Russia’s Tactical Missile Corporation is negotiating with Dassault Aviation for the possible use of its missiles on the Rafale combat jets that have been selected by the Indian Air Force (IAF). The corporation, whose Russian acronym is TRV, told journalists attending last week’s Maks air show in Moscow that the Indian air force has large stocks of Russian air-launched weapons, which drives its interest in adapting them to the French warplane.
“Engineered with Passion” is more than a clever catchphrase. At Dassault Aviation, it effectively summarizes a company-wide culture. Even though the image of engineers doesn’t normally go hand in hand with passion, in this case, the apparent contradiction seems appropriate. Dassault Group has built a world-class family of companies; a strategically balanced portfolio, including design production and support of military and civilian aircraft; and the Group’s signature technology company, Dassault Systèmes.
Dassault Aviation has named Eric Trappier its new chairman and CEO. The 52-year-old Frenchman, who is currently the group’s international executive vice president, is set to succeed Charles Edelstenne when he retires on January 8.
India confirmed that it will upgrade its 51 Mirage 2000H fighters, and entered final negotiations with Thales, which will act as prime contractor. The long-delayed deal has been controversial in India because of cost, and the 20- to 25-year age of most of the airframes. Thales would not comment on Indian media reports that the contract could be worth $2.4 billion.
Held in Abu Dhabi, the IDEX defense exhibition is traditionally the platform for the United Arab Emirates to announce major deals. But apart from a possible buy of Predator UAVs and an H-60 upgrade (see separate stories), there was nothing on the UAE’s big-ticket items at last week’s event. Even the much-anticipated deal for the THAAD high-altitude air defense system has not been finalized.
The recipient of this year’s NBAA Meritorious Service Award to Aviation– the association’s most distinguished honor–is Serge Dassault, chairman emeritus of Dassault Falcon Jet.
“Une fois Mirage, toujours Mirage!” insists Thierry Goetschmann. “Once you have flown the delta you never want to fly anything else,” said the pilot of the Mirage IIIDS-EMIR that graces the Paris Air Show. Goetschmann is the world’s only civilian-rated Mirage III pilot, and a veteran of 1,100 hours in the type. He will fly the Mirage in the air display over the weekend, which will be nostalgic viewing for many here.
Lockheed Martin announced on October 7 a $393.6 million contract to supply four C-130J-30 “stretched” Hercules military transports to the Qatar Emiri Air Force beginning in 2011. This comes a few months after the Qataris signed a deal to acquire from Boeing two C-17s, which will be delivered next summer. Currently the QEAF has no tactical/strategic airlift capability, so the new purchases signal a dramatic change in air force doctrine.
Dassault has bucked the trend among business jet manufacturers of announcing massive job cuts, furloughs or temporary factory closures since the beginning of the economic downturn in 2001. Still, the French company has significantly reduced production rates for its Falcon line.
A second export customer for the French-made Dassault Rafale combat aircraft has emerged. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has begun negotiations to replace its 63 Mirage 2000s, starting in 2012. “Thanks to its multimission capability, the Rafale is perfectly suited to the needs of defending the UAE in the years to come,” noted a statement from French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office.
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