Airbus Group announced yesterday that it is “pursuing disposal options for its investment in Dassault Aviation.” Airbus’s 46-percent share gives it no power in decision making and is only a legacy of the share the French state used to have in Dassault. The Dassault family, via the GIMD holding company, owns slightly more than 50 percent of the manufacturer of the Rafale fighter and the Falcon business jets. Investor activist group TCI estimates that Airbus’s share in Dassault is worth €5 billion.
Thales Optronique (Hall 4 Innovation Zone A1) unveiled its successor to the Damoclès targeting pod on the eve of the Farnborough show. The new sensor system, called “Talios,” should be ready in time for deployment on a major new operational standard of the Dassault Rafale multi-role fighter that is due to enter service in 2018. A new-generation targeting pod, known as PDL-NG, has been one of the key elements associated with the Rafale’s F3R upgrade standard. Development of PDL-NG started in 2009, with approval to proceed affirmed in January 2013.
Saab has completed integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM on the Gripen. Next year the Swedish air force fighter will be the first to go operational with the new missile, according to Saab. The Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon will also carry the Meteor. The Gripen previously conducted the first eight developmental test firings of the ramjet-boosted missile.
A lack of decision-making on large Indian defense procurement deals in the past two years is expected to end with the swearing-in of the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Changes in procurement and offset policies are also expected.
At the Dassault Aviation annual press conference, in Saint-Cloud (France), CEO Eric Trappier has confirmed achieving a firm agreement with Indian group Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) concerning the partnership between Dassault and HAL for the 126 Rafale fighters that India wants to buy. The agreement covers the general configuration of the aircraft, the technology transfers and the detailed workshare between the two partners and their subcontractors. Also, it clarifies the mechanism of warranties, said Trappier.
France’s DGA defense procurement agency has awarded Thales a €119 million ($162 million) contract to develop a new laser designation pod for French air force Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000D fighters, Thales announced in January. The development contract follows a risk reduction phase the government awarded Thales (Booth F23) in late 2012.
Dassault Aviation received a development contract from the French Ministry of Defense for a further upgrade of the Rafale combat aircraft. Designated “F3 R”, the upgrade consists mainly of integration of the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM; the laser-homing version of the Sagem AASM air-ground weapon; and the new Thales PDL-NG laser designator pod. There will also be some improvements to the Rafale’s avionics and defensive systems.
With national elections looming in India, speculation is growing that contracts for the long-delayed Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), as well as the Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), could soon be signed.
Brazil has chosen the Saab Gripen E as its new fighter aircraft, after years of indecision. Defense Minister Celso Amorim and Brazilian air force commander Bg. Juniti Saito announced their preference for the Swedish jet over the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale after authorization from President Dilma Rousseff. Previous attempts to decide the FX-2 competition failed at the political level.
The UAE is in no immediate hurry to acquire a new fighter, although it is anxious to fully contribute to the security of the Gulf countries, according to Major General (ret.) Khaled Abdullah Al Bu-Ainnain, former commander of the UAE Air Force. Khaled told AIN here yesterday that, “it takes years to negotiate a new fighter contract.” His comments will dampen expectations of a near-term order or MoU for the Eurofighter Typhoon that have been raised by the British diplomatic and industrial offensive here this week.
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