According to France24 journalist, the Indian public and press response to the Rafale selection has been very positive so far. The selection process is also seen as very clean with few political interference and no corruption issue.
During the DGA annual result press conference on Tuesday February 22, Laurent Collet-Billon, head of the French defense procurement agency said :
[...] "If one day we have to lend Rafale Ms to the Royal Navy, why not? Personally, I’d find that very pleasing " [...]
As the carrier version of the F-35 is facing unexpected technical difficulties (arresting hook issue) the British forces would seek interim solutions involving the F-18 or the Rafale M fighter jets.
Several British pilots are also involved in a training program to fly French Navy Rafale in order to maintain some core carrier operations competencies until the British aircraft carriers are operational.
This week Air & Cosmos magazine confirms that all the technical and financials terms of the Rafale sale to the UAE have been settled.
The contract signature would now, only depend on a state to state defense agreement.
Earlier this month, the National was quoting Maj Gen Khalid Al Buainnain, former commander of the UAE Air Force :
"The technical and
financial and contractual discussions have been completely finished.
We're … working out how we can smooth out this contract."
It seems that the Indian selection of the Rafale has unlocked the Brazilian contest too. Reuters is now confirming what the Folha de Sao Paulo was reporting 3 days ago : "Brazil is very likely to choose France's Rafale fighter jet" according to government sources.
India's talks with Dassault made Brazil deal viable
Brazil suspicious of U.S. technology restrictions
Dassault shares up 4.5 pct, company declines comment
Boeing says it's still in race with F/A-18 Super Hornet
By Brian Winter
SAO PAULO, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Brazil is "very likely"
to choose France's Rafale fighter jet to refurbish its air
force, government sources say, a decision that would award one
of the emerging-market world's most coveted defense contracts to
a jet whose future was in doubt only two weeks ago.
President Dilma Rousseff and her top advisers believe that
Dassault Aviation's bid to sell at least 36 Rafales
offers the best terms among the three finalists, the sources
told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The other two bidders in the competition are U.S.-based
Boeing with its F-18 Super Hornet and Sweden's Saab
with its Gripen.
The contract will have an initial value of about $4
billion, but will likely be worth considerably more over time
once maintenance and follow-on orders are included.
Rousseff previously had concerns about the Rafale because the jet had not found any buyers outside France.
That raised doubts about whether Dassault would have the scale
necessary to build the jets at a reasonable cost and maintain them over
The sources said Rousseff's concerns were assuaged when
India announced on Jan. 31 that it had entered exclusive talks
to buy 126 Rafales. Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim
traveled to New Delhi last week to discuss the deal with Indian
officials and examine documents related to Dassault's bid.
"The India deal changed everything," one of the Brazilian
sources said. "With India's decision, it's now very likely the
Rafale will be the winner here."
Shares in Dassault Aviation were up about 4.5 percent, at
706.5 euros, in Paris following the news. A spokesman for the
company declined comment.
Jeff Kohler, a vice president of Boeing's business
development division, said on the sidelines of the Singapore
Airshow he believed the Brazil bid was still "up in the air."
The Brazilian sources said Dassault offered the best
combination of a high-quality aircraft and the sharing of
proprietary technology that Rousseff has said is most critical
to the deal. Brazil hopes to use the technology to expand its
own budding defense industry, led by aircraft maker Embraer
Boeing's offer of technology has yet to be finalized, but
the sources said they believe it cannot compete with Dassault's
bid because the United States has previously placed tight
restrictions on the sale of military technology abroad,
including one incident involving Embraer in 2006.
Dassault touts the Rafale as an agile, medium-sized aircraft
with low operating costs that can be more quickly deployed than
its bulkier competitors. Those attributes may appeal to Brazil,
which has no significant problems with its neighbors and plans
to use the aircraft mainly for defensive purposes such as
patrolling its recently discovered offshore oil fields.
The sources said that unexpected developments, especially a
breakdown in India's talks with Dassault, could still cause
Rousseff to change her mind.
They also said her decision would probably not be announced
until after France's April-May election, in an attempt to keep
the deal from becoming overly politicized.
The F-18 is widely believed to
be cheaper than the Rafale, and Boeing recently confirmed that
it will offer the jet to Brazil at the same per-unit price as
during the last round of bidding in 2009.
