India’s Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne confirmed to AIN here at the Singapore Airshow that the country’s resolve to select the lowest bidder for the contract for 126 medium multirole combat aircraft remains in place. The contract negotiation committee (CNC) opened Dassault Aviation’s bid proposing its Rafale on February 13 and identified the French OEM as the lowest bidder. The decision to involve another manufacturer is “procedurally untenable,” said Browne.
Dassault has offered to adjust the Rafale package for Switzerland to reduce cost and prevent the confirmation of the Saab Gripen as that country’s new fighter. The move follows the leaking of the Swiss air force evaluation report on the competing fighters, which also included the Eurofighter. The Rafale was the clear winner of the SAF evaluation, with the Eurofighter second, but the Swiss government opted for the cheaper Gripen package. This was worth $3.4 billion and included 22 jets. The potential new French offer is $3 billion for 18 aircraft, according to reports in the Swiss media.
France’s Dassault Rafale fighter won India’s $10 billion-plus medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contest for 126 combat jets because its direct acquisition and life-cycle costs were 22 to 25 percent lower than those of the Eurofighter Typhoon. This verdict came from “a top [Indian] defense ministry source” quoted by The Times of India newspaper in Delhi last Friday. AIN believes that the report is credible. Negotiations on the contract should be completed by October, the source added.
Few coompanies can lay claim to having as many as 10 aircraft planned or under development simultaneously, but India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is doing just that. However, while the Bangalore-based group’s ambitions may be laudable, it remains to be seen how it will face the formidable challenges of its current and planned projects.
Hungary extended until 2026 the lease contract with the Swedish government for the 14 Saab Gripen C/D fighters that it received in 2006 and 2007. The agreement was due to expire in 2016. According to press reports in Budapest, Hungary currently pays $130 million per year to operate the aircraft, which were surplus to Swedish air force requirements. Saab said it is pleased by Hungary’s “long-term strategic decision.”
Team Rafale has won the $10 billion-plus Indian Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) competition to supply 126 aircraft. The news emerged unofficially from the Indian Ministry of Defence after the Dassault representative was told that the Rafale had finally scored its first export success. The French jet beat the Eurofighter Typhoon in the final MMRCA evaluation round.
Sukhoi has delivered 12 Su-27SM(3)s to the Russian air force. The aircraft were originally intended to be supplied as subassemblies to China under a contract signed in 2009, and the last delivery was made in late December. The airframes were assembled at Sukhoi’s KnAAPO plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur from parts originally manufactured for what was meant to be a second batch of 95 airframes in the Chinese order for 200 Su-27SKs. However, China took only the first 105 Su-27SKs, most of which were assembled in China from Russian kits.
Thales signed a fixed-price availability contract with the French ministry of defense for support of the Rafale fighter. The company is the last of the three big Rafale contractors to agree to a long-term partnership deal for support. Dassault signed a 10-year agreement in 2008, and engine supplier Snecma followed with a five-year agreement in 2010.
Switzerland has chosen the Saab Gripen as its new fighter aircraft, in preference to the Dassault Rafale or Eurofighter Typhoon. Defense Minister Ueli Maurier told journalists that the Swedish package including 22 jets is worth $3.4 billion.