|A Rafale prepares to refuel on it way to libya|
Extract from the article :
"MOST UNSEEMLY" In the immediate PR battle over Libya, analysts say the Rafale appears to be winning. Not only was it handed a front-page role on the first day of the conflict, but it also scored a symbolic victory by reaching Libya equipped for air-to-ground attack, something the Typhoon has so far only done in tests. The Typhoon is focussing instead on air-to-air warfare against an enemy whose air force has been more or less pinned to the ground by strikes on radars and air defences.
French officials dismiss any suggestion of deliberate showmanship in the deployment of Rafales in the opening hours of the conflict, saying their flexibility made them right for the task of destroying tanks that were closing on rebel positions in eastern Libya. But there is no doubt the lead taken by Sarkozy signals a more confident diplomatic posture that France hopes will benefit Rafale sales indirectly. Countries buying fighters must be ready to invest in a diplomatic relationship lasting 30 or 40 years, and competitors are bracing for an all-out French sales offensive once the conflict is over, or even before.
"Sarkozy has done a great job in getting the Rafale out there and hitting a convoy early on. He will go to export markets and say this is what our planes can do," said a defence executive from a rival arms producing nation. [ed. I sense some jealousy here ;)]
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