Despite her misgivings on Boeing, Rousseff also did not want
to choose a jet that might not even be in production a decade
into the future. In December, French Defense Minister Gerard
Longuet warned that Dassault would stop production of the Rafale
in 2021 if it did not win any export orders.
Within days of India's announcement regarding talks for the
Rafale, Amorim traveled to New Delhi to gauge the bid's terms
and its likelihood of proceeding as planned.
Amorim told the Times of India on Wednesday that Indian
officials "promised to give us some documents...such as basic
rules on the tender process that we could compare to ours."
Brazil is not the only country that appears to be suddenly
following India's lead. French newspaper La Tribune reported on
Feb. 2 that Dassault could soon seal a sale of at least 60
Rafale fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates, turning around
a deal that also appeared to be a lost cause.
As the Armasuisse report is not always perfectly readable I've reproduced the
charts and compiled the general appreciations for both evaluations.
(NWA1 and NWA2)
NWA phase I is the first 2008 evaluation with real flight trials:
results show a sharp advandage for the Rafale especially for Escort,
Srike and Recce missions.
The Rafale is also the only aircraft that was able to engage multiple ground targets simultaneously in one pass.
The only mission where the Eurofighter almost
catches up with the Rafale is Air Policing. The Gripen is definitively
not in the same leage as far as Air to Air missions are concerned.
However, we note that it is ranked slightly above the Eurofighter for
Air to Ground and Recce missions.
the Swiss Air Force appreciations in the table below. Their final
recommendation in all missions is the Rafale with the Eurofighter as a
phase II is the second evaluation conduced in 2009 based on technical
data of 2015 scheduled capabilities provided by the 3 manufacturers. (see upgrades below)
The results and appreciations below :
Again the ranking remains the same with the Rafale clearly in front especially for Strike and Recce missions.
The Swiss Air Force appreciations when the upgrades are taken into account are in the table below. Their final
recommendation in all missions is still the Rafale with the Eurofighter as a
Each mission effectiveness is an average a several sub-taks effectiveness relevant to the given mission.
The detail sub-task ranking is only available for the Air policing mission (see below)
is the mission where the Typhoon is ranked almost as good as the Rafale
due to superior aircraft performance (apparently mainly related to its
high climb rate and capabiliy to supercruise at mach1.4), slightly
better pilot workload (Direct voice Input for recurrent basic tasks
would explain that) and slighly better engagement (which could be
explained by higher altidute/speed/missile max range)
is worth noting that the Air Policing mission, although important, is a
quite low risk mission. In more challenging Air to Air task such as OCA
or DCA missions where the target can be highly dangerous and where
ECM/RCS become of primary relevance, the Rafale seems to prevail with a
more comfortable margin.
As in the previous limited leak, the report clearly states that the Rafale was the prefered aircraft of the Swiss Air Force because of a better technical efficiency in all missions : Air 2 Air, Air to Groud and Recce missions.
The Eurofighter is always lagging behind the French fighter because of less efficient sensors and ECM suite. The Gripen does not even manage to reach the Minimum Espected Capabilities in most of the assessed fileds. According to some High ranking officer of the Swiss Air Force which are eager to bring their insight on the issue to the parliament, the way the Gripen was allowed to pass the technical evaluation is still a mystery.
In November 2011, the Swiss Federal Council had decided to select the Gripen on financial grounds despite the negative technical appreciation of the Swiss Air Force.
La Tribune newspaper reported on Wednesday February 1, that the UAE have resumed the negociations with Dassault for a possible Rafale deal. The talks had stalled at the last Dubai Air show in November 2011 when the crown Prince declared that Dassault's proposal was unworkable. Meanwhile, BAE revealed that they had receaved an RFQ to supply the Eurofighter Typhoon, a few weeks before the show. French President Sarkozy could go to the UAE around March to finalized the deal.
All the article is worth reading but below is my quote selection:
“We needed to boost our fighter fleet really, really, urgently,” says a
serving Air Marshal who prefers to remain anonymous. “And we were
determined to implement an acquisition process which nobody in the
ministry could fault or delay. Today, the IAF process has become the
gold standard for fighter aircraft acquisitions worldwide. The Brazilian
defence minister, who visited Delhi this week, has asked us to share
details with his ministry on just how we did it.”
