Eurofighter Typhoon is one of the worlds most advanced new generation multi-role/swing-role combat aircraft available on the market. With 707 aircraft ordered by six nations (Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Austria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), and in service with all nations, the aircraft is Europe’s largest military collaborative program. Eurofighter Typhoon is the only fighter to offer wide-ranging operational capabilities whilst at the same time delivering unparalleled fleet effectiveness.
When the RAFALE program was launched, the Armée de l’Air and the Marine Nationale (the French Air Force and the French Navy) published a joint requirement for a balanced multirole aircraft that would be able to replace seven types of combat aircraft then in use. Versatile and best in all categories of missions, the RAFALE is a true “force multiplier” This is what Dassault Aviation says about their pride and joy and it’s really interesting since they put too much emphasis on words like “omni role” & “multi role”.
The reason for comparing the capabilities of these aircraft’s is because they have both been shortlisted by the Indian Air Force for the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) deal which is a tender for 126 (could go upto 200) multi role fighters to replenish and replace the IAF’s dwindling squadrons.
The Typhoon and the Rafale were the ones the IAF shortlisted because they offer more in long term commitment in the form of technology and service this decision supersedes more over than petty technical details although IAF is looking for a platform which has true Multi-Role capabilities which include air to air missions, air to ground and air to sea as well. So the platform must be able to perform in the most adverse of conditions which includes searing heat and humidity to the frost bitten cold of the Ladakh.
Dassault Aviation is under pressure since they haven’t been able to make a single sale of their aircraft outside their own country so this deal is a game changer to them and we shouldn’t be surprised if we see them tossing everything from full Transfer of Technology (ToT) for everything including their RBE-2AA AESA radars to promising the fitment of the indigenous Kaveri-GTX 35VS into the aircraft as well into the batter and denying the opportunity to block future sales of the same platform to the PAF (Pakistani Air Force) only further sweetens things up.
Eurofighter on the other hand has had a lot of sales with over 707 aircraft ordered by six countries. But this doesn’t mean that they have no interest in India especially since the amount of money involved is no laughing matter US$ 12 billion is hard to come by every day. The Eurofighter Typhoon variant on offer is the Tranche-3.It’s equipped with the latest avionics and ECM’s (Electronic Counter Measures) and also the CAESAR AESA radar.
EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) has agreed to make India partner of the Eurofighter program allowing India to take part in design and development of the future tranches of the Typhoon.
IAF already operates the Mirage-2000 and Rafale is operationally and logistically very similar to their previous cousin. The IAF pilots also love the Mirage’s .They have seen action during the Kargil war (Operation Safed Sagar) and the Rafale has had a share of its own action over the skies in Afghanistan and Libya.
The Euro Fighter Typhoon too has been in action over Libya and was cleared for deployment in Afghanistan. Both the aircraft boasts about sensor fusion technologies however they excel in capabilities in some aspects over the other. Typhoon holds significantly more air to air capabilities than the Rafale since it currently has a higher performance engine with the future development and integration of the TVC (Thrust Vector Control) nozzles this is only going to get better. The Typhoon also is more maneuverable than the Rafale thanks to its aerodynamically unstable design and delta-canards.
Rafale on the other hand is like they say a true “omni-role” fighter it has better air to ground attack capabilities than the Typhoon and is capable of holding on its own against an other fighter. Both these fighters are equipped with AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar’s. The Rafale is already in active duty with the French Navy while the Typhoon on the other hand is yet to do so although a plan for the development of a naval Typhoon is underway.
Both these fighter are state of the art and are more than capable of dealing with what the adversaries might throw against the Indian Air Force in the future although it’s pretty difficult to say even now which air craft the IAF might go for and comparatively both these aircraft are so alike in operational aspects so the selling point might come in the form of additional package on offer with these fighters.
French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation wins Indian Air Force MMRCA deal worth $10.4 Billion on January 31st 2012. India plans to buy 126 aircraft from the company for the coming ten years. Sources say that the process of lowest bidder has been completed, Rafale emerged winner against the European Eurofighter Typhoon. According to the deal 18 aircraft will be directly bought from Dassault Aviation and the rest 108 aircraft will be manufactured in India with partnership with Indian companies.