Dassault Rafale sort of scores again

Never before perhaps has a fighter been “selected” by so many countries without actually, you know, signing an order.

French media reports today that Kuwait Defense Minister Sheik Jaber al-Hamad al-Sabah now wants to buy between 14 to 28 Dassault Rafales. Says French newspaper Le Point, according to Google translator: “Wehave given the green light and we’ll leave it to the technical group tostudy in depth the details,” added the minister, whose remarks weretranslated.

So the Rafale is reportedly selected in Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, but still hasn’t secured an order. In September, Brazil announced that the Rafale enjoys a “comparative advantage” over US and Swedish rivals, but the competition apparently remains alive. So no order there either.

The Dubai Air Show is next month. Will it finally be Rafale’s turn to participate in a contract signing ceremony?


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10 Responses to Dassault Rafale sort of scores again

  1. Royce 21 October, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    The French are giving the Russians stiff competition in the counting-chickens-before-they’re-hatched olympiad.

    You can add Libya to that list of countries that have been about to sign a contract for Rafales for a couple of years now.

  2. Axure 22 October, 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    Right now it’s not so sure that Kuwait will buy any jets. As it was noted on Ares blog, they already have some F-18 that haven’t seen much flying. I don’t think they really need those aircraft. It looks more like some political game.

  3. Charles de Gaulle 22 October, 2009 at 4:38 pm #

    “Signing an order”, you said? Well, we will see. Add also Switzerland, this brave new Libyan world and… who knows?

    As a high ranking official from South Korea recalled us recently: “The Rafale was close to be selected by our Air Force but …very strong political pressures came from this brave new Bush! Quite a pity because the French jet was smart and it flies”

    Ô! Just one last question: after years of massive successes for the JSF, how many “orders” from foreign countries?


  4. Stephen Trimble 22 October, 2009 at 4:43 pm #

    CDG makes a good point about the F-35. I think there are four aircraft on order for export. Two for the UK and two for the Netherlands, although the latter may only have one. So three or four, anyway.

  5. Charles de Gaulle 22 October, 2009 at 4:52 pm #

    Good to listen to attentive friends like Stephen Trimble.

    “Hélas”, you are right: 4 orders for those special operational/prototypes F-35 but neither the UK nor the NL have ordered more. No one has done it. The NL asked for more time, the UK asks for carriers and cash, the Norvegians ask for definitive price, the Italians have other subjects to deal with at the present time and are happy with this artificial “delay”, the Danes would order later etc.

    No order at the moment. Check it.


  6. Charles de Gaulle 22 October, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Good to listen to attentive friends like Stephen Trimble.

    “Hélas” you are right: two countries ordered four of those strange “test F-35″ (operational / prototypes) and at what price! NL parliamentarians were close to have an heart attack… No F-35 more after +/-20 years of research development.

    The NL asked for more time, the UK asks for carriers and cash, the Norwegians asks for a definitive price, the Italians have other subjects to deal with (and are unofficially happy with this artificial “delay”), the Turks have a declaratory policy for “20 more”, Israel went from 100 to 25 to 50 “planned orders”, etc…

    Nothing like “signing an order” for the best world fighter. Check it.

    PS: Only the US pretends that the F-35 is a fifth generation fighter and (all) other fighter from fourth (or fourth and a half for the friends). The French quietly say that the Rafale could be from the sixth generation, just for fun.


  7. Royce 22 October, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    The French can say what they like, and often do, but so far the response from the market hasn’t been strong. Pointing fingers at JSF won’t change that.

    Also, complaining about pressure in SK is ridiculous when the entire fighter market is a mix of tech and politics. If you think everyone who has ever bought a french aircraft bought it purely on its technical merits you are out of your mind.

  8. alloycowboy 22 October, 2009 at 10:48 pm #

    I think everyone forgets that a jet fighter is as only good as its last upgrade. A F-35 upgraded with latest technology will be superior to an F-22 without the upgrade technology. Also the cost to upgrade each F-35 be a lot cheaper because you are spreading your development costs over a lot more aircraft. That is no doubt the real advantage of the F-35 over all other fighters.

  9. AUS Lance 23 October, 2009 at 5:49 am #

    Alloycowboy you are poorly mistaken if you believe that any upgrades on the f-35 could make it a more capable aircraft than the f-22. It is smaller, slower, less stealthy, has less range and maneuverability and carries less munitions. None of these issues can be fixed by ‘upgrades’

  10. Bjørnar Bolsøy 23 October, 2009 at 10:34 am #

    Really great photo of the Rafale there. Nice work by Matt Morgan.

    B. Bolsøy

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