This might be a big deal. After years of cooperation between the Russians and the Indians, this marks a major break in their partnership.
It appears that after 11 years of rising costs and lackluster performance (it’s basically an Su-30 with a different body; same engines, same radar, same weapons, same avionics). Looks like the Indians said, “I think we’re going another way,” and yanked the plug. They appear to be trying to make one of their own. Makes sense. According to the article, they were paying half the freight on the PAK-FA and were only going to build 15% of it.
I could be wrong, but I’ll bet the sale of the Rafale to the IAF had something to do with this. No offense to my nation’s aviation heritage or the very amazing things that the British, Germans, and Italians are doing, but the French made an amazing aircraft in the Rafale. The IAF is probably thinking, “we already have this 4.5-gen aircraft that is getting the job done, why blow all this cash?” It looks like the IAF may order even more, and now the Indian Navy might be getting the navalized Rafale, which means their Sea Fulcrums could face an early retirement.
It’s not like there are no options. They probably won’t partner with the Chinese given their propensity for periodic border disputes that nearly lead to catastrophic wars, but they might work with the Turks, who are building their own JSF-wannabe to augment the small number of F-35s they plan to buy. Or they could buy our JSFs…
Interesting times…the world keeps getting smaller…
I think it boils down to the fact that the Rafale is a proven, capable low-RCS plane at the top of the 4.5 gen heap while the Su-57 (as it is now known) is a stealthy repackage of the 35. It may or may not have a lower RCS than the Rafale, but its avionics and reliability are still Russian legacy.
In other words, right now the 57 is a one-trick pony (stealth) and given Russian difficulties with fit and finish I’m not sure they won’t have issues with RCS spikes and other position-revealing scenarios. Meanwhile, the Rafale is likely more capable in prosecuting targets reliably.
Oh yeah, and if India and China have another skirmish, it’s far less likely they’ll have the inside track on Rafale exploits as opposed to Russian ones. Now move those Rafale guts to a 57 and I would change that evaluation.
Interesting comments PFunk. I admit that I don’t know squat about the Rafale. Certainly a looker externally. A tight cockpit for sure. Very Viper like inside IMO, but perhaps a little more snug.
Oh, it’s an incredibly small front office. But, the airframe can field the MBDA MICA air to air missile in both the IR guided and active radar homing flavors as well as the Meteor, which is quite likely the most advanced air-to-air missile being made. Add it’s ability to fire ALCMs and you have a very capable aircraft. While the Rafale might not have the capacity or range of a Typhoon, it is lighter and sports a more advanced radar (at least until the Typhoon gets the new AESA version of the CAPTOR system).
The biggest weakness of the Rafale is the M88 engine. They simply don’t deliver the power that the EJ200 engines in the Typhoon do, which enables the Typhoon to do things the Rafale simply cannot do. The French split away from the Eurofighter program because they demanded that any fighter the consortium was going to build be powered by the M88 or they weren’t going to participate. The Eurojet design was superior in every way, so the French went their own way and made the Rafale. Thing is, the Rafale has better wing loading, which means it can carry external tanks with a lot more ease, but it needs external tanks more than a Typhoon because its engine isn’t as efficient. Self-defeating loop.
But, let’s not ignore what might be the most influential factor of all: price. The flyaway cost of a Typhoon is nearly 140M Euros. The unit price of a Rafale C is 69M Euros. The navalized Rafale is slightly more pricey at 80M. Still cheaper than the Eurofighter.
The Rafale can do strike better than the Typhoon. The Typhoon can fly circles around the Rafale in a dogfight.
But, yeah. She’s pretty. I’m revising the SF2 Operation Darius files for another site, I should have a working beta by summertime. My go-to airplane is JAT’s Rafale M. It’s just a blast to fly around in.
Also, a carrier-capable Typhoon would’ve been a lot heavier and even more expensive, so I can see why the French didn’t want a plane that large with their smaller carrier.
The Rafale has an odd political history, though. In service for years with no one but the French using them and then suddenly being sold to multiple countries worldwide. For awhile it appeared the first Dassault not to use Mirage in its name in decades was in danger of reversing the trend of being widely exported, but history belatedly repeated itself.
Me right now…
Yeah, though- in good humor- you guys aren’t wrong.
Different machines with different performances.
…but yeah I’m biased…
I see you too are checking out dem curves do. It’s okay, we understand
Yeah… I mean, EF2K. ’Nuff said!
Who ever made an epic flightsim about a Rafale?
I think the Eurofighter will eventually mature into a good multi-role fighter and it’s instructive to remember that many of the criticisms leveled at the Typhoon were also pointed at the Tornado and look what a workhorse that airframe turned out to be. Everyone bagged on the ADV version of the Tornado; its radar wasn’t ready, it was too heavy to be a fighter, it had the turning radius of a bus, etc. It ultimately turned out to be a reliable and capable fighter serving with the RAF, the AMI, and the RSAF. The Typhoon doesn’t have the history or strike capability of the Rafale, but eventually, it will. It seems like a versatile airframe, despite its original, singular rationale.
This wasn’t intended to dig on the Typhoon. I honestly believe that the Rafale was selected for four reasons. It had the capability the Indians wanted, and it had it right now; it had a history of use. The second, third and fourth reasons were price, price, and price.
Hey, no worries. I like to take on the funny side of things.
In case you were thinking about my post, it was truly meant to be taken in good humor, tongue-in-cheek!
And that’s the way I interpreted it, my friend. Truthfully, it’s gotten so global now. BAe has a facility right up the road in Fort Worth, Texas and two more in Temple and Austin.
I think it’s kind of nice that wherever there’s a Typhoon driver keeping watch, a little bit of Texas is flying right there with them.
That’s nothing. Dassault built a new office park overlooking Lake Carolyn in Dallas. They’re the hub for all of the Falcon tech reps in the US.
Yes, and regardless of whether they’re in TX, Germany, France, the UK, or even Japan…they all come to FL to see the Mouse House.
And the traffic proves it.