MMRCA 2.0 - Updates and Discussions

What is your favorite for MMRCA 2.0 ?

  • JSF F-35 Blk 4

    Votes: 24 11.9%
  • Rafale F4

    Votes: 159 78.7%
  • Eurofighter Typhoon T3

    Votes: 3 1.5%
  • Gripen E/F

    Votes: 6 3.0%
  • F-16 B70

    Votes: 1 0.5%
  • SH F-18

    Votes: 9 4.5%
  • F-15EX

    Votes: 2 1.0%

  • Total voters
    202

Picdelamirand-oil

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UAE eyes French alternative to US as Abu Dhabi crown prince holds talks in Paris


Abu Dhabi is said to be interested in the purchase of Rafale fighter planes as part of broader Emirati vision towards diversifying sources of armament.
Thursday 16/09/2021
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (R) upon his arrival at the Fontainebleau’s castle in Fontainebleau, on September 15, 2021. AFP


French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (R) upon his arrival at the Fontainebleau’s castle in Fontainebleau, on September 15, 2021. (AFP)

PARIS--Analysts see the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to France as being tied to Emirati-French attempts to build a new alliance that could fill the void left by Washington’s disengagement from the Arab Gulf region.

Since the inauguration of the US administration of President Joe Biden there has been an impression of dwindling American commitment to Gulf security. This was triggered by Washington’s decision to reduce its military presence including the withdrawal of the Patriot air-defence missile system from the region and limit arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

On Wednesday, Sheikh Mohammedbin Zayed met French President Emmanuel Macron over lunch at the Fontainebleau Palace, east of Paris.
Macron and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi vowed to work together to counter Islamic extremism after talks that aides said underlined the strength of their partnership.

Abu Dhabi has in the last month served as a hub for the evacuation by Paris of French nationals and Afghans from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
“Both sides emphasised … they were both determined to fight extremism and terrorism and to strengthen their cooperation in security and defence,” the French presidency said in a statement after the talks.

On Afghanistan, both also insisted on the need “to respect the rights of women and girls, as well as minorities” after the takeover by the Taliban.
According to the Emirati News Agency WAM, the two sides discussed “opportunities to develop relations and exchanged views on regional developments, especially the current developments in Afghanistan.” They stressed the importance of promoting efforts to enhance security, peace and stability in the region through diplomatic efforts and effective dialogue.

UAE Ambassador to France Hend Al Otaiba said that Sheikh Mohammedbin Zayed’s visit to Paris was an opportunity to highlight the outstanding strategic partnership between the two countries, stressing the common vision of Paris and Abu Dhabi and their desire to promote further cooperation.

Analysts say Sheikh Mohammed can rely on the special relationship he has with Macron and the extent of UAE investment in France to clinch a deal to buy Rafale fighter aircraft. This will be as part of a broader Emirati diversifaction of its sources of armament.

The French president has previously defended arms sales to Gulf states, describing Riyadh and Abu Dhabi as allies in the war on terrorism and stressing that Paris had received guarantees that they would not be used against civilians.

The UAE talked with France about buying 60 Rafale combat aircraft a few years ago. Egypt’s acquisition of the warplane will encourage Abu Dhabi and Paris to move ahead with their own deal.

Egypt had signed a contract in May to buy 30 Rafale fighter jets, in a deal worth €3.75 billion ($4.5 billion).

Military experts say that the performance of the aircraft in combat, in 2007 in Afghanistan, in Libya in 2011 and the Sahel region in 2013, built it a global reputation, prompting many countries to place orders.

The UAE is already a customer of the French arms makers. Its army operates 436 Leclerc assault tanks. It has also become a key strategic partner for France in the Middle East and is second only to Saudi Arabia in Franco-Gulf trade. The two also maintain a solid alliance in the war on terror.
The UAE accounts for 45 percent of direct Arab investments in France and there are some fifty companies wholly or partially owned by Emirati businessmen.

On the cultural level, France and the UAE have set up the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi and in Fontainebleau Abu Dhabi has financed the restoration of the Imperial Theatre, whose construction dates back to the era of Napoleon III. This is now known now as the “Theatre of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.”

