Tuesday, January 31, 2012

MMRCA, The mother of all deals goes to the Rafale

As promised by the Indian authorities, the MMRCA winner announcement has been made before the end of January. Today, January 31, 2012.
This was our great pleasure to learn earlier today that India eventually chose the Dassault Rafale (also known as Katrina in the Indian internet community ;))
We would like to congratulate the Rafale team which despite many disapointments during the last 10 years, has never stopped believing in the Rafale potential. Their tenacity has finally paid off.
The Indian decision is the reward of  more than 20 years of very hard work done by some of the most talented aerospace technicians, engineers and pilots in the world.

Today's victory is even more valuable as the MMRCA contest was probably one of the most challenging of the decade because of the extensive technical evaluation brilliantly performed by the Indian Air Force between 2008 and 2010

Below is the official press release of Dassault aviation :

Following the announcement of the final selection of the Rafale in the frame of the MMRCA program, Dassault Aviation and its partners are honored and grateful to the Indian Government and the people of India to be given the opportunity to extend their long-lasting  cooperation. Dassault Aviation and its partners reiterate their commitment to meet the operational requirements of the Indian Air Force and underline their pride in contributing to India’s defence for over half a century.

French Presidency Press release :

 The President of the French Republic has learned of India’s selection of the Rafale for the acquisition by the Indian Air Force of 126 fighter aircrafts. France is pleased with the Indian government’s decision to select the French aircraft to enter into exclusive negotiations with Dassault. This announcement comes at the end of a very high-level, fair and transparent competition involving two European finalists. The Rafale has been selected thanks to the aircraft’s competitive life-cycle costs, after the April 2011 pre-selection on the basis of its top-level operational performance. The negotiation of the contract will begin very soon and has the full support of the French authorities. It will include important technology transfers guaranteed by the French government. The realisation of the Rafale project will illustrate the depth and scale of the strategic partnership between France and India.

A Brief history oh the MMRCA contest :
  • 2001 : The MMRCA RFI is initiated by the Indian government
  • August 2, 2007 : the RFP is sent to the 6 contenders : Boeing (F-18E), Lockheed Martin (F-16E), Dassault Aviation (Rafale F3+), EADS (Eurofighter Typhoon), SAAB (Gripen NG) and Mikhoyan (Mig-35). The Indian request was for 126 multirole fighters, 108 of which would be built in India whith numerous transferts of technology..
  • August 8, 2008 - May 27, 2009 : Technical evaluation of the 6 aircrafts by the IAF
  • August 1, 2008 : Offset proposals are provided by the 6 contenders
  • August, 2009 - Dec 18, 2010 : Flight evaluation of the 6 aircrafts by the IAF
  • April, 2010 : Indian MoD requests updated bids 
  • April 27, 2011 : The Rafale and the Typhoon are shorlisted based on the results of the IAF technical evaluation (All other contenders are eliminated)
  • November 4, 2011: The financial bids of the 2 remaining contenders are officialy opened
  • January 31, 2012: The Rafale is officially selected by the Indian Ministry of Defense


  1. France is our old good friend after Russia we only loves France.. France is always there for our help weather its in economical,political or in defense .
    Thank you 4 being good friend.

  2. The best fighter ever. Congratulation Dassault for this big deal. Job job guys, and I hope Brazilian Government follow Indians in this decision, sharing manufacture capability to produce Rafale. I hope.
    Rafale brings independence to Indian pursuit your future without interferance. Very clever decision on MMRCA.

  3. The key is up coming negotiations which will be held during next 2 months. If there is any lack of commitment from French side on issue of ToT then negotiations will collapse no matter how much pressure put on Indian govt. Right from the start MMRCA idea is purely based upon India's future defence tech needs and i hope french side understands this.


    Rafale, has a five year lead over the Typhoon with regards AESA. The question posed by UAE re. increased radar capability for instance, is essentially a cooling issue not an electronic one. Thus, we are talking about firm customer requirement and the subsequent funding, rather than an any engineering problem.

    The same goes for a 9T version of the M-88-3 ie., basically similar to the present engine (M-88-2 ECO) but, with larger intakes. Again, certainly not an excessively complicated enhancement and one which could even have the added advantage of reduced RCS, but one that needs firm customer requirement + funding.

    India´s DRDO (Defence Development Research Organization) could eventually participate or reach an agreement with SAFRAN / SNECMA for 360º thrust vectoring for any new such engine.

    Gimbal technology for rhe Thales AESA - like the arrangement on the latest Flankers (Irbis E radar)- can eventually be substituted by other elements like flush - fuselage mounted radar panels. As a first step, such tail fin mounted L-band panels fitted to Rafale could enhance stealthy target detection.
    The latest SAT / COM & SAT / NAV equipment is obviously contemplated for Rafale, for instance, foregoing the need for on-board Data / Voice recorders. Additionally, an automatic ejection sequence mode in case of emergency - prior stabilization - is another option. With automatic platform destruction away from inhabited areas.

