Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rafale Trumps the Typhoon: A Closer Look

Champagne corks are popping in Elysee Palace as Nicolas Sarkozy gets a welcome breather in his campaign for getting re-elected to the French Presidency. That India will have to sign a check for 54000 crores to help him along is what concerns me.

The Rafale has trumped the Eurofighter Typhoon, and if it is indeed the better fighter as our Defense sources say then there is nothing at all to be worried about. There is absolutely no gainsaying the fact that the Air Force should get the best MMRCAs we can buy. With the economic upswing over the last decade we can afford that easily.

What troubles Dr. Ramesh Grandhi, a revered and very popular guest at Subho's Jejune Diet and The Curious Hat, is that factors other than pure excellence of the craft ‘might’ have played a role.

The first of these is our aspiration to be a permanent member of the Security Council. It has been no secret that India has long desired this role for itself, and any thinking person would say a country which has a sixth of all humanity within its boundaries automatically deserves this place. But then this is not a fair world, Watson! Did France being a Permanent Member with a Veto influence our decision?

We have read reports of our Migs falling out of the sky rather too regularly for comfort. Our valiant pilots should get the best craft money can buy, they defend our frontiers and airspace and there is no way that they should be shortchanged.

The second factor is the inability of Dassault Aviation to sell even a single plane outside of France. The French Defense Minister is on record as saying that unless Rafale found foreign buyers he would have to scrap the Rafale itself. The fact that more than 10 countries have refused to buy these planes (the Rafale took to the skies 25 years ago) makes one cautious, especially if there are countries like Singapore on that list, countries which have a reputation for probity.

It is to be hoped that French political compulsions had no role to play in this decision. Dassault Aviation would have been forced to shut down the Rafale program and experienced job cutbacks and factory closures had this contract not gone through. News reports suggest that there was “unmitigated relief and joy” at Dassault headquarters. Job losses are not great news for an embattled President, who will derive a lot of political capital from this deal.

Too expensive and too difficult to handle was what all the countries which refused to buy it said after being interested initially. But we hear that price played a role in convincing our authorities to go in for the deal. The fact that the bulk of them will be manufactured in India at the Hindustan Aeronautics facility under transfer of technology must have played a role in the decision. This is welcome news as this will help in our own technological upgradation.

It might be bitterness speaking when sources in the Eurofighter maker, EADS, say that the decision to go in for the Rafale was dictated as much by political concerns as it was by military ones. They maintain that the Typhoon was a much more advanced and modern aircraft.

If indeed the deal has been as transparent as the French President maintains then everyone can rest easy, but unfortunately the ghosts of Bofors, the HDW submarine deal, and even the utterly atrocious coffin deal still haunt us.

AK Antony has an enviable reputation for selfless service, probity and for being incorruptible. I do hope that he has taken the best possible decision keeping the country’s vital interests in view and not for any political compulsions or superpower aspirations.

Rafale in French means a gust, gale or a squall. Can a gust really trump a Typhoon? I hope it did it fairly.

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  1. This was the post am trying to write !
    i have lot to say and agree, will convey few :)
    ET- it is backed my some great European nations, includes Britain !
    Britain PM vowed to persuade IAF :P
    Too late too bribe :P

    IAF chose Rafale because of it logistics and similar conditions with MIRAGE...
    I feel we could have got Typhoon it is a bit great over Rafale...
    But Rafale has accepted to give some of its plan and prints to us for indigenous development !
    Either way it seems we are balanced and ofcourse as your picture says MONEY MONEY MONEY :P

    great analysis Subh :)

  2. Eurofighter Typhoon is a much better fighter overall when compared to Rafale, but as you pointed out Dassault has made a few concessions with regard to technology transfer, overall cost and maintenance. I can live with it.

  3. well I trust our Politicians power to squeeze every penny out of a deal.I am sure there is some hidden agenda behind Rafael's mystery of sudden decrease in the quoted price before the final announcement of the deal.Question is the extra money HAS BEEN pocketed or not ?
    Nevertheless this is India,anything can happen !

