Canada should hold an open competition for its next-generation fighter programme, a senior Dassault official says.
The company has responded to Canada's request for technical information on its twin-engined Rafale multirole fighter, and on 5 July, the company will submit pricing data on the aircraft. The French company is also preparing a package of industrial benefits for Canada, which it will submit on 2 August, the senior official says.
The Rafale International consortium, which consists of Dassault, Thales and Safran, already buys a lot of components from Canada, and if Ottawa holds an open competition as the Gallic company hopes, it would be relatively easy to provide an extensive industrial package.
Will Canada hold an open competition?
On the technical side, the Rafale has advantages over potential competitors, the official says. The aircraft can perform every mission the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter - which Canada had previously selected - can, the Dassault official says. In some the Rafale can perform those roles better, he says.
If Dassault were to offer the Rafale in an open competition, the aircraft would be based heavily on the French air force's active electronically scanned radar equipped configuration. And while the aircraft is equipped with a full suite of French-made sensors, data links and weapons, the aircraft is fully compatible with NATO standards. If needed, the Dassault official says, the Canada could even integrate US-made weapons - although the Rafale already carries certain US armaments.
The bottom line, the Dassault official says, is that France can provide Canada with an aircraft with no risk, a known purchase price and known sustainment cost. It is also an aircraft that can be upgraded easily for the next 40 years, he says. "There are no surprises," the Dassault official says.
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