Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An "oh shit!" moment

So, after the great hopes and the long waiting, we get the big surprise: Dassault is India's preferred bidder for the mammoth 126 fighters order. The Rafale bid was the less expensive, and India will now begin negotiations with Dassault over the details of the deal. Contract signature is probably still months away, and there might be still a chance for a big change to happen if negotiations were to fail...

But the fact remains. Typhoon as of now is out of the game. A true "oh shit!" moment.


  1. Hi Gabriele,
    This certainly seems to be a coup for Rafale,but I wonder?
    Has France in its need to get a sale for Rafale gone to far,we know that there are massive offsets concerned and that the Indians demanded quite some stiff transfers of technology,I just wonder how low their bid was in order to get this contract.

    I wonder if over the years that this contract is in place,and working with what can only be described as a 'not hugely efficient Indian aerospace industry'it may come back to bite them.

    I know the figures quoted are huge,but under the circumstances I still wonder if at the end of the day Dassault will make a profit.

  2. My worry (and hope, to a degree) is, actually, that negotiations will fail. And believe me, there are good chances. Transfer of technology, costs themselves, and so many other points of the deal will prove challenging.

    Both the Eurofighter bid and the Rafale bid were well above the budget that India planned to use for the purchase. The Rafale offer contains a lower cost, but i wonder how much the figure will rise as negotiations progress and go into detail.
    Besides, if we have not been fed lies all along, the Indian Air Force preferred the Typhoon: it is to be seen how much happy they are with the second-pick being imposed on them due to financial considerations.

    I think there is potentially a lot still to be seen, personally.
    It remains a big bad blow for the Typhoon, however, there is no doubts on this.

    And it underlines a failure in political relationships with what is unquestionably the biggest defence market at the moment: France got a contract to upgrade 51 Mirages, build Scorpene subs, nuclear reactors, supply MICA missiles and so along. They have gained a huge foothold in India, and the UK has little. Hawks and Merlin helicopters, mostly, but little stuff compared to what France is getting.

    The UK defence industry has a real problem now. And it puts at risk the Type 26 collaboration with India, too, which so much good could do for the program.

    1. Gabriele,

      Indian media after the selection, claimed that the IAF's choice was the Rafale (on account of familiarity with the mirage), so what they wanted will always be in contention.



      Additionally, there is no question of going for a second preference since both aircraft were essentially equal in a legal sense as a result of being downselected.

      Will negotiations collapse? Who knows but there are too many incentives and pressures involved on both sides. India needs the fighters and MATURE ones quickly and France needs the sales. And A lot of people have focussed on TOT almost exclusively with respect to the aircraft itself but what about strategic technology? The French are in a better position to offer technology on missiles, space, submarine and nuclear technology. And that's what many Indian sources are saying. So unless one side acts suicidal during the negotiations, it won't fail-unless someone can prove graft.

      I underlined the word mature to prove a point-the Eurofighter consortium has only itself to blame for loses like this. Why should India or any other customer pay and wait for the integration of an AESA radar, conformal fuel tanks and air to surface systems since the original members can't agree on it? As far as I know, the AESA prototype is still being tested on a rig rather than an aircraft and all we see on weapons integrations are power point presentations for dates in 2015 and 2018. That's just not enough if you want to sway people who want products fast.

      The Rafale they will get is the same that the French military will induct in about 1-2 years time and most of the technology on it has been funded by the French taxpayer.


Everybody can comment on this blog without needing a Blogger account. It is meant to keep the discussion free and open to everyone. Unfortunately, anonymous accounts keep the door open for spammers and trolls, so i'm forced to moderate comments and approve them before they appear. Apologies for the inconvenience.