StratPost can confirm the scratching of Dassault’s horse in the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) race, the Rafale.
Sources in the Ministry of Defense informed StratPost the aircraft was rejected for not being up to par as far as the technical requirements were concerned. “One issue was about power. The evaluating team was not impressed with the Thrust/Weight ratio,” one source told StratPost.
The Thrust/Weight ratio decide the maneuverability of the aircraft. The Rafale is reputed to have a Thrust/Weight ratio of 1.13. Interestingly, other contenders like the Lockheed Martin’s F-16 and Saab’s Gripen are reputed to have lower ratios of 1.095 and 0.94 respectively, while Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is said to have a ratio of 0.93. The Russian MiG-35 is said to have a ratio of 1.1 and the Eurofighter Typhoon 1.18.
In the case of Rafale, StratPost was informed the ratio was found to be unsatisfactory.
The Rafale was also said to have unspecified problems with its payload deployment system itself.
Other sources told StratPost, the Indian Air Force (IAF) was not impressed with the serviceability of the aircraft. At Exercise Red Flag in the United States last year, in which both the IAF as well as the French Air Force Rafales participated, the Rafales were observed to suffer considerable down time, which, according to some reports, was due to the lack of available spares.
Added to all this is the perception of the Rafale as an extremely expensive aircraft in comparison to its competitors, all five of whom are left in the race for the single largest defense contract in the world, for 126 fighter aircraft, said to be worth $ 12 billion.
But sources in the Ministry of defense have also expressed frustration at the lack of an official communique disqualifying Dassault’s Rafale from the race. “I don’t understand why they can’t issue an official note, if they have indeed made up their minds. Why do these games have to be played during election time?” asked one source.