Thursday, May 5, 2011

MMRCA, The Indian shortlist shock wave

4 Rafale alongside a Su-30MKI - Red Flag 2008/09
Despite being rumored for 9 months, the selection of the Rafale and the Typhoon by the IAF came as a surprise for many observers who thought that US pressure would have prevailed and forced the Indian MoD to keep at least the F/A-18 for the final phase of the contest. Besides, few people was really convinced that the 2 most expensive fighters would be shortlisted. Yet, that's what happened and the aftermaths could spread well beyond the MMRCA.

To explain its decision, the Indian MoD asserts that the shorlist has been made based on the IAF evaluation results only, thus excluding political or economical aspects. In 2009 and 2010 the IAF has indeed conducted one of the most extensive field trial campaign ever made during an international contest : no less than 640 technical points were assessed on all 6 contenders, including the now famous high altitute take off tests at Leh Air base, as well as weapons trials in the countries of origin of each plane.

The fact that the Rafale and the Typhoon emerged as the 2 best planes on technical merit only and after such a comprehensive evalution could become a valuable advertising in other international contests. The first choice of the IAF which has a requirement for 126 of these planes (extensible to 200), will most probably influence the established perception on the respective capabilities of the fighters available on the market : Indeed, US aircrafts are often seen as more capable, no mater what (this MMRCA Analysis by Mr. Tellis is a very good example of this state of mind).

As far as the Rafale is concerned, the F/A-18E elimination by the IAF is a very good news for Dassault as it might facilitate the French company resistance to Boeing's aggressive marketting in the UAE, Qatar and Kuweit.
This is also true for Brazil : The rejection of the Gripen NG and Super Hornet in India is a big setback for Saab and Boeing and one more argument in favor of the Rafale in the FX-2 contest when it will restart. We should not forget that the US ambassador in Brazil was thinking of using the (bogus) Rafale elimination in India, back in 2009, in order to discredit the French plane (as revealed by Wikileaks). The situation is clearly reversed now that the Rafale has received its "approved by the IAF" stamp.

1 comment:

  1. this MMRCA process has been really fair,BOEING has really taken many competitions from DASSAULT,,,rafale has been rather unlucky be it in singapore for f-15s or in korea for f-15k,,,in both of them rafale was the leading competitor...due to its political clout US COMPANIES HAVE WON MANY COMPETITION BUT indian air force is clever it eliminated the americans before the final stage,,,,,i hope rafale wins and india gets the best with it,,,,but the other europeans might win tooo,,because typhoon is also a great jet