Friday, November 4, 2011


This is it. the Indian Authorities and the Executives from Dassault and EADS will know in a few hours who is the lowest bidder of the MMRCA contest.
Indeed, the procedure imposes to both contender to be present during the opening of the sealed offers.
Theoricaly the lowest bid should win but in fact the process is a bit more complicated as the offset proposals which were submited and approved last month and the maintenance/operating costs have to be taken into account to identify the best overall offer. According to the IAF Air Marshal at least 3 weeks will be necessary to compute the best package.

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Also read IANS article


  1. Rafale and Eurofighter are both very capable aircraft in its own right. Best of wishes to BOTH the Dassault and the EADS teams regardless the MMRCA outcome!

  2. Part 1 /
    ‘Stealth’ does not guarantee invincibility. Therefore, it is only a question of clear thinking to find the way around this factor. All moving bodies produce heat and the larger the aircraft the more heat it generates. So, IR detection is one of the keys to defeating stealth aircraft. As an isolated asset, it is consequently far from being enough or the definitive solution. SATCOM, coupled with state of the art data link for instance, enables tentative positioning and likely points of departure, numbers and type of offensive fighters. The approximate flight path and general characteristics and the intrinsic limitations concerned (flight refueling, ASWACS control etc.) can also determined and thus programmed in order to decide appropriate tactics, weapons etc. Aside the availability of more subtle, undercover data related to the electromagnetic signature of the likely opposing forces, etc. F22 / Raptor for example, and more so F-35 / JSF are comparatively large, heavy and inherently cumbersome aircraft with a limited payload capacity without automatically loosing stealth and thus converting into conventional planes. This also goes for Sukhoi / T-50.
    Rafale on the other hand, is small but highly capable in multiple areas. A truly ‘Onmirole’ aircraft by definition, whose capability as a super - aggressive WVR dogfighter has been demonstrated on various occasions and without having recourse to the programmed Sagem ‘Gerfault’ or the Sextant Avionique ‘Topsight’ helmet mounted display. It has beaten Typhoon in encounters in Corsica flown by the most experienced RAF pilots who were even given the choice of defining the details of the rounds. The same occurred against the latest Block 60 / F-16 in the USA, considered the most capable close - in dogfighter in the USAF inventory.
    The Rafale, is an integrated weapon system without equal whose missiles, bombs, pods, stand-off weapons cater for every eventuality including reconnaissance (NG Pod), as proven during the Libya campaign operating from land or sea base.

  3. Part 2 /
    Notably, it is also a tactical low-level nuclear bomber also, able to penetrate deeply (and survive) into enemy territory in the very proving & intense central European theatre of operations. Without discussion no other fighter today pack an equivalent punch has an equal punch of high deterrence value being the first (warning) stage of a wider offensive. In the valuable anti-shipping role, coupled to the new EXOCET with a littoral attack capacity, no ship or port installation is safe (ask the RN). Going back to the beginning, French expertise in IR detection is second to none and with the home¬grown missiles to go with it I.e. MICA / IR, able to turn 180° and engage a target coming from behind! And MICA is not just a short range missile. Then we have METEOR, the French variant having adopted MICA parts and, why not in the future it’s IR seeker also?
    Enter SPECTRA a constantly evolving electronic warfare suite certainly as capable as anything fielded by Raptor (AN / ALR – 94 etc.), and probably very superior in silent IR detection in conjunction with the new MBDA 360°missile warning receiver, OSF ,Damocles + NG. SPECTRA, may include active signal cancellation? As far as radar goes, the French have, once again, have never been far behind and we can expect the new Rafale AESA to be not only very reliable but also very capable. L- Band radar panels could eventually be fitted flush on either side of the tailfin to increase stealth target detection. Another important exclusive innovation presented during the last Le Bourget show is a 3D HUD very useful for poor weather approaches. Rafale, has truly impressive STOL performance without the use of parachute even with the heaviest loads, especially important for frontline, dispersed runway operations in the all-important air superiority / interception role with up to 10 (ten) MICA - IR / EM, plus its deadly GIAT / DEFA 30mm canon.


  4. Part 3 /
    Most important however are the SNCMA-88 which can easily be up-rated to 9T and fitted with 360° thrust vectoring. Today’s, standard fit already enables the ‘M’ version to take-off from a carrier’s deck on A/A missions without afterburner and carry extraordinarily heavy loads for the plane’s size. As PETER COLLINS pointed out (Rafale - Flight International flight test), the Rafale’s safety features are exceptional too, such as automatic recovery from nose-down – nose-up as situations (following eventual pilot disorientation), stall protection, automatic low level obstacle avoidance and G load protection. Obviously, the Rafale is a twin engine aircraft. The Dassault FCS coupled with the planes single tail fin design according to Peter, translates into very, very precise, extremely rapid reactions. With the ‘B’ place version constituting yet another mayor asset on long - range, low-level missions. He states categorically, that the Rafale would be the aircraft of his choice for any mission against any opponent without any shadow of doubt or hesitation. Coming from him, a truly unbiased very revealing statement! Lastly, Peter suggests that Britain itself should acquire this fighter over the F-35 or any more Typhoons for cost / effectiveness motives.
    India may even do well to forego its participation in the development of T-50 due to the fact that Rafale can advantageously accomplish similar mission with even more guarantee especially if up-rated. A far more cost effective less risky solution with technology transfer assured. Regarding F-35 / JSF, it is to be noted that the only partner nation other than the USA itself to have full access to the plane’s core codes is Britain. Meaning to say than any variant offered to third-party countries would be not only watered-down but with technology transfer excluded.

  5. Part 4 /
    When talking about Rafale, we are talking about reliability / availability, ease of operation / sophisticated simplicity, redundancy and guaranteed airframe overstress protection. Innumerable design features provide Rafale with distinct advantages many of which are truly unique for an aircraft of such potential, firepower & versatility.
    The stopping power of the Rafale’s carbon brakes are proverbial as is the robust but light undercarriage with twin front wheels for accurate steering shod with Michelin tires. We then have the nearly 30º backward raked Martin Baker MK 16 – F zero/ zero ejection seats which not only confer the crew with a better seating position, but also foregoes the need for an upper-body pressure suit. WVR combat this configuration allows far better control and visual situational awareness. The canopy being sideways hinged also means ease of maintenance due to improved access. In the cockpit, future modifications will include an improved M / M interface with a more flat HLD + direct voice input for certain functions to reduce pilot workload.

  6. Part 5 /
    The positioning of Rafale’s canards (which act as airbrakes on the ground), provide unparalleled fly where pointed reactions and optimum agility even at very reduced speeds. Super-cruise which can currently be attained in A / A arrangement, with the 9T engines (a customer option today), will broaden to other configurations. RCS, already very low will also further improve due to the air intakes redesign. Not a complicated task due to the aircraft’s modular construction.
    Lastly, an interesting point to note is that the GTRE GTX – 35vs Kaveri turbine being developed by India includes 360º thrust vectoring, counts with SNECMA’s assistance.