[...] It was the next stage of evaluation — flight trials — that has put IAF’s
testing process in a league of its own. Conducted by the Directorate of
Air Staff Requirements, and overseen by the quiet and unflappable Air
Commodore (now Air Vice-Marshal) R K Dhir, each of the six contenders
was flight-tested by IAF pilots on 660 separate performance aspects. For
example, the RfP demanded that the fighter’s engine should be replaced
within one hour. The maintenance teams actually made each contender do
that. If IAF demanded a “sustained turn rate” (the quickness with which a
fighter can turn around in the air) of 24 degrees per second, each
fighter was physically put through this manoeuvre to establish that it
met this requirement. (Incidentally, both the US fighters failed to meet
IAF’s “sustained turn rate” requirements)
Last April, the ministry “down-selected” the Rafale and Typhoon,
which meant that only these two aircraft had passed the flight trial
evaluation. Now the game had changed; with performance established, the
cheaper of the two was going to be adjudged the winner. For the first
time in India, costs were not compared on the ticket price alone, but on
how much the fighter would cost to buy, build, upgrade and operate over
a service life of three to four decades. IAF had clearly learned a
lesson from the Russian MiG experience, where a cheap upfront price that
seemed initially attractive led to enormous operating costs and a lower
aircraft availability that meant that when IAF paid for six squadrons,
it actually had just three squadrons to fly.
Air Marshal (retired) Padamjit Singh Ahluwalia, who brought the first
Mirage 2000s to India, says, “Russian fighters like the MiG-29 are
great for air shows but serviceability is often a problem. When you get
airborne, the radar often becomes unserviceable… sometimes this happens
between two sorties.”
Since the superb video "Agapanthe 2010-2011" is not available anymore, you can still watch this part of the Video on YouTube
Good News, the full "Agapanthe 2010-2011" video is back on Patrick Aviation !
NEW DELHI: It was the "substantially higher cost" of acquiring and operating the Eurofighter Typhoon that led to its ejection from the almost $20 billion MMRCA (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project to supply 126 fighters to IAF.
"The French Rafale
jet, the eventual winner, beat the Typhoon hollow both in terms of life
cycle costs and direct acquisition costs. The entire MMRCA project cost
would have gone up by around Rs 25,000 crore if Typhoon had been
selected over Rafale," a top defence ministry source said on Thursday.
Given all this, MoD has ruled out the possibility of "any comeback" by
Typhoon despite carping by the four nations (UK, Germany, Spain and
Italy) backing it, and will begin "exclusive and extensive negotiations"
with Rafale-manufacturer Dassault Aviationnext week. "The actual contract for the complex project should be ready for inking by September-October," said a source.
British PM David Cameron
may have vowed to "encourage" India to reconsider its decision to go in
for Rafale, instead of the EADS-manufactured Typhoon, in the largest
"open-tender" military aviation deal going around the globe. But that is
highly unlikely to happen.
"The fact is that the cost
deferential between Typhoon and Rafale was very high... it would cost
India around 22% to 25% more if the former had been selected. No
government can agree to so much extra," the source said.
Rafale and Typhoon had been found "compliant" on all the 643-660
technical parameters laid down to meet specific operational requirements
of India, after gruelling field trials by IAF test pilots spread over two years.
The other four jets -- the American F/A-18 'Super Hornet' and F-16
'Super Viper', the Russian MiG-35 and Swedish Gripen - were weeded out
from the hotly-contested race last year since they did not meet all the
"We went by the book, first in the extensive
technical evaluation and now in the meticulous commercial evaluation,
without any external factors coming into play," said the source.
For one, the "life cycle cost" of operating the Typhoon over a 40-year
period, with 6,000 hours of flying, was found to be "higher" than Rafale
after extensive calculations of flight costs, spares, maintenance and
the like. "The life cycle costs were actually the tool to determine who
was L-1 (lowest bidder)," he said.
For another,the difference
in the 'direct acquisition cost', which will actually be used to ink the
contract, was even bigger. "The Typhoon's commercial bid was way too
high. Rafale was the clear L-1 in both life cycle as well as direct
acquisition costs," he added.
Dassault will now have to submit a detailed project report on the transfer of technology (ToT) to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd
(HAL). While the first 18 jets will come in "fly-away condition'' from
France from mid-2015 onwards, the rest 108 fighters will subsequently be
manufactured under licence by HAL over six years.
negotiate each and every element in the complex project with the French.
Payments, as also the 50% offsets specified in the contract, will be
spread over 11 to 13 years," he said.
