Officials from Team Rafale are quietly confident that a deal for up to 60 airplanes will be made with the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, they are signing agreements here at the show with local entities that further strengthen the French influence in Emirati education and industry.
Northrop Grumman’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is currently undergoing carrier compatibility tests at the U.S. Navy’s Patuxent River dummy-deck facility in Maryland before its first venture to sea. Initial carrier trials are to begin in the first half of next year, the exact schedule depending on carrier availability. Here at the Dubai Airshow an operational U.S. Navy E-2C Hawkeye 2000 from the U.S.S. Nimitz is on display in the static area.
How can the Rafale be produced–and offered for export–at an economic price when the production rate is only about one aircraft per month? Official French statistics give a unit production cost of only ?64- to ?70 million in 2008 prices, depending on variant, excluding amortization of development costs, but including value-added tax of 19.6 percent (which would not be payable on export aircraft).
The Dassault Rafale combat jet may yet prove to be an export winner, despite no such orders being placed to date. The OEM is negotiating a contract with the United Arab Emirates air force, and Kuwait has formally expressed interest in the aircraft.
A top-level handshake in Brazil earlier this month does not necessarily mean the end of that country’s long quest to select a new fighter. Presidents Lula and Sarkozy proclaimed a strategic aerospace partnership after the French leader made a two-day state visit to Brazil.
Boeing unveiled the first F/A-18F Block II Super Hornet for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) at a July 8 ceremony in St. Louis. The aircraft manufacturer is building 24 Super Hornets for Australia, in two batches of 12. The first aircraft is due to be delivered in March 2010, and Australian production will run at roughly one per month. The aircraft will have APG-79 AESA radar installed.
Technical negotiations with the United Arab Emirates for what will be the first export sale of the Dassault Aviation Rafale combat jet, are almost complete. But commercial and government talks continue, so a formal announcement is probably still some months away. Deliveries are unlikely before 2013. At the Paris Air Show, Dassault displayed two scale models of the Rafale with weapons configurations that are unique to the UAE.
Another airshow, another photo opportunity with the F-35 partner nations. Lockheed Martin assembled this group of representatives from the nine countries that are part of the program here yesterday. They all received a newly minted coin mounted in a plaque.
Thales, Europe’s third largest civil and defense aerospace group, makes its first appearance at Le Bourget since it acquired a new shareholder and executive board last month.
Israel intends to order 25 Lockheed Martin F-35 fifth-generation fighters, with an option for 50 more. If it wants them quickly, as expected, the news could help some other international partners in the Joint Strike Fighter program.