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Macron holds talks with Abu Dhabi crown prince

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) welcomes Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (R) upon his arrival at the Fontainebleau chateau, on September 15, 2021. AFP




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AbRaj

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In response to posts that were deleted because they were off-topic, @WHOHE had asked me to enlighten him on the mistakes he may have made in criticising the level of availability of French aircraft. So I'll do it here, and I apologise for the repetition regarding the way the French manage the consumption of its fighter aircraft potential.
First of all, you have to understand that availability is not a characteristic of the aircraft, but a characteristic of the aircraft and of the organisation that is put in place to ensure its maintenance.

Indeed, even with an aircraft that does not perform well in this area, you can put a large maintenance team at its disposal and a large stock of spare parts at the foot of the aircraft, and you will have a correct availability. But still, depending on the quality of the aircraft, it is more or less easy to achieve performance in this area.

The problem with the F-35, for example, is that high-level military officials have set availability targets and the US is unable to set up an organisation around the F-35 that will allow it to meet these targets. Because engine repairs take too long and there are not enough spare engines, because engines fail more often than expected, and because ALIS is full of false alarms and non-detections, which immobilises aircraft that are capable of flying and allows aircraft to fly that the maintenance technicians refuse to accept to fly.

In France we don't have these problems with the Rafale. It is an aircraft that is very easy to maintain and the management is done in such a way as to consume the potential of the aircraft in a regular manner. The objective was to consume the potential in 30 years. As the aircraft was given for 7,500 flight hours, that is 250 hours per year, and as the NATO standard for good training is 180 hours per year, that gives us 1.4 pilots per aircraft.

The number of aircraft we buy is determined by the operational need: we estimate the number of flight hours according to the missions to be carried out, and we divide this number by 250 to get the number of aircraft needed. So in addition to the Mirage 2000, the number of flight hours of Rafale that France needs is 152 * 250 = 38000 h per year.

So what happens when an aircraft has reached its allotted 250 flying hours?

The aircraft is simply stored at the Châteaudun base in conditions that prevent it from deteriorating and is declared unavailable. But this is a management unavailability, not a technical unavailability. If a crisis broke out, these planes would become available again overnight. It is because of these management unavailabilities that the overall availability of the Rafale is low.

But there are new elements:
The operational life of 7,500 hours was the result of calculations and tests carried out at the beginning of the programme. But today, the actual conditions encountered by operational aircraft can be taken into account to recalculate the probable service life of the Rafale. And this calculation gives 9000 hours.

We therefore end up with 228,000 additional hours of potential, which corresponds to 30 aircraft with 7,500 hours of potential! This explains why second-hand aircraft are being sold in Greece and Croatia. Indeed, the proposal to Finland shows that it is possible to commit to producing up to 1,000 flight hours per year per aircraft and even, in "surge", up to 350 hours per month. So if we have the potential available, we can easily provide the 38,000 annual hours with fewer aircraft: this will consume more than 250 hours in the year, but this does not matter any more because the total potential available is beyond any expectation.

Moreover, the Greek aircraft sold will be replaced before 2025 and probably the Croatian aircraft after 2025. The increase in potential therefore allows us to manage the transition and to replace aircraft that cannot be upgraded to F4.2 with aircraft that will be released directly in this standard.
True. Just by looking at huge bases and logistical footprints USAF and US Army used to have , not many countries can afford such a large support infra for their fighter aircrafts.
Meanwhile French AF either operates from their home base or from not so huge base located in far flung areas with limited resources available. Their philosophy suits us better than that of USAF.
 
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Picdelamirand-oil

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Dassault Aviation affiche de solides ambitions

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Dassault Aviation displays solid ambitions


This is good news for the hundreds of subcontractors of the aircraft manufacturer in the region. The company is showing its confidence with the construction of a new site at Mérignac...

After two years of work, the manufacturer has just inaugurated a new 26,000 m2 building. It will be dedicated to research, development and after-sales support.

