India’s government-owned electronics giant, Bharat Electronics (BEL), will sign a joint venture with France’s Thales next week to manufacture air defense components, AIN has learned from a senior defense official. The venture is expected to start operations within 18 months.
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.
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.
Has the Eurofighter Typhoon really unseated Dassault’s Rafale as the UAE Air Force’s fighter-of-choice for a 60-plane order?
French hopes of an early order for Rafale fighters from the United Arab Emirates Air Force may have been dashed. A British source with knowledge of the requirement has told AIN that the Emiratis will now hold a formal competition, and had just issued a request for proposals (RfP) to the UK government for the Eurofighter Typhoon.
British, French and U.S. aircraft began the action in mid-March, in a “coalition of the willing” named Operation Odyssey Dawn that was led by U.S. Africa Command. On March 31, NATO took command. Eleven other nations sent aircraft to join the campaign.
France’s Sagem announced that the infrared-guided version of its Armement Air-Sol Modulaire (AASM, also known as Hammer) has been fielded by both the French air force and navy, and that it has been used operationally over Libya.
India confirmed that it will upgrade its 51 Mirage 2000H fighters, and entered final negotiations with Thales, which will act as prime contractor. The long-delayed deal has been controversial in India because of cost, and the 20- to 25-year age of most of the airframes. Thales would not comment on Indian media reports that the contract could be worth $2.4 billion.
Although rebel forces have gained hardly any ground in Libya, NATO officials are still optimistic that airpower alone will eventually force Col. Ghaddafi’s regime from power. To that end, air strikes have increasingly focused on Libya’s defense and security infrastructure, including vehicle, ammunition and missile depots; intelligence and secret police headquarters; the presidential complex in Tripoli; and other command and control sites.
Held in Abu Dhabi, the IDEX defense exhibition is traditionally the platform for the United Arab Emirates to announce major deals. But apart from a possible buy of Predator UAVs and an H-60 upgrade (see separate stories), there was nothing on the UAE’s big-ticket items at last week’s event. Even the much-anticipated deal for the THAAD high-altitude air defense system has not been finalized.