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.com/

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.com/

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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.com/

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.com/

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RAFALE and MiG-35 fighter aircraft to take part in Aero India 2011

The Aero India airshow expects to display the 6 MRCA contenders – the French Rafale; the Russian MiG-35; the U.S. F-16 & F-18; the Swedish JAS 39; and the European Typhoon which all compete for a big tender to propose the Indian Air Force a new multirole fighterjet.

The show will take place near Bangalore at the Yelahanka air force station from February 9th.

Enjoy this video shot during the Paris Airshow 2009:

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RAFALE, GRIPEN, TYPHOON for Swiss AF – Purchase postponed!

Dassault RAFALE fighter aircraft aerobatics
RAFALE - Photo © Xavier Cotton - http://passiondesavions.blogspot.com/

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.com/

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.com/

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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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