The ceremony was presided over by Éric Trappier and Hugues Chambonnière, respectively CEO of Dassault Aviation and Director of the Mérignac site. The new building is intended to bring the development teams closer to production.

We told you about it two years ago, when the first stone was laid: the new Dassault building at Mérignac (where the Rafale and Falcon aircraft are assembled) was inaugurated on Tuesday. The ceremony took place in the presence of the Prefect of New Aquitaine Fabienne Buccio as well as numerous elected officials such as the President of the Region Alain Rousset and the Mayor of Mérignac Alain Anziani.

This new 26,000 m2 building, for which construction began in May 2019, is equipped with 1,650 workstations, 24 modular collaborative spaces and 9 project platforms. "It also houses a Falcon Command Center, rooms for aircraft system benches, an interior street and a 268-seat auditorium", adds the company, which specifies that "the best standards have been adopted in terms of the environment", with optimised management of lighting and energy, 1,400 m2 of photovoltaic panels, green roofs, a heat recovery system, an electrical distribution system integrated into the ground and some 500 trees planted on the site.

CEO Éric Trappier stressed that the construction of this new building was part of a transformation plan which "provides for the transfer to Mérignac, as close as possible to the aircraft in production and service, of certain activities based in Saint-Cloud. The new building, along with other older buildings, will house the military support, Falcon support, industrial operations, purchasing and design office teams.

However, the director explained that the 'centre of gravity' of the design office would remain in the Paris region. It was above all a question of bringing the R&D teams closer to aircraft production, which should lead to the creation of 200 jobs at Mérignac, where some 2,000 employees already work. It should be remembered that the Dassault Aviation group has nearly 12,500 employees (for a turnover of 5.5 billion euros in 2020).

Beautiful programmes on the rails...
The commissioning of this new building is a good signal for the regional aeronautics sector. It proves that Dassault Aviation has resisted rather well to the crisis of the covid and the drop in deliveries last year. The group did not suspend its investments or its current programmes.

On the business aviation side, the Falcon 6X made its maiden flight on 10 March, while the future 10X, which "will offer a level of comfort, versatility and technology unequalled in the business aircraft market", was presented in the spring and is due to enter service in 2025. It will be able to cover a distance of 13,890 km non-stop and "will have the most spacious and comfortable cabin on the market".

And Dassault has also been preserved by its presence in the other military aviation market, as Greece has just announced its wish to add 6 more Rafales to its order of 18 aircraft. Indonesia and especially Egypt could follow. This gives the group and its subcontractors cause for hope. This year, Dassault Aviation has already recruited 400 people, more than a third of whom are in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. In production, 180 new employees (including 80 apprentices) have joined the company.

For the anecdote, we will add that on the occasion of this inauguration, Éric Trappier was asked about the breach of the Naval Group submarine contract with Australia, which is currently the subject of much discussion. But for the director, there is nothing new under the sun: "With combat aircraft, we have always had to suffer from American influence in a number of countries," he said. More tactfully, he indicated that Dassault had also experienced some setbacks with Australia: "In the middle of the call for tenders, even though the Australian teams were working with us, the Prime Minister at the time came back and said: 'I bought the F35'.

This year, in June, our Swiss friends also preferred to place an order for 36 F35s with Lockheed Martin, and it was 'whispered' in the Swiss press that the local Ministry of Defence had nevertheless continued to discuss with Dassault once its decision had been taken, which would not have been to Paris' liking. But at Dassault Aviation, we are used to keeping a cool head. Business has always been business, with its share of low blows. And excellence (the French way!) always ends up being recognised...
 

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randomradio

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Good news on the MRFA front. The tender will begin in 2022. It will apparently be much faster than the first tender, largely because all the jets will be available for flight testing by 2023, so the IAF will not have to wait for the contenders to get ready.

Also the L1 disease has been beaten. If the L1 messes around during contract negotiations, price gouging, failure to adhere to RFP, failure to meet ToT obligations etc, the L2 will be declared the winner.
 

jk007

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Good news on the MRFA front. The tender will begin in 2022. It will apparently be much faster than the first tender, largely because all the jets will be available for flight testing by 2023, so the IAF will not have to wait for the contenders to get ready.

