Sunday, October 30, 2011

Return to the CdG

For those who have not seen it yet, I repost this superb video from 2009-2010 showing the work of the Charles de Gaulle deck officers.

During le Libyan conflict from April to august 2011 the Rafale, Super Etendard and Hawkeye of the French Aircraft carrier conducted 1573 combat missions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MMRCA, Bids to be opened November 4

Original picture © Dassault Aviation - K. Tokunaga
Livefist Blog is reporting that Dasault Aviation and EADS have been Invited to the India Ministry of Defense for the opening of the bids on November 4.

"According to procedure, the contents of both bids will be read out to all present and then signed by all members of the Contract Negotiation Committee"

So, apparently there is a 2 weeks time shift in the initial schedule stated on October 8. Therefore we can expect the winning bid to be revealed at the end of November, early December.

Source: livefist

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No export Future for the Rafale ?

Source :
Cassidian, EADS military branch, part of the Eurofighter consortium displayed a strange chart during the last Seoul Air Show. According to Cassidian predictions, the Rafale production will end up in 2019 with zero export orders while the Eurofighter will sell until 2035.
Well, we all know that marketing powerpoints always tend to twist a bit the reallity but this one is certainly over optimistic about the export potential of the Typhoon compare to the Rafale.

First, the Tranche 3B of the Eurofighter (124 aircrafts) is in very bad shape and will most probably be cut.
Then, the export prospects of the plane are certainly not as bright as the chart says : the probability to get orders from Japan and Korea is very thin (if not nil), and the risk that India and Switzerland  go for the Rafale is quite high. Not to mention the UAE and Brazil where the Typhoon is not even considered at all.

In 2012 we should have a clearer view of the fighter market for the next 15 years and it could be very different from the Cassidian crystal ball forecasts as far as Rafale and Eurofighter are concerned..

Friday, October 21, 2011

Switzerland, a decision before 2012

©Thierry Gay
The Switzerland Federal council should decide which aircraft to buy (Rafale, Eurofighter or Gripen) before the end of the year on the basis of a proposition submited by the Federal Defense Department (DDPS).

Meanwhile, the 3 contenders (Dassault, EADS and Saab) have been asked to update their proposal, made in 2009 before the end of October.
Since 2009, the exchange rate of the euro vis a vis the Swiss Franc and the Swedish Krona has droped by  more than 17 %. The mechanical result is that the Rafale and the Eurofighter are now 17% cheaper than in 2009 whereas the Gripen price has remained more or less the same.

Therefore the principal advantage of the Gripen compare to the Rafale (the price gap) will probably suffer in the new quotations. One could also argue that if the selection process has been accelerated to take advantage of the favourable CHF/Euro exchange rate, the Gripen has already lost.
Furthermore, if the rumors about the Eurofighter being too expensive to match the Swiss budget despite the weak Euro prove to be true, this could mean that the Rafale will be in a very good position when the bids will be assessed.

Switzerland is expected to buy 22 new fighters in 2012 to replace her F-5 Tiger II

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Libya, the end of Gaddafi

(edited  October 21st)  Following the liberation of Sirte today, October 20th, an US Predator drone and 2 French Mirage (apparently a 2000D and a F1CR) would have stop a fleeing convoy with Hellfire missiles and GBU-12 bombs.

Colonel Gaddafi, would have took part in this convoy and would have been captured alive by  Libyan NTC fighters but would have been killed (executed ?) later during a gun fight.   .

"When the car was moving it was caught in crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi forces in which he was hit by a bullet in the head," said Mr Jibril, quoting from the official NTC report.

The death of the Libyan dictator will probably mark the end of the war for NATO forces. According to the French Ministry of defense, no weapon were fired by the French Rafale and Mirage jets during the last 32 Air to Ground missions because of a lack of targets.... until this afternoon.

Sources :
Associated Press

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rafale picture of the day

Rafale M26 with 6 GBU-12 and 2 RPL741 tanks on the Landivisiau Naval Base tarmac on September 11th 2011
Picture credit : Bruno Dellière

UAE, Rafale deal probability is very high says French Defense Minister

Paris, October 17th, when asked by the LCI TV journalist about the probability for a Rafale deal with the UAE, The French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said "It is very high, It is very, very high" yet, adding that the deal is not done and that negociations are still going on between the manufacturer (Dassault), the UAE and the French state.

