Rebuttal of DefenseNews’ Blatant Lies About the Rafale

Défense et Géopolitique

This Sunday, DefenseNews, an American military affairs website, published a garbage screed smearing the Dassault Rafale and quoting garbage Russian state propaganda in support of one of its rivals, the Su-30MKI. (Who would’ve thought thatan American news website would be parrotting Russian state propaganda?)

In that article, DefenseNews falsely claims that the Rafale will likely fail to win an export order in India because, supposedly, France is an unreliable supplier of weapons. In support of that garbage claim, DefenseNews parrots Russian propaganda:

“Russian officials and pundits have gone out of their way in recent months to cast France as an unreliable trading partner, a supplier that may cancel deals at the last minute in accordance with the political whims of its puppet masters in DC, and have promised to pursue legal damages if Paris does not go through with the delivery.”

France is a poodle of its puppet masters in DC?…

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17 replies

  1. Honestly, capabilities aside, the catch in the Rafale deal is the technology transfer and local production by HAL, which Dassault deemed to be not good enough to produce the Rafale at the proper economies of scale.

    http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-current-status-of-the-India-France-Rafale-deal

    Has the Indians look at other aircraft, such as the Gripen??

    As for the Mistral deal, cant really comment but it is just politics and statecraft at work. I am sure the company would like to continue and finish the deal, as it means jobs and money….but well statecraft comes first.

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    picard578 posted: ” “

    • “Has the Indians look at other aircraft, such as the Gripen??”

      I think so, but competition was for a medium-weight aircraft, so Gripen never stood a chance.

      • From what I remeber, the competition was between the Rafale, Typhoon, F-18E/F, either MiG-35 or newbuilt Su-30MKI don’t remember which, F-16 and Gripen. Saab to sweeten the deal talked for the first about the possibility of a carrier variant of the Gripen, they even had marketing photos with a Gripen taking-off from a sky-ramp the way Russian, and the future Indian carrier build by Russia, carriers use. After the first phase of the competition, the F-16 and either the F-18 or the Russian offer where dropped. Gripen was dropped after the second phase after which it came between Typhoon and Rafale. That’s when most of the bad press of the Rafale came, the British put a lot of money in badmouthing the Rafale.

        • “That’s when most of the bad press of the Rafale came, the British put a lot of money in badmouthing the Rafale.”

          Of course they did. Britain, Germany and Italy opted out because of French requirement for a carrier-capable version. Now France has a fighter that not only arrived earlier than Typhoon, but is carrier-capable and is overall better in most aspects than Typhoon is. At the same time, UK has to buy crappy F-35s for its carriers. So imagine what slap in the face would Rafale’s victory over Typhoon be for them.

      • “Of course they did.”

        Indeed they did. But that’s Franco-British rivalry, don’t be surprised 😛 😛

        “Britain, Germany and Italy opted out because of French requirement for a carrier-capable version.”

        Actually, it was France who withdrew from the Eurofighter programme because, among other things, the other three partner nations did not want to develop a carrier-capable variant. Then-Defense Minister Charles Hernu withdrew France from the program in 1985 and started France’s own national program.

        “Now France has a fighter that not only arrived earlier than Typhoon, but is carrier-capable and is overall better in most aspects than Typhoon is. At the same time, UK has to buy crappy F-35s for its carriers. So imagine what slap in the face would Rafale’s victory over Typhoon be for them.”

        Indeed it would be, but no one ordered them to build STOVL carriers and buy those crappy F-35s. In fact, in 2006, there was a chance the UK would build CATOBAR carriers (no order had even been placed yet by then) and order Rafale jets – then-Defense Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie was strongly urging the UK MOD to do so. Unfortunately, the UK succumbed to American pressure and stayed in the F-35 program.

        Then, in 2010, when the UK decided to change its carrier design to CATOBAR, there was again a chance it would buy the Rafale instead (though the 2010 SDSR spoke of the F-35C), esp. after the Lancaster House accords were signed. Sadly, Washington exerted enormous pressure to keep Britain on the leash, and London succumbed to that pressure again. I think the UK is just too happy to be America’s vassal.

        • “Unfortunately, the UK succumbed to American pressure and stayed in the F-35 program.”

          Under excuse, I believe, that STOVL carriers are cheaper to buy and operate than CATOBAR ones. Yet they ignored F-35s operating costs.

          “I think the UK is just too happy to be America’s vassal.”

          Unfortunately.

      • “From what I remeber, the competition was between the Rafale, Typhoon, F-18E/F, either MiG-35 or newbuilt Su-30MKI don’t remember which, F-16 and Gripen.”

        It was Mig-35. Su-30 MKI is not considered “medium weight” (there are pics of it alongside Rafales, it just looks twice as big!)

        There haven’t been any official justifications about how and why the loosing fighters failed to satisfy the needs of IAF, but it seems Leh trial was the turning point, with most of opponents failing to impress. (Precedent trials had been Bangalore, conducted in highly humid conditions, and Jaisalmer, in desert hot weather conditions). Leh was focusing on high altitude and cold conditions.

