Rafale Wins in India

France finally scored an international customer for its Rafale fighter jet. After years and years of fits, starts and frustrations, India’s medium multirole combat aircraft (MMRCA) contest ended this morning with a French victory.

Remember, MMRCA pitted the Rafale against everything from the Eurofighter Typhoon and Mig-29 to the American made F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and F-16.

Now that the Rafale has been declared winner, officials from Dassault and India will hammer out the price for the 129 fighter deal.

  • Black Owl

    Huh… Didn’t expect that to happen. I would have put money on the MiG-35 Fulcrum when this thing started. Looks like their going French…

    • Yawn

      The only folks who would have put money on the Mig-35 are those who had no clue about defense procurement and policy in India.

    • Commisar12

      well, the reason the Mig lost is because 1. Buying the Mig-35 would have made 1 nation, Russia, the supplier for about 75% of the Indian AF. 2. The Russians always have spare parts supply issues and their prices fluctuate. 3. The Mig-35 isn’t even out of prototype. Also, the Indians are already operating the Mirage 2000 which has preformed quite well. Also, the French are prepared to give the Indians alot of help with their Tejas’s Kaveri engine. Lastly, the Rafale is about 15 milion or so cheaper than the Typhoon and isn’t subject to any sort of export restrictions and it has an AESA radar.

  • Lance

    Sad day the Griphen and Typhoon and even the MiG-35 are better than the French plane. As well as better looking the Rafael is ugly!

    • tiger

      “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
      History is full of ugly ducklings that perform like swans. The Stuka, The Huey, Honda Civcs, Glocks.

      • Lance

        The Stuka wasn’t a BIG success look what happened to them in the Battle of Briton.

        I do say I thought the MiG-35 would have been a better pick but All I said its just a ugly plane compared to the Mirage 2000 and Mirage III.

    • Atomic Walrus

      Funny that you say that. I’ve always thought that Dassault fighters were among the prettiest out there. Too bad they never have a big enough radome for a decent radar antenna, though.

    • kim

      The plane is just part of the deal. If the Rafaele is – say – 95 % as good a plane as the others (how on Earth does one measure that anyway?), but come with a noticably lower price and an offer to have India build some themselves, it can still be a better deal.

      • V.A.

        Between the Typhoon and the Rafale, the Dassault offer was apparently cheaper by €3.8 million/US$5 million. So yeah, you’re right: noticably cheaper.

        • brok3n

          Let’s keep in mind the Indians are picking a plane that’s already better than its surrounding competition i.e. Pakistan/China. It doesn’t need to be the best fighter in the world and with the PAK-FA moving along it will have a strong, diverse, and very expensive mix of fighters in its inventory.

        • Marie

          cheaper for its life lenght maintenance

    • Galathorn

      hope it will answer to your ignorance

  • Sanem

    couldn’t believe it, I would have expected for India to choose a more spread out, supported Typhoon deal

    but after the operational succes of the Mirage and France’s dependable political support, it seems they choose certainty

    congrats to Dassault, they certainly deserve it

  • mhmm…

    The Rafale is carrier based correct?
    Or is there a convential only version?
    Any chance they bought it in case they wanted an option to put it on a carrier, or at least the follow up for a navy purchase, commonality and streamlining training and all that?

  • Jack

    I’ve never understood what the Frogs have against installing a retractable fuel probe. The Rafale would look so much cooler without that permanent probe in it’s nose.

    • gloup

      drag tax was less than weight tax. And you’ve got to make space to retract the “retractable probe” into. Extra space, larger cell, heavier. This simple ☺

    • David

      The permanent prob cannot breakdown unlike the retractable probe and it’s a lighter system for an unimportant drag. (This is the official position.)

  • tiger

    Well, Congrats to Dassault. I guess those Ops over Libya sealed the deal? Anyway, The various Plane Fan clubs will now begin their posting.

  • Tad

    Anyone know if military considerations were a big/small part of this decision?

  • Len

    The Rafale with an AESA would be a very strong multirole fighter. Remember it’s already got a built in IRST similar to what the Typhoon carries.

    Btw, when is the US going to make IRST standard equipment on fighters? The only fighter that came with one was the F-14D. Kinda dump not to put one on the F-22 being that a radar, even one like the F-22 has is possible to detect.

    Not a big fan of putting the IRST on a centerline tank ala what the Navy is doing with the F-18E/F.

  • V.A.

    Its 126 aircraft, plus an option for 74 more to push up the numbers to an even 200.

    The Typhoon, Rafale, Gripen, and Super Hornet are also competitors for India’s planned 2nd indigenous carrier, which is going to be built with a CATOBAR arrangement. Given that Typhoon and Gripen don’t really have naval versions, the competition mostly between the Rhino and Rafale. I’m guessing this MRCA tender win will do a lot for Rafale’s case in the Naval Air Arm procurement tender too. Unless the US decide to ease up on the CISMoA/INFOSEC or India decides to accept them.

  • brok3n

    The reality of it was that their was only two real options that made the most sense from the get-go, the MiG-35 and the Rafale. History, politics, and existing supply lines we’re really the deciding factor here. The rest of the competition contributed to valuable technical intel for the Indians and nothing else. It will be interesting to see how the Indians cope with higher operating cost and R&D cost for AESA and other ‘stuff’ the French promised them.

