Friday, 18 January 2013

Indian Rafale: Nothing new under the sun

Some French media have packed a bit yesterday, referring to the fact that India can control up to 189 Rafale combat aircraft, 63 more than the 126 contract currently under negotiation. This possibility, raised during the visit to France by the Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs, is actually not new. Since the beginning, it was officially stated several times, the Indian program MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) shall relate to 126 aircraft, with optional bracket including a possible reordered a lot additional of 50% the initial contract (ie exactly 63 devices).

In the final against the Eurofighter, Rafale has emerged in 2012 as first choice for the Indian authorities.These are, therefore, entered into exclusive negotiations with the French team, led by Dassault Aviation industrially. Discussions are continuing with a view to ending - happy that Paris hopes - in 2013. A period which may seem long but is easily explained by the complexity of the contract, which involves a significant transfer of technology to the Indians to make their future aircraft on site.

Navalized version remains a hypothesis

These are for the Indian Air Force New Delhi but could possibly use if she wants to equip its Rafale aircraft carrier. Since its inception, the French combat aircraft has, indeed, been declined in a navalized version, in service since 2001 in the Navy, which implements from Charles de Gaulle. Appontant on a track with oblique strands stop and catapults launched by the French aircraft carrier, the Rafale is also able to embark on buildings with a platform instead of catapults (but always with an oblique track and stop strands), which is the case for new Indian aircraft carrier Vikramaditya and Vikrant. Studies by French engineers have validated the feasibility of this configuration. For the moment, India has never officially mentioned in the MMRCA project, device integration navalisés for its naval aviation, which will normally be equipped with Russian MiG-29K. But it seems clear that the authorities in New Delhi have been spared this potentiality. This would explain the appearance in any case, during the competition between manufacturers, views of artists with a Eurofighter navalisé (version of the expert opinion is technically infeasible, except redoing the plane, since it n was not originally designed for the stresses of carrier aviation, such as the need to train more robust and a reinforced structure for landings). Not forgetting of course the studies carried out in France on the ability to implement a Rafale with a springboard. Just in case ...

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