The first jet built in
HAL is expected to roll out by 2017-2018. Thereafter, HAL will deliver
six jets per year, which will go up to 20 per year later. "HAL will
achieve 85% technology absorption by the end. Incidentally, Typhoon's
cost of ToT was also very high," he said.
This "mother" of all
defence deals will later become the "granny", as reported by TOI
earlier, since India will in all probability go in for another 63
fighters after the first 126 jets.
IAF is looking at these 126 new jets, apart from the ongoing progressive induction of 272 Sukhoi-30MKIs contracted from Russia for around $12 billion, to stem its fast-eroding combat edge against Pakistan
and China. IAF has already identified Ambala and Jodhpur airbases in
the western sector, followed by Hashimara in the eastern sector, to
house the first MMRCA squadrons.
India is now finalizing
details of the stealth Indo-Russian FGFA (fifth-generation fighter
aircraft) to be built in the coming decades. IAF hopes to begin
inducting the first lot of the 250 to 300 FGFA from 2020 onwards, which
rough calculations show will eventually cost India around $35 billion.
For sure, Rafale is a better Navy fighter than the Typhoon
After the elimination of the Eurofighter from the MMRCA contest (leaving the Rafale as the only contender for the mega deal) UK has sent a delegation to India in a last and desperate attempt to force India to buy the Eurofighter instead of the Rafale based on the most naive argument of them all: The Eurofighter is a better plane than the Rafale as stated by British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Well, is it ?
Aquisition price and maintenance costs : Apparently the Rafale is better as the Indian Ministry of defence has just concluded that the French jet is 15% 22% less expensive to buy and operate than the Typhoon.
A week after India decision to select the Rafale, the Brazilian Defense Minister, Celso Amorim, has met his Indian counterpart, AK Antony, in order to get insights on the MMRCA selection procedure. Indeed Brazil has its own contest (FX-2 for 36 jets) going on, and is expected to select a fighter this year. The three contenders are the F/A-18E, the Gripen and of course the Rafale which would be the front runner as per the last declarations of the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff when she came in France last year.
"Brazil is in the process
of buying a fighter jet. You have already reached the final stages of
the fighter selection for the air force. They have promised to give us
some documents on the selection process, such as basic rules on the
tender process that we could compare to ours," Amorin said to the Times of India
Nervertheless he also added : "Sharing of experience doesn't mean we follow your decision,"
In the meantime, the folha de Saô Polo was reporting yesterday, February 9, that the decision to select the Rafale would have already been done by the Brazilian government, with a possible contract signature after the French elections in May. According to the Newspaper, the Rafale's fair and square victory in India would have been a clear signal for the Brazilian government to opt for the French Fighter.
So it seems that, besides the Indian deal which will required several months to be signed, at least one more export coul be finalized quite rapidly this year. But as usual, we should be very carefull not to consider a deal done until it has actually been signed.
Rafale International has released its official Web Site for the Indian contest.
Reading quickly throuh the numerous pages, one will notice that Dassault emphasizes on the Navy version of the Plane for the Indian Navy.
[...]The aim of the RAFALE candidacy for the MMRCA program is to provide the
Indian Air Force (and later Indian Navy when a similar combat aircraft
program is launched) with a combat aircraft at par with the political
and military rank of India in the coming decades, able to ensure and to
maintain the local air superiority of India.
[...]French aircraft have always taken part to the Indian history serving the
Indian Air Force and Indian Navy over the years and the wars.
[...]Operational in the French Navy since 2004 and in the French Air Force since 2006, the RAFALE of the French forces have been engaged in various
campaigns over Afghanistan and recently in Libya, in the most severe
environmental conditions :
from the Charles de Gaulle carrier in the warm seas of the Indian Ocean or of the Mediterranean
from the high altitude rough airfields of the Himalaya or the desert of Libya,
[...]With full commonality with the Air Force version, the RAFALE is also
available in a Navy version to be operated from an aircraft carrier. [...]
The message is clear: If you like the ground base versions, you will love the Navy one.
Since Sunday, February 5, a group of Rafale M and one E-2C Hawkeye have rejoined the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in order to performed Rafale carrier qualification for former Super Etendard pilots of the 11F squadron. This is the second French Navy squadron that will operate the Rafale M. the CdG left its home base 3 days ealier to get the ship ready.