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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Brush Up Your Rafale Knowledge - Soon To Be India's Latest Aircraft Purchase [UPDATED: 2014.01.25]

With the news of the contract for this mammoth deal expected soon, now is a good time to know, if you haven't, about this epitome of the very best in European Technology - a topical conversation, it'd make.

An agreement, at least, involving the 18 Rafale fighter aircrafts, that France would directly supply, is expected to be signed before the present UPA Govt demits office very soon. By doing so, it would be shielding this acquisition process from the highly undesirable proposition of being started all over again, were the succeeding Govt contemplated going down that road. With the Election Commission's Model Code of Conduct coming into effect immediately upon announcements of polling dates, any agreement, therefore, would have to be signed before that.
Symmetrically loaded Rafale carrying, from its outer pylons, a MICA IR air-to-air missile, Storm Shadow Cruise Missile, Drop Tank, MICA RF air-to-air missile, & a Drop Tank on the central pylon, respectively
Thus, if everything goes smoothly, we would see the signing of the very 1st contract in India's long-running, much delayed Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft [MMRCA] saga before the end of February 2014, next month.
[UPDATE 2014.01.25]: A Brazilian, writing for a military publication, got an opportunity to fly back-seat in the Rafale. Comes out mighty impressed,
"Oh, one more thing: the impressive short landing feature of the Rafale. Even on those days with gusty winds, and which demanded my full attention, Rafale landed safely in less than 650 meters, with 510 kg of fuel remaining, two MICAs and a supersonic external belly tank - still a heavy load in high wind."
The plane's maker, Dassault Aviation, has put together a useful write-up to help journalists pen articles about this beauty. A lifesaver for a generally clueless Indian Press Corp. Good starting material to help one learn about the plane.
During the previous edition of the Aero India airshow, the Rafale gave a series of aerial demonstrations for the consumption of the Indian public. Seems to have made a great positive impression, going by the people's reactions. History, it appears, is about to be repeated. Just as India is likely to be Rafale's first international customer, so too had India been the Ouragan's first international buyer, known in India as the Toofani, in the 1950s, also a Dassaullt creation.