    • brok3n

      Wow, looks like the IAF/Rafale fan boys are out in full force

  • Pedro

    It hasn’t been declared the WINNER. It has been declared the CHEAPEST.
    Good luck to anyone negotiating with the Indians on price and I hope they enjoy reading ‘Le livre d’insrtuction”

    We need to offer some Eurofighters to Pakistan, that would focus some Indian minds on what counts outside of air-shows.
    Hot and High ? – what does that mean?

  • sdog

    wow unexpected

  • Muhammad Imran

    Basically its simple… Pakistani F16 pilots are so darn trainined on it and have counted every single pimple and mole on sexy bodies of F16s that they will rape to death any wannabe american plane from other side. Now Russians tech is all reversed and cloned in chinese Jxx series even WS10 engine is reversed from russian tech. So only European tech is “somewhat” left from Pakistani experience.

    • Andrew

      As simple as trying to understand what it is you just said?

    • kim

      Nah, knowing how an opponent’s modern jet fighter performs is just a small part of the equation. While the Rafaele is indeed too new compared to what Pakistani Air Force pilots might have acqainted themselves with, a battle outcome will still be determined in large part on pilot experience and the tactics decided by the air force commanders.

      @ V.A.: Muhammad merely wrote – in colorful language somewhat unusual for this forum – that Pakistani pilots know their planes very well, and that it would give them an edge over others flying the same type planes. Didn’t see any hatred towards India, though – if you’re looking for hatred, then check the comment treads for their occasional vitriolic references towards France or POTUS.

    • Guest

      Kya Imran mian, gaand me khujli ho gaya? You know the Rafale is bigger, faster, more powerful and more agile than your latest F16 Block 52. Rafale is also a LOT stealthier and has one generation more modern electronics and weapons.


    Dassault will probably be taking a manufacturing lost at selling their Rafale for the equivalent of $80M USD; but fortunately, some of the manufacturing will be done in India where labor is cheaper and this will allow Dassault to keep their company intact long enough to possibly develop a 5th Generation variant of the Rafale.

  • TonyC

    Rafale can fly from carriers and is newer technology than the MIG-29, that makes it more interesting for India. The F-18E/F is slow and probably couldn’t export the AESA technology. The Typhoon is land based only, but has supercruise. India obviously wants a true multirole fighter.

  • Sev

    Wow. France actually won something? lol

    • Mike

      Just like everything French, it will quit shortly after they get them.

  • SXO

    Yea, this one was a surprise to me, but some good points have been brought up in the comments that I hadn’t considered, like the export restrictions they would face with the Typhoon if they upgraded to an AESA radar (which is the choice I thought would win).

  • bbb

    The USA will not win a bid for aircraft sales because— congress will cut off spare parts on a whim, making the USA unreliable .

  • Usmc

    Finally the French won something lol

    • Galathorn

      stupid ignorant!

  • passingby

    I agree, mostly on the ground that the US is a totally unreliable weapon source and has nothing of real value to offer. The Eurofighter is still under development and is vulnerable to US political pressure for embargo during conflicts. As for Russian jets, India’s need to diversify its weapon procurement sources alone would be enough to eliminate them from competition.

    I do believe that Rafale is a far better deal than anything the US and the UK have to offer.

  • JOHN


  • Funny the Indians made their choice a few weeks after the Swiss MOD leaked the reports from their 4 plane evaluation(Super Hornet, Typhoon, Gripen and Rafale). Unlike other countries the Swiss no how to evaluate a aircraft. No tech reps, no politicans visits, no cost analysis, no foreign Air Forces pilots. Just give us 3 of your aircraft for 90days. Our pilots will evaluate the them on the missions we need. The pilots make their choice then the bean countersgo to work. 38 Swiss pilots flew all 4 types. Rafale was selected first by all 38 in every mission profile. Typhoon was good at Air to Air still behind Rafale. Super Hornet was did not meet minimum standards in 8 of 9 profiles. Swiss pilots did not know how the Gripen passed the minimum tech inspection, it also failed to meet minimum standards in 8 of 9 profiles. So after the pilots finished the Swiss agreed to give Dassault one chance(only one) to make a set cost offer. Maybe the US DOD could study this method.

    • passingby

      Same method for the US? NOT A CHANCE! US DOD is NOT exactly independent – it may be considered a (compromised) client, if not part of the military industrial complex, which in turn may be considered an owner of the US government. Its single most important goal is to keep the US in perpetual warfare so as to extract as much money as possible from the government, even if it means that they have to covertly fund and execute false flag operations against US military personnel/installations, or create chaos/civil unrest/military coup/mass murder etc in other countries (e.g Libya, Syria, Iran, Iraq).

    • yawn


      Boeing withdrew its bid for the Super Hornet very early in the Swiss competition since they understood that as a rather ‘heavy’ aircraft, it was not in the niche that the Swiss were looking for (medium, high performance aircraft).

      • Robert A. Fritts

        You are correct. I re-read the actual Swiss report. Sorry my high school french was 37 years ago. The mission profile scores for the Super Hornet were projections from a 4 day test in Switzerland and a 2 week evaluation in the US. Boeing left early. Was it because (1) they felt the Super Hornet did not fill the Swiss “niche” or (2) they feared a all square extensive evaluation.
        I guess it did not hurt Rafale that Dassault already employs 1200 Swiss making Rafale components.

    • blight_

      You mean letting the actual users have input? God forbid, that only happens when things get desperate.