Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Normandie Niemen Squadron Rafale !

Here it  is ! As far as i know, this is the first high viz squadron insigna seen on a Rafale.

Picture credit : ©Peyo
Also read :

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rafale 30,000 hours special paint job making of

Happy Design, the company who made the beautifull Tiger Meet 2011 Mirage 2000C camo as well as the now, most famous "Petit prince" 30,000 hours commemorative paint job on the Rafale C118 and C121 has published a video and some interesting pictures of the different steps of the painting process made by the company ACOS. It took them only 6 days to complete the job using a paint with a different chemical base than the Rafale usual paint  in order to remove it without damaging the military coating of the jets.

Pictures credit: ©S├ębastien OGNIER

Friday, August 26, 2011

The "Neu-Neu" will be back soon

"Neu-Neu" is the nickname of a legendary French squadron, the "Normandie-Niemen" :

In 1942, during World War II, after an initiative by the General De Gaulle, some French entered the Resistance, while others moved to UK, Nothern Africa, Middle East, and Soviet Union so as to fight the Nazis.

Upon those people, some founded the squadron "Normandie" in Libanon. The "Normandie" was then moved to the Ivanoso airfield (250km North East of Moscow) and started its epic battle against the Luftwaffe in 1943, operating the Yak 3 among other types.

They rapidly became famous, decorated by both France and Soviet Union. Staline himself, in July 1944 added "Niemen" to "Normandie" after the name of a river and its associated battle. During the war, the Normandie-Niemen flew 5240 missions, and got 273 confirmed air victories with 36 probable.

After WWII, the "Normandie-Niemen" flew over Indochina, Algeria, Rwando, Bosnia, Serbia...

It was put on standby in July 2009, waiting to be reactivated in 2012 with brand new Rafale F3.

The time has come. The first spotted Rafale F3 flying the legendary Normandie-Niemen insignia is the C129. It left Mont de Marsan on Thursday, 25th of August 2011.

Picture 1 from ECPAD website
Picture 2 from

Edit : while waiting for the first 02.030 Rafale picture, here are some nice patches seen on a Normandie-Niemen pilot at the last Saint Dizier Airshow

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Maks 2011, Rafale solo display

It is also worth noting that this is the first Air Show of the Sukhoi T-50.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Lybia, sortie rate decreases

Since the Charles de Gaulle is not taking part in the no flight zone effort anymore, the French Forces sortie rate has decreased significantly  during the last week.
Without the 10 Rafale M of the aircraft carrier, only 5 French Air Force Rafale B/C are still involved in Libya from the Sigonella Air Base. (let's not forget that 3 other Rafale B/C have also been deployed in Afghanistan)

Looking at the stats, le number of CAS/Interdiction sortie has only slightly decreased (-8%) during the last week, however, the number of reconnaissance sortie has fallen by 30%

source :

Reco-NG pod being installed on a Rafale C

Monday, August 15, 2011

Switzerland may take a decision sooner


Due to a very favourable exchange rate between Swiss Franc and Euro, right now, each fighter considered by Switzerland is less expensive.

In an interview given to the "SonntagsBlick" Euli Maurer, suggest that the DDPS benefits from this situation.
"If the Euro remains weak, we save tens of millions."
Euro-Swiss Franc exchange rate shows that since the 2008 Swiss Air Force evaluation, the Rafale price has become 30% cheaper (same for the Gripen and Eurofighter)
Given an hypothetical Rafale unit price of €70million, the Swiss government would save almost CHF 500 million for a fleet of 22 aircrafts.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A new commander for the BA113

Since July 8th, the Colonel Jean-Pierre Montegu is the new commander of the Saint Dizier French Air force Base (BA113), replacing Colonel Friedling.

Lieutenant-colonel Cedric Gaudilliere is also replacing Lieutenant-colonel Sebastien Michel at the head of the Rafale fighter squadron 01.091 "Gascogne"

Several Rafale squadron's officers were also decorated during the ceremony.

Knight of the Legion of Honor :
Lieutenant-colonel Laurent Royer  (Rafale transformation squadron 02.092 "Aquitaine")
Captain Frederic Dot (Rafale transformation squadron 02.092 "Aquitaine")
Lieutenant-colonel Cedric Gaudilliere (Rafale fighter squadron 01.091 "Gascogne")
Captain Florent Gervais (Rafale fighter squadron 01.091 "Gascogne")

War medal :
Adjudent-chef Pascal  Decalonne (Rafale fighter squadron 01.091 "Gascogne")

Source :

Libya, the CdG is back at home

©French Navy - PM Stephane Dzioba
Friday August 12th, 4:15 pm, the Charles de Gaulle is making the last maneuvers in the Toulon port. The French aircraft carrier will rest reveral months in order to get the required maintenance work after almost 9 month at sea.
The crew was welcome by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Defense Minister Gerard longuet

The stats of the air group (10 Rafale, 6 Super Etendard, 2 hawkeye and Pedro helicopters) are impressive.