  4. What is your source to tell "Eurofighter Typhoon is a much better fighter overall when compared to Rafale" ... ridiculous !
    READ THE Swiss report !

  5. Where are your sources to tell "Eurofighter Typhoon is a much better fighter overall when compared to Rafale" You are all ridiculous !
    I can give you a source. A Swiss report.
    Read this and stop lying please

  6. Since when has the Swiss Airforce been considered a leading authority on military aircraft evaluation. They have similar experience and skill sets to the Swiss Navy.

    1. what about brasil, south corean, EAU, singapour ... Typhoon eliminate everytime at the first round...

  7. what about brasil, EAU, singapour, South Corea, Maroc ... typhoon was eliminate everytime in the first round...
    It's not a bad plane but stop satisfaction please

  8. I don't think this whole thing has been signed yet. Let's wait and see.

    The typhoon is definitely the better airplane. The Rafale has one single advantage: It can drop a larger number of different kinds of bombs. But, you can drop bombs from any legacy airplane the Indian airforce operates. This does not add any new capability. Furthermore, if you are keen on integrating a particular bomb on the typhoon, the manufacturer will probably help you any way he can. Finally, the number of weapons that have been ordered and will be operational on the typhoon in 2015 latest, is very large indeed. Check out this short selection:

    In terms of aeronautic performance, the typhoon beats the rafale hands down. First of all, the key performance figures of the typhoon are better than the rafale. The thrust-to-weight ratio: 1.2 (typhoon) vs. 1.05. A higher thrust to weight ratio leads to a faster acceleration. The wing load: 310 kg/m² (Typhoon) 322 kg/m² (Rafale). A lower wing load improves the turn rate of the plane. Therefore, the typhoon can climb faster, turn faster and has a greater top speed than the Rafale. The range and combat radius are almost identical. Finally, the typhoon is aeronautically more unstable, wherefore its turn speed is considerably faster. Therefore, the canards had to be placed further in the front, because a longer lever was needed in order to push down the nose in a straight flight.

    So the package of airframe and engine of the typhoon are clearly better. What about the sensors? The indian typhoon is going to be equipped with the latest ASEA radar (Captor-E or Caesar). It has a top of the line infrared search and track sensor (IRST) called PIRATE. Finally it comprises a comprehensive defensive sweet including radar warning receivers and laser warners, called Praetorian. This is top notch and the rafale falls short.

    The typhoon has some killer features in terms of air-to-air combat. Sensor fusion and Helmet Mounted Symbology Systems (HMSS) as well as voice control lets the pilot identify and target an enemy aircraft in mid flight without taking the hands of the stick (HOTAS = hands on throttle and stick) or the eyes off of the enemy plane.

    The short range infrared guided missile IRIS-T can be launched off-bore sight. It can even attack an enemy behind the typhoon, because of its great maneuverability and speed. So the pilot must not navigate behind the enemy in a dogfight.

    Finally, the MBDA meteor missile is going to be the best active radar long range missile on the market.

    What about the growth potential and reliability? The engines have a growth potential of 20 to 30% in terms of thrust. A 3D thrust vectoring nozzle has been proposed. This would improve the low speed maneuverability. The engines are electronically monitored in order to minimize maintenance. The partner nations UK, Italy, Spain and Germany are going to keep on upgrading their planes with the newest avionics in order to keep their fleet competitive. Therefore, you can expect a large number of technologies to be developed for the typhoon in the future.

  9. Since when typhoon is better than rafale?! Rafale has better electronics (spectra); more payload; smaller RCS (confirmed by american specialist in RCS); better agility below supersonic speed. THe big vantage of typhoon is the engines and agility at supersonic speeds. Just look at the Lybia conflict where the need tornado GR4 for buddy lasing to acquire targets for the paveway bombs. In other words he was not autonomous to fullfil his task in the mud mover role. AGAINST FACTS NO ARGUMENTS. UAE ATLC, the typhoon get his ass wax by rafale. If you don´t believe go check the truth will always imerge.



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