Also the L1 disease has been beaten. If the L1 messes around during contract negotiations, price gouging, failure to adhere to RFP, failure to meet ToT obligations etc, the L2 will be declared the winner.

What is your opinion about the following?
a) What is the incentive for Gripen / F-21 & F-18 to join this contest? They know they will not be selected.
LM & Boeing have lot of money. So, they may again bring in F-21 & F-18 to be rejected again. While SAAB may not have those resources and keep out.
b) I do not know if there is an incentive for EF to join the contest.
c) What will IAF do if the Russians bring in their aircraft and "under-quote prices or give maintenance requirements that are too good to be true" with no intention of keeping their word (like they did for the aircraft carrier).
d) last time, I read that IAF / MOD has politely asked the Russians to not be participate / aggressive in the MMRCA, as they wanted to bring in western aircraft. Will the IAF / MOD plead with them again??
e) If it is going to be another contest again, what is the point in spending $2B for India specific enhancements on Rafale? Theoritically, if India selects another aircraft this time, then that $2B did not get the anticipated return as those enhancements are restricted to 36 aircraft??

Yippeee, IAF / MOD gives all the reasons for me (& many others) to spend endless amount of time reading forums; asking questions & understanding. Eventually buy another 36 aircraft........Kudos to IAF / MOD.


If this drags on for few years, I think even IAF will stop believing that they have any chance on China. After 1962 debacle, Time magazine reported that "India Army needed everything except courage". Maybe sometime in future, Time magazine will report "IAF needed everything except courage" (my frustration - sorry).
 

randomradio

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What is your opinion about the following?
a) What is the incentive for Gripen / F-21 & F-18 to join this contest? They know they will not be selected.
LM & Boeing have lot of money. So, they may again bring in F-21 & F-18 to be rejected again. While SAAB may not have those resources and keep out.

Even a minor success in India without a contract would still mean doors open elsewhere.

b) I do not know if there is an incentive for EF to join the contest.

The Typhoon's shortlist was milked by the Eurofighter crowd in the form of advertisements to get new contracts. The logic is, if IAF accepts it, the jet will work anywhere for any mission.

A lot of stuff happens behind closed doors too. Like other air forces enquire the IAF about the capability of the jets when military and political leaders visit each other. Sometimes there's even sharing of knowledge. So it's in the OEM's interest to participate in big competitions.

c) What will IAF do if the Russians bring in their aircraft and "under-quote prices or give maintenance requirements that are too good to be true" with no intention of keeping their word (like they did for the aircraft carrier).

That risk is there. But first, Russian jets have to qualify for the shortlist before prices and ToT come into the picture. Anyway, the IAF is not going to choose Russian jets.

d) last time, I read that IAF / MOD has politely asked the Russians to not be participate / aggressive in the MMRCA, as they wanted to bring in western aircraft. Will the IAF / MOD plead with them again??

No such thing happened. Anyway, the IAF will simply reject whatever they don't want. For example, the Mig-35 and Su-35 are too old and have no future prospects. Gripen and F-16 have only one engine, the F-16 has no future. SH is also very old, no future. All these are viable reasons for rejection.

e) If it is going to be another contest again, what is the point in spending $2B for India specific enhancements on Rafale? Theoritically, if India selects another aircraft this time, then that $2B did not get the anticipated return as those enhancements are restricted to 36 aircraft??

The ISE was to bring the Rafales up to MMRCA specs. No additional returns are expected. Even if the Rafale wins, it's going to be for a more advanced version, so quite a bit of the ISE stuff will be useless on the new version anyway.

It's the bean counter's job to bean count, not the IAF's. The ISE gives the Rafales some capabilities that the original jet does not possess. And to get those capabilities, the IAF has to pay for it. There's nothing more to it. It's better to invest money in a more advanced jet than buy an older version just to make the ISE a bit cheaper.

Yippeee, IAF / MOD gives all the reasons for me (& many others) to spend endless amount of time reading forums; asking questions & understanding. Eventually buy another 36 aircraft........Kudos to IAF / MOD.