Monday, October 17, 2011

AASM IR is officialy operational

©Sagem - P. Vodka Gallien
Official press release by Sagem 

Paris, October 13, 2011
In July, the French air force and Naval aviation began operational deployment of the infrared terminal guidance version (SBU-64) of the Hammer IR AASM modular air-to-ground weapon.
Developed and produced by Sagem (Safran group), with French defense procurement agency DGA acting as program manager, the Hammer AASM is a family of air-to-ground weapons, comprising a guidance kit and range augmentation kit fitted to standard bombs. This makes the AASM a high-precision guided weapon with a range exceeding 60 kilometers.
The AASM IR version features a guidance kit with an infrared imager in the nose cone, along with the standard hybrid GPS / inertial guidance systems.
Following the initial deployment of the Hammer AASM, the French air force and navy carried out the first firing tests of this version of the AASM under combat conditions, all successful.
Adding infrared terminal guidance to the standard hybrid GPS/inertial version of the AASM, the Hammer IR proved to be particularly well suited to precision strikes against targets with uncertain coordinates, offering impact accuracy to within a few meters, even when GPS signals were unavailable. Missions are planned using Sagem’s own SLPRM mission planning and restitution system, already in service with the French air force and Navy.
The AASM has already been deployed in foreign theaters of operation, demonstrating its reliability and accuracy, including for long-range missions. Actual operations have shown that it limits collateral damage, and is able to handle high-value targets, previously reserved to cruise missiles, while also neutralizing enemy air defenses from safe standoff distance.
The GPS / inertial version of the AASM guided weapon, with 250 kg bombs, has been in service with the French air force since 2008, and with the French naval aviation since 2010.
A new version with laser terminal guidance, capable of engaging moving targets, is now completing development. Following qualification by the DGA, it will be delivered to French armed forces in 2012.


Some 225 AASM were fired by the Rafale during the libyan campaign which is about 20% of the bombs used by the french Air Force and Navy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

In the press, Nation Shield 476

A nice article by JM Guhl about the last Rafale systems (Damocles, Reco-NG, AASM...) can be read in the September issue of Nation Shield (UAE armed forces Magazine).
The pdf can be downloaded directly on their website

Rafale pictures of the day, MBDA dadabase

If you don't have done it yet, I recommend a visit to the MBDA image data base where several high res pictures of the Rafale B302 can be found. They are of course related to the various weapons developed by the company for the Rafale : Scalp-EG, Meteor, Mica etc. The B302 has been used by the CEAM (French Air Force trial center) to validate several weapon/systems configuations.

 This one should ring a bell ;)
Close up of the DDM-NG (new generation missile launch detector)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Northern Mistral 2010, Rafale performs long range strike exercise with the RAF

© Dassault Aviation - K. Tokunaga
2 Rafale from the 01.091 Gascogne squadron participated in the Northern Mistral exercise on October 10th. (as part of the British Joint Warrior exercise).  The purpose of the training was to coordinate the French Air Force and RAF assets in order to  contuct a long range strike using scalp cruise missiles.
The Rafale took off from the Saint Dizier Air Base, performed inflight refueling above the North sea, strike the target located in the north of Scotland and returned to their base.

Source :

UAE, Juppe in charge of sealing the deal

According to "Les echos", the French foreign Minister and former Defense Minister, Alain Juppe, would  be conducting the very last negociations to sell 60 Rafale fighter jets to the UAE.
More and more rumors are now converging to a possible announcement of the deal during the next Dubai Airshow in mid November.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

MMRCA, the bids will be opened in 10 days

"The process for acquisition of the MMRCA is on its last lap and we should be able to open the bids in 10 days time from now" Indian Air Force chief, Norman Anil Kumar Browne said today during the 79th IAF anniversary celebration.

Yesterday, October 7th, the Defense Acquisition Council approved the offset proposals of both Dassault Aviation and Eurofighter Gmbh. This decision, eventually secures the selection of the Rafale and Typhoon made by the IAF on April 27th.

According to  Browne, determining the lowest bidder (L1) should take another 2 or 3 weeks after the bids opening because it requires complex calculations (life-cycle cost, aquisition cost and technology transfer)

"In the middle of November, we shall be able to announce to the whole world which plane we have selected, the L1 vendor"  he said

So the final stage of the MMRCA seems very clear now :
  • Opening of the bids around October 18th (10 days from now)
  • Anouncement of the MMRCA winner between November 7th and November14th. (2-3 weeks to calculate the lowest bid)
  • Contract signed before the end of 2011 (As announced by India Defense Minister)
  • First deliveries by late 2014, early 2015 (36 months after the contract is signed)
Also read : Previous RafaleNews MMRCA related posts

sources :

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

French Air Force TV spot

Some nice Rafale footage in this French Air Force TV spot. Note the Rafaut AT730 triple ejector rack loader at 0min 9s

Rafale picture of the day, Epinal-Mirecourt air show

© François-Xavier Simon

©JM Alvarez