hunnicutt said that initially Robins AFB was not in the repair picture. However, the other two depots had problems getting their prototypes approved for the item that requires precise, intricate milling. That raised concerns about how long the fix could take, Mr. Hunnicutt said, and that’s when the 573rd CMMXS got the call. After getting the contract July 30, squadron engineers got a prototype approved Aug. 25 with relative ease. Unit personnel are now producing 50 levers per week. The contract calls for the squadron to produce 250 left hand levers and 250 right hand levers. The levers control the ailerons, which are located on the rear of each wing and are used to control the aircraft during a turn.

Due to the age of the T-38, the original aluminum forgings used to make the levers are no longer available, which is why the parts had to be manufactured from scratch.

Air Force officials currently operate 546 T-38s, a twin-engine jet that serves as the primary trainer for Air Force pilots. It also has the same basic airframe as the F-5 Freedom Fighter, and Mr. Hunnicutt said the F-5 aileron levers also will be replaced.

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