If this drags on for few years, I think even IAF will stop believing that they have any chance on China. After 1962 debacle, Time magazine reported that "India Army needed everything except courage". Maybe sometime in future, Time magazine will report "IAF needed everything except courage" (my frustration - sorry).

I keep saying that in the future warfare is going to be the domain of the rich, that's where it's headed. If we do not have money to indulge in warfare, we are better of staying away from it. So we gotta get rich.
 

Picdelamirand-oil

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‘Lift of IAC-I can accommodate all aircraft’

Sources in the defence establishment sought to allay fears expressed in some quarters that the lift of the indigenous aircraft carrier was small and would not be able to accommodate either the Rafale M or the F/A-18. While the Boeing fighter comes with foldable wings, Rafale does not.

“The mere fact that both companies are eager to offer their aircraft means that they have taken into account various measurements,” a source said, refusing to get into the specifics.

Sources also said that all discussions on the project are happening internally within the Navy and any move to proceed further will depend on what the companies have to offer in terms of cost, including lifecycle costs and future upgrades.

While Dassault is happy to merge naval requirements with that of the Air Force, Boeing is sceptical about it, they added.
 

randomradio

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removable external pylons and bird angled on the lift ???

Both terrible ideas. Elevators need enough clearance as well. Plus this technique doesn't work on Vikramaditya.

The solution has to work on both carriers. IN can't afford to have the main fighter fleet sitting on shore along with the Vikrant when the Vikramaditya is out at sea with only Mig-29s. If the choice is between SH on two carriers versus Rafale with questionable techniques on one carrier, then only SH will be shortlisted.

The only other alternative I can think of is to increase the size of the elevators, but the IN isn't retarded enough to do that. Since the SH is already a viable option, the IN has no need to bring in modifications. @vstol Jockey had pointed out earlier that the IN testers seem to prefer the SH over the Rafale for whatever reason.

If there is a third option, I have no idea. Hell, even one wing folded will make it fit, although that could be a bad design choice.

The "source" mentioned in the article has left it to Dassault to decide how they will get around this problem, so the solution must be implemented on Rafale, not the carriers.
 

vstol Jockey

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Both terrible ideas. Elevators need enough clearance as well. Plus this technique doesn't work on Vikramaditya.

The solution has to work on both carriers. IN can't afford to have the main fighter fleet sitting on shore along with the Vikrant when the Vikramaditya is out at sea with only Mig-29s. If the choice is between SH on two carriers versus Rafale with questionable techniques on one carrier, then only SH will be shortlisted.

The only other alternative I can think of is to increase the size of the elevators, but the IN isn't retarded enough to do that. Since the SH is already a viable option, the IN has no need to bring in modifications. @vstol Jockey had pointed out earlier that the IN testers seem to prefer the SH over the Rafale for whatever reason.

If there is a third option, I have no idea. Hell, even one wing folded will make it fit, although that could be a bad design choice.

The "source" mentioned in the article has left it to Dassault to decide how they will get around this problem, so the solution must be implemented on Rafale, not the carriers.
Yes, with new higher thrust engines, SH has no weight penalty from STOBAR.
 

randomradio

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Yes, with new higher thrust engines, SH has no weight penalty from STOBAR.

It takes care of a pretty big problem. Let's not forget all that extra electrical power too.

What I am more interested in is the possibility of operating drones that the US is working on for their carriers. While the SH isn't a direct competitor to the Rafale, the drones could more than make up the difference. They generally take the lead over others when it comes to introducing something new, so they could introduce more advanced drones before the French can. And the TEDBF could also benefit from that.
 

Sathya

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It takes care of a pretty big problem. Let's not forget all that extra electrical power too.

What I am more interested in is the possibility of operating drones that the US is working on for their carriers. While the SH isn't a direct competitor to the Rafale, the drones could more than make up the difference. They generally take the lead over others when it comes to introducing something new, so they could introduce more advanced drones before the French can. And the TEDBF could also benefit from that.
Wasn't the engine upgrade had some issues in F18 and were suspended?