Since March 20th when it was engaged in the Libyan operations the CdG has logged  :

  • 138 days at sea (4,5 months) with a non stop period of 63 sailing days
  • 40.000 nautic miles (more than 70,000 km, almost twice the earth circonference)
  • 120 days of aeraonautical activities
  • 1590 sorties (13.25 sorties each day)
    • ground attack : 840 (Rafale and Super Etendard)
    • Reconnaissance : 390 (Rafale)
    • Air refueling : 240 (Rafale)
    • AEW : 120 (E-2C Hawkeye)
  • 2380 catapult launch and carrier landings
  • 3600 flight hours
Sources :

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Video, nice Rafale clip by swolfpl640

MMRCA, Aviation Week analysis

©Dassault Aviation - A. Hernoult
Indian fighter competion nears final

The winner of the Indian air force’s $12 billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) fighter competition should soon emerge, as the government is set to formally begin the process of identifying the lowest bidder in early September.
The Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale are the final contenders left in the race and Indian government officials have finalized how they will judge offset and industrial participation offers that are crucial in deciding which company will be chosen to supply the initial order for 126 fighters. However, a defense ministry official indicates that the air force wants contractual options to be exercised immediately, which would boost the buy to 189 fighters and the program value to almost $20 billion.[...]

bullet points :
  • Formula has been found to benchmark the offers to provide a like-for-like comparison.
  • Offset packages review almost completed 
  • 50% offsets requirement (at least $6 billion) one of the most challenging in recent aerospace contracting.
  • India’s aerospace industry not considered mature enough to absorb all offsets.
  • Dassault and Eurofighter confident that their packages meet what is required.
  • Eurofighter and Dassault have insisted that their bids are competitive
  • The local MMRCA team offices of the four eliminated contenders remain fully staffed: officials at all four believe that things are delicate enough in the final phase for them to remain in the country.
  • If commercial bids are examinated next month, lowest bidder could be named in November-December and a contract signed before the end of March. 
 Read the full article in Aviation Week 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In the press, Rafale on Air Forces Monthly's cover

First, if you read French, don't miss the July issue of Air fan (N°392). The main article is about the french Navy air fleet engagment in Libya

Also available is the september issue of Air Forces Monthly featuring an analysis of the Rafale-Typhoon confrontation for the Indian MMRCA market. This is the first time since november 2007 that the Rafale is on the cover of the most famous military aircraft magazine... almost a collector ;)

Friday, August 5, 2011

UAE, a deal before the end of the year ?

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Negotiations have resumed to sell Dassault Aviation's Rafale fighterjets to the United Arab Emirates, and a deal could be sealed between September and the end of the year, French daily La Tribune said on Friday.

FX-2, Brazilian Defense minister Nelson Jobim resigns.

Celso Amorim (right), is the new Brazilan Defense Minister
Because of several dissensions with President Dilma Rousseff, the Brasilian Defense Minister has resigned yesterday August 4th.

Nelson Jobim resignation could be seen as a bad omen for the Rafale as he was a strong supporter of the French offer within the Brazilian government. Nevertheless, his successor, Celso Amorim is also known to have recommended the Dassault fighter. Therefore, the preference of Brazilian Defense Ministry may remain the same despite this political change.

Source : AFP

Libya, The CdG takes some rest

After 9 months of almost non stop operations (4 months, Indian Ocean / 5 months, Libya) the Charles de Gaulle will stop, August 10th, for several weeks at the Toulon harbor for maintenance purposes.

The 6 Rafale M which were operating over Libya from the aircraft carrier will be replaced by 6 French Air Force Rafale B/C on the Sigonella Air Base, Sicily.

The CdG crew has demonstrated its outstanding endurance capacity since last November. Without any doubt, they deserve those few weeks of "vacations".

source : Reuters

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rafale is back to Afghanistan

3 Rafale from the 01.007 Provence Squadron have arrived in Afghanistan. They are replacing the 3 Mirage F1CR which were deployed on the Kandahar AB for the last 3 years.

The last Rafale Afghan campaign was in November-December 2010 from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.

During the last 10 years, the Rafale has been deployed 8 times to Afghanistan :

2002 : Rafale M F1 (Air policing and air refueling)
2004 : Rafale M F1 (Air policing and air refueling)
2006 : Rafale M F1 (Air policing and air refueling)
2007 : Rafale M F2 and Rafale B/C F2 (CAS)
2008 : Rafale B/C F2 (CAS)
2009 : Rafale B/C F2 (CAS)  
2010 : Rafale M F3 (CAS and Recce)
2011 : Rafale B/C F3 (CAS and Recce)

Source :

Monday, August 1, 2011

MMRCA deal at risk ?

According to Ajai Shukla, from Broadsword blog, the Indian contest may very well be scraped if the 2 finalist's bids turn out to be too high.

[...] If the MoD committee that is currently benchmarking the MMRCA concludes that Rs 42,000 crore is a decade-old estimation that should be increased due to inflation by 50%, the benchmark for that contract will be pegged at Rs 63,000 crore. When the Eurofighter’s and Dassault’s bids are opened, if both turn out to be notably higher, the MoD will scrap the MMRCA tender. On the other hand, if the lower bid is less than or approximates the benchmark, that bid will be accepted.
Dassault’s quote for 126 MMRCAs could be as much as $20 billion, twice the initially estimated figure.
Aerospace industry estimations put the cost of the Eurofighter Typhoon about 25% higher than the Rafale. That would put the cost of 126 Typhoons at about $25 billion.

The Indian price bids, however, involve a different calculation. The South Block tender demands price quotes on a “life-cycle” basis, a complex and detailed format that factors in the cost of 126 fighters over their estimated service life of 40 years. Bids are broken down into seven heads --- M-1 to M-7 --- and include the fly-away cost of the fighter; cost of spare parts; operating costs; cost of inspections and maintenance; transfer of technology; and training expenses. The final figure, M-8, is the overall cost, reached by adding up M-1 to M-7.

Executives from Rafale and Eurofighter agree that Rs 42,000 crore is an outdated price and that the survival of the MMRCA contract now depends upon how much higher the MoD is willing to raise the benchmark.

Read the full analyzis on Broadsword