(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.
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.
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.
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.
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/)