SP Guide Publications puts forth a well compiled articulation of issues, pursuits and accomplishments of the Indian Army, over the years

— General Manoj Pande, Indian Army Chief

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— Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Indian Navy Chief

My compliments to SP Guide Publications for informative and credible reportage on contemporary aerospace issues over the past six decades.

— Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, Indian Air Force Chief

Equipment - Radar Resonance for Rafale

Issue: 05-2009By Our Special Correspondent

Dassault Aviation opts for the RBE2 AESA from Thales for its omni role fighter aircraft

Recording a hat-trick for Thales Aerospace Solutions, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and now France have confirmed the procurement of RBE2 Active Electronically Scanned Array radars manufactured by the French company. Key beneficiary to this technology in France would be Rafale, the omni role fighter aircraft manufactured by Dassault Aviation. The radars will be installed in the aircraft in 2011 for delivery to the French Air Force early in 2012.

With Dassault’s Rafale back in the race for India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft deal and the French operational requirements set at 294 of the fighter aircraft, Thales seems to be on a successful market penetration drive. The French Air Force has ordered 82 Rafales while the French Navy is eyeing 38 Rafale Ms—garnering a total of 120 production aircraft for both the services. Dassault has announced that the manufacturing of the aircraft will continue till 2023.

Joint tests by Thales and French defence procurement agency, DGA, are over. At the demonstration, three prototype radars were flown progressively on a Dassault Falcon20 business jet, a modified Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter and the Rafale. The active phased array, which replaces the passive array in the RBE2 currently operating on the Rafale has a range extended by over 50 per cent, for future compatibility with new weapon systems like meteor. It also has a higher module for reduced cost of ownership, as no array overhaul will be required for 10 years. The waveform agility for high resolution synthetic aperture imagery in air-to-ground mode and better resistance to jamming is a feature specific to Rafale.

Total cost of the Rafale programme, including development, pre-production, production and integrated logistical support, amounts to €33,273 million in 2004—an increase of just 4.18 per cent over the projected cost in 1988. The Rafale will eventually replace all the existing types of fighter aircraft in the inventory of the French Air Force and Navy.