|The KOPP has spoken!
The sale of Rafale or Eurofighter to India is a lifeline to both the Dassault Company and the French aviation sector generally and the four-country consortium producing, so far unviably, the latter aircraft that an expert acquaintance dismissed as something ?Germany doesn?t want, Britain can?t afford, and Spain and Italy neither want nor can afford!? But, leverage-wise, it affords India traction with four European countries instead of just France in case Rafale is taken. But is either of these aircraft genuinely multi-role?
Dr Carlo Kopp, an internationally renowned combat aviation specialist, deems the Typhoon, a non-stealthy, short-range (300 nautical miles) air defence/air dominance fighter optimised for transonic manoeuvres, more a ?lemon? than a ?demon?. Italian Air Force Chief Gen. Vincenzo Camporini, moreover, declared in 2008 that this plane was incapable of an ?attack role in an economically sustainable manner?, in part because EADS has no AESA radar. It hopes to develop one with the infusion of Indian monies if Typhoon is selected. Realistically, India will not get the strike variant until well into the 2020s as the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe, for starters, will have the first lien on it. In short, for over a third of its lifetime, the IAF will have to make do with the more limited air defence version which, in effect, is an avionics-wise souped-up, ergonomically improved, MiG-21! Moreover, to expect timely, coordinated, supply of spares and service support from 20-odd countries (including Croatia!) roped into the Eurofighter programme will be a compounded logistics and maintenance nightmare.
Rafale is a smaller, semi-stealth plane with slightly better un-refuelled range than the Typhoon but, equipped with the RBE-22A AESA radar, can undertake ground attack, including nuclear weapon delivery. Critically, it has finessed the algorithm (patented, incidentally, by an Indian scientist) for more effective fusion of data from numerous on-board and external sensors (such as satellite) better than the Eurofighter. Except, as late as 2009, Rafale was ruled operationally inadequate perhaps because it is less agile in ?dogfighting? ? a role the IAF brass remains enamoured with long after advanced tactical missiles have made close-quarter aerial battle history. Rafale and Typhoon nevertheless cost a bomb, with the MMRCA eventually coming in at around $20 billion.
Indeed anything thats not the F-22 or a J-20 or a T-50 is a lemon these days!