of India reported onMay 22 that the Dassault Rafale is back in the race for an Indiangovernment contract to build 126 new medium multirole combat aircraft for the country's Air Force.The paper said that the Rafale had been booted out of thecompetition to supply the jets by the Indian Defence Ministry afterDassault failed to respond properly in its technical bid toward theGSQRs (general staff qualitative requirements) drawn up by the IAF. Thepaper then quoted an unnamed Defense Ministry official stating thatDassault had since supplied missing information and that the Rafalewould now participate in IAF field trials of the competitors.
There will be two sets of field trials, according to The Times. Thefirst set is scheduled for July and August and the second in the winterof 2009-2010. The aircraft will be flown in the mountainous region ofLeh, the hot Rajasthan desert, and the humid region around Bangalore.
After field trials the field of six fighters- the Rafale, the Lockheed Martin F-16, the Boeing F/A-18, Saab's Gripen, the RAC MiG MiG-35, and the Eurofighter Typhoon- will be winnowed down to a short list of three aircraft. Commercialbids by the three remaining candidates will then be opened andevaluated. The IAF would like the aircraft to be delivered by2012-2013, but the evaluation and bidding process is expected to take aminimum of two years. Under the circumstances, a contract cannot beexpected before 2011.
UAE Considering Rafale Jet Fighters
ABU DHABI, UAEs --- According to UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan, discussions between the UAE and Franceabout the possible Emirati purchase of the new generation French Rafalejet fighter are moving ahead. Officials from the UAE made hints in 2008that the tiny Gulf state was considering the acquisition of Rafalefighters as a solution for the replacement of its 60 French-built Mirage combat aircraft. Such a deal is believed to be valued between EUR6-8 billion ($8-11 billion).
France, along with the U.S., is one of the UAE's key arms suppliers.One snag in the potential sale of the Rafale to the UAE for the Frenchis that any deal is likely to be precluded by the demand that Franceeither take back theMirage 2000-9 jets or find a suitable buyer on theglobal market. France, still seeking an export market for its DassaultAviation aircraft, might settle for buying back the surplus Mirages inorder to achieve the sale.