        Rumor is that lots of planes hit limitations in the sub-trial where they had to take-off from the mountain in AtG configuration. The F-18 reportedly failed to take-off in required delay (caution those stories are just rumors, but it seems it really failed since Boeing didn’t deny, they just pointed the finger at the engine-elevator cart which malfunctioned – which isn’t full story either as it don’t tell why they needed engine change in the first place.)
        Actually only Rafale managed the engine-restart test without issues, followed by Gripen (which conducted the test later).

        • “Under excuse, I believe, that STOVL carriers are cheaper to buy and operate than CATOBAR ones. Yet they ignored F-35s operating costs.”
          => Thus, DCNS has very well f**ked them by delivering something else than the definitive study! They were right at not trusting the brits that once the blue prints delivered, refused DCNS to build the third of each carriers, forcing France out of building the PA2 as it was unacceptable. Brits end paying €3.7bln per ship while the definitive DCNS concept would have cost only €2.3bln per ship if the French govt signed for a single one (CATOBAR!) but the goal was €2bln so no, no PA2 😦 This goal would have been achieved without the Brit treachery as, by building 3, the cost would have felt to €2bln…
          Moreover, brits end with 2 ridiculous islands on each side of an elevator! Not really great for deck operations which are the secret of being efficient for a carrier!
          Actually, considering the price of nuclear reactors, all could have had CVNs for €2.3-2.4bln each… And without going nuclear, Brits would have ended with 43 Rafales for free if you consider what they end spending!
          Note that frankly, DCNS could have made it even better and cheaper for the definitive plan!
          Simply scrap any island, make a symmetric deck and just have a frigate like small tower/mast for radars etc. The deck but also under-deck super structures so could be extended on starboard ending with even more room for operations either on deck but for operation rooms too, much less troubles for balancing the ship too.
          Note, I think I can conceptualise something about €1.5bln and €1.8bln-nuclear, maybe less, with the air group of an US super carrier and at this price, we could even consider 4 catapults able to launch even a Transall, maybe even a C-130 : there’s something both much powerful and cheaper than both steam and EMALS catapults. The pasha of the USS Gerald Ford wanted at least one, these should have already been mounted on the USS Entreprise but thanks to the military-industrial complex, they were scrapped each time. They were even proposed to the Brits for their new carrier, MoD answered it was an unproven concept while the US vice-admiral that ended in charge of the tests confessed in his memoires that these worked great but he torpedoed willingly the test program, probably as it would have made 170 sailors useless per ship! The system simply uses 4-5 gallons kerosene per launch and 95 of parts can be procured on civilian market so you end with $30M for the 1st catapult and $5M for any additional, no need gas factory for steam and no need ultra-heavy crazy accumulators to stock enough energy for EMALS.
          Note that France paid $50M for the 2 C13-2 steam catapults M.Alliot-Marie bought for the future PA2 and the 4 EMALS for USS Ford cost is $573M

    • Yes, but the competition was for a medium-weight aircraft, and Gripen is a LWF in the HAL Tejas class. The “competitors” India is evaluating include the Typhoon and the (heavy-weight) Su-30MKI.

      France has offered a full TOT, and thus a very good deal. The latest problem, though, is money: the Rafale is a somewhat expensive fighter, and the Indian defense budget this year will only rise modestly. The Indian MOD might not be able to afford the jet.

      • The problems started in 2013 or 14 I don’t remember exactly when, just after the Indians had selected the Rafale and were preparing to sign the deal, the Indian Rupee fell about 20% in relation to the Euro in a matter of days, and it has stayed that way. Suddenly the Indians found themselves with an deal costing 20% more then initially, because they have to pay the Rafale in Euros but they get their budget in Rupees, so they started stalling with the whole warranty issues (which is ludicrous how can the French offer warranty for something the Indians produce? ) and the Russians and their supporters in the Indians government and military profited from this occasion.

        • “Suddenly the Indians found themselves with an deal costing 20% more then initially, because they have to pay the Rafale in Euros but they get their budget in Rupees, so they started stalling with the whole warranty issues (which is ludicrous how can the French offer warranty for something the Indians produce? ) and the Russians and their supporters in the Indians government and military profited from this occasion.” – EXACTLY! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • As of late the Euro too has been weakening owing to the economic troubles of Europe. I suppose the question is long term currency forecasting and that is always a very fickle thing to forecast.

      • The Euro is weakening because the European Central Bank stole a page from the US Federal Reserves book and started printing money to weaken the Euro in relation to the Dollar and thus encourage exports outside of the EU. The plan is to print 1 trillion Euros over 20 months, that is 50 billion Euros per month. The printing presses were started back in February. This is the same thing the US did back in 2008.

      • Now that I think about it, of course, the Russian Ruble is also on the decline due to the fall in oil prices and other events. That doesn’t mean the Rafale should be abandoned in favor of the Su-27 variants though.

        Off topic, but what’s disgraceful about what the ECB is doing is that this will only benefit the big banks – it will not benefit society as a whole.

  2. It’s not some big conspiracy that landed Dassault the contract — it was unethical (and illegal) business practices;
    http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/the-dewline/2011/03/how-to-get-rafale-bribe-india/

    • To be fair, that is the standard procedure: just take a look at virtually all exports of modern fighters (Gripen, Typhoon and especially the F-35). Bribes, fairy tales, and in some cases outright arm twisting.

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