    Rafale can of course control UAV.

    In the cockpit, Thales will be optimizing available space by introducing new head-level flat screens and other inprovments such as voice control for different functions to reduce crew workload. And of course, the newly presented color 3D HUD as well.

    France will also offer the very latest helmet mounted display units for best MICA use. Etc., etc.


  5. Satellite comunications + data transfer is yet to be fully exploited for RAFALE. A vitally important issue when covering a large territory. ASWACS, control is obviously basically unreliable because of its vulnerability. In the eventuality of anything more than a limited, Libya - style conflict, such assats turn into liabilities. From the word go, they become the prime target for SAMs' + long - range fighter borne missiles.

    Rusia for instance, is an example of such a stategy. ASWACS therefore, can only operate in relative safety at a distance and then with fighter cover. Moreover, being hi-visibilty platforms they give away an on going or impeding strike.

    We can safely affirm in conclusion, that SAT COM / SAT NAV - including real-time data transfer: intelligence ect., ect., is effectively what makes RAPTOR such a formidable air defender at least from BVR. Although, this is never talked about or suggested.

    SPECTRA up-grades for the Rafale, will surely cater for this aspect. Making the French fighter, even more autonomous than it is at present.

    In the nuclear strike role, reliance on non radar associated ground mapping / terain avoidance function, is absolutly vital for very low level penetration for maximum discretion. RAFALE, already has this capability however, this can be further refined by way of a more developed SAT COM / SAT NAV system + including the mentioned real time satellite data transfer... all managed by SPECTRA. Already, the finest embarked electronic warfare suite in existence.

    Situational awareness, is the key to everything, and notably, to survival!


  6. With Rafale, India gets a very versatile (A/A, A/G, EW, land AND carrier operation!) platform. It's a hard-won battle, that is for sure. Again, congratulations to the Rafale Team!

  7. Let's see, if the other deals unlock now:
    • UAE
    • Brazil

    First rumors are spread already:

    1. I don't believe this will be a game changer in Brazil, but for the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar it might be.

  8. ERRATA /
    Second paragraph above post should read: "impending strike"

  9. With international sales in India, Saudi and Switzerland, the production future of European's three 4th generation fighters seem secured for now.

    Who needs F35 other than kicking down IADS during the first 72 hours of an all-out-war? It will be interesting to see and contrast how India and Turkey use their 100+ Rafale/F35 (and the financial burden of doing so) over the next three decades.


    As a British subject and from a strictly impartial point o view, I believe that I am entitled to voice my opinion on the British Prime Minister's comments before Parliament regarding the loss by the Eurofighter Consortium (BAE) of the recent Indian contract in favor of France’s Rafale.

    Rhetoric, no more or no less to please the audience, because, the Prime Minister, knows full well that as an independent country, India, will never yield to any sort of pressure to reconsider their decision. Any mention of cancelling previously talked about commitments (loans etc.) by Britain, will only make things worse and, in passing, annoy France as well. India is not a banana republic nor do things work there like in Saudi Arabia, by influence.

    The tentative contract in question, has been one of the few really unbiased, professionally conducted ones in aviation history. Where, the chosen fighter is truly the best option. Rafale has proven its undisputed superiority against RAF Typhoons and with its current missile load moreover, the latter cannot prevail. India very probably feels uncomfortable furthermore, with the prospect of fielding similar getting on air to air weapons as one of its main potential opponent (Amraam). The Typhoon standard fit. There now talk of Britain and France being intent on the joint development of a new common replacement missile, which is good news. Additionally, France has a five year lead in AESA radar over the Eurofighter’s.

    If I was in the Prime Ministers shoes and had inherited a program such as JSF as a prime partner, I would certainly cancel the deal if the U.S. insisted on withholding core codes or if delays and exorbitant costs arose. In spite, of British dependence on American technology for its main deterrent. I.e. Trident. Eurofighter, is yet another example of overly complicated / overly costly.

    Now it appears that the JSF conventional carrier version - which most interests the country - needs a complete redesign because of arrester hook problems. So, in view of all the existing hitches and problems; we may soon see Rafale M - flown by Fleet Air Arm pilots – operating from a RN aircraft Carrier. Let us learn from French practicality which equals effectiveness.

    ‘Air Forces Monthly’ – December 2011 issue: “Should Britain Buy Super Hornet?”, put forward that the country should seriously contemplate acquiring Rafale M, suggesting with a strong dose of English humor, that with British assistance some of the planes shortcomings could easily be overcome! Peter Collins in his November 2009 ‘Flight International’ Rafale test flight, seconded this idea. Armed forces top brass have also voiced their support for such a measure so it is possible a very good idea that personnel has already apparently been sent to Paris to perfect their French!