Dassault's Rafale is making its fourth appearance at Asian Aerospace as the competition to win Singapore's fighter competition reaches its final stage.

RSAF pilots first flew an early development aircraft in 1998, when eight officers undertook an evaluation of the aircraft at Istres, four of them flying the aircraft.

A Republic of Singapore Air Force order for the Dassault Rafale would open the export order book for the aircraft, and could help kick-start development of the advanced F3 version.

Although the defence ministry remains tight-lipped about the competing aircraft, it is understood that Dassault has offered to supply Singapore with a more advanced version of Rafale than is presently in service with the Arm‚e de l'Air or A‚ronavale.

High value

The Rafale F3 will be the first version with full terrain following and reconnaissance capabilities, and is expected to enter service after 2007.

The new version will feature the advanced RBE-2 radar and more powerful engines, and in return for some help with funding, Singapore could gain a share in high-value development work, and in future export revenues.


It is almost certain that Singapore would also be able to expand the scope of the training operation which it already has in France, under which A-4SU Skyhawk conversion training is presently undertaken from Cazaux, allowing the RSAF to 'export' flying from Singapore's crowded and constrained airspace.

Rafale training might be undertaken in France, and greater use might be made of French ranges for training aircrew from other fast jet types.

Singaporean links with France have already been strengthened by the order of six advanced frigates from France's Direction des Constructions Navales International (DCN). The stealth warships are being built in France and in Singapore, and the first is expected to be commissioned in 2005.

Source: Flight Daily News