New Straits Times - - Letters - LES­LIE AN­DRES KUALA LUMPUR lesliea@nst.com.my

WITH the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s multi-role com­bat air­craft (MRCA) re­place­ment pro­gramme seem­ingly back on track, Rafale In­ter­na­tional be­lieves its jet is wellplaced to be the best bet for Malaysia.

With fighter air­craft un­doubt­edly be­ing the most strate­gic weapon of any air force to­day, it said, both in terms of com­bat ef­fec­tive­ness and crit­i­cal tech­nolo­gies, the Rafale is the right an­swer to con­duct modern war­fare safely and ef­fi­ciently, thanks to its multi-role ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The con­sor­tium said there were three “must haves” of a true multi-role fighter air­craft a de­sign, which is, from the on­set, for car­ry­ing out all types of mis­sions suc­cess­fully, a cut­ting-edge mis­sion sys­tem with the best sen­sors, and the sheer power of data fu­sion and an out­stand­ing store car­riage ca­pa­bil­ity.

It said the Rafale is a twin-en­gine multi-role fighter air­craft that can carry out a wide range of mis­sions, such as air polic­ing and de­fen­sive counter air, air-to-ground pre­ci­sion at­tack, air-tosea strike, nu­clear de­ter­rence, and air re­con­nais­sance with­out hav­ing mul­ti­ple fighter air­craft in an op­er­a­tion.

“This en­ables mul­ti­ple mis­sions to be car­ried in one sor­tie. De­signed to be the sole com­bat air­craft in the French Air Force and Navy, be­ing op­er­ated by the French armed forces in com­bat op­er­a­tions for more than a decade now, Rafale has proven its op­er­a­tional ex­cel­lence in var­i­ous the­atres around the world.

“Hav­ing just one type of com­bat air­craft that ful­fills mul­ti­ple roles trans­lates to highly ef­fi­cient squadron main­te­nance and op­er­a­tions.”

Rafale In­ter­na­tional said the sec­ond “must have” has been ful­filled in the Rafale with its tech­no­log­i­cally-ad­vanced sen­sors: ac­tive elec­tron­i­cally scanned ar­ray radar, elec­tronic war­fare in­te­grated self-pro­tec­tion sys­tem, front sec­tor op­tronic sys­tem and datalink.

“The data fu­sion of in­for­ma­tion presents a unique tac­ti­cal pic­ture to the crew, in­creas­ing sit­u­a­tion aware­ness and re­duc­ing pi­lot work­load,” it said.

The Rafale, the con­sor­tium said, was able to take off at 2.5 times its empty weight, fulfilling the third “must have”.

“(It is ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing) a large va­ri­ety of mixed loads, of­fer­ing the abil­ity to con­duct sev­eral types of mis­sions in the same sor­tie. This al­lows flex­i­bil­ity in mis­sion plan­ning and ex­e­cu­tion.

“Its mod­u­lar architecture en­sures that the Rafale is ready for a wide spec­trum of evo­lu­tions linked to fu­ture re­quire­ments, to in­crease its ca­pac­i­ties in tomorrow’s in­te­grated bat­tlespace. With con­tin­u­ous up­grades, the Rafale is guar­an­teed to be op­er­a­tional for the next 40 years and be­yond and is fully adapt­able to any fu­ture needs.”

Rafale In­ter­na­tional be­lieves re­cent suc­cesses in the sale of Rafale air­craft to In­dia, Qatar and Egypt has proven that the Rafale is a wor­thy op­tion for the world’s air forces, in­clud­ing RMAF.

“These fur­ther suc­cesses of the Rafale con­firm the tech­no­log­i­cal know-how and com­pe­ten­cies of Das­sault Avi­a­tion’s em­ploy­ees and of its 500 in­dus­trial part­ners. The con­tracts also il­lus­trate the strate­gic re­la­tion­ship and the ex­em­plary part­ner­ship main­tained be­tween France/Das­sault Avi­a­tion and these coun­tries and marks the nat­u­ral cul­mi­na­tion of the re­la­tion­ship of trust.

“The Rafale is com­bat-proven and is en­gaged in six the­atres of op­er­a­tion, which demon­strates un­stint­ing ef­fi­ciency in pro­tect­ing na­tions,” it said.

Should the Malaysian gov­ern­ment pro­cure the Rafale for RMAF, there will be ben­e­fits for lo­cal de­fence and aero­space in­dus­try play­ers.

“The Rafale is pro­duced by three aero­space lead­ers: Das­sault Avi­a­tion, Safran and Thales. These com­pa­nies are (al­ready) col­lab­o­rat­ing with Malaysian part­ners, among which are lo­cal aero­space in­dus­try play­ers that are, or will be­come, part of Rafale OEM’s Global Sup­ply Chain, or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­sti­tu­tions in­volved in ed­u­ca­tion, re­search and high tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment.

“We are com­mit­ted to Malaysia and will con­tinue to col­lab­o­rate with lo­cal part­ners to de­velop, in par­tic­u­lar, tal­ents and skills of tech­nol­ogy and en­trepreneur­ship, in line with the (gov­ern­ment’s) Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gramme goals,” said the con­sor­tium.

One of the col­lab­o­ra­tions with lo­cal play­ers in which Das­sault Avi­a­tion was in­volved was the UAV Siswa Chal­lenge, ini­ti­ated with the aim of sup­port­ing hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment of a fu­ture en­gi­neer­ing work­force in Malaysia in aero­nau­tics and aero­space.

It was or­gan­ised with Com­pos­ites Tech­nol­ogy Re­search Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CTRM) in part­ner­ship with the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry and the Malaysian In­dus­try-Gov­ern­ment Group for High Tech­nol­ogy (Might).

“The UAV Siswa Chal­lenge pro­vided a plat­form for stu­dents to put the­ory to prac­tice, gain­ing hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence sim­i­lar to a real-life com­mer­cial project. We were de­lighted to see Malaysian stu­dents demon­strat­ing their knowl­edge, ca­pa­bil­i­ties and de­ter­mi­na­tion to achieve the goal of fly­ing their UAV au­tonomously.

“The re­sult was out­stand­ing. The stu­dents com­mit­ted their time to complete their hex­a­copter, over­came dis­ap­point­ments fol­low­ing crashes and learnt from them, sourced for so­lu­tions and en­larged their net­work of con­tacts from this chal­lenge.

“These are prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence that add to their the­o­ret­i­cal and tech­ni­cal knowl­edge and will equip them well when they join the mar­ket­place,” said the com­pany.

The Rafale re­turns to the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion again this year and Das­sault Avi­a­tion is de­lighted to be back.

“This ex­hi­bi­tion is an op­por­tu­nity for Rafale In­ter­na­tional to re­new and strengthen ties with our ex­ist­ing and fu­ture part­ners. At the same time, it pro­vides a plat­form for the Rafale to show­case its state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy, ca­pa­bil­ity and fea­tures that not only ben­e­fit the avi­a­tion and de­fence sec­tor, but also for ed­u­ca­tion and eco­nomic in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment in Malaysia.”

A French Air Force Rafale ma­noeu­vres over the run­way area of the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Air­port in front of the Mah­suri In­ter­na­tional Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre at the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion p2015. A close-up of a model of the Rafale, show­ing its sleek lines and load-bear­ing ca­pa­bil­ity, in­clud­ing drop tanks and ar­ma­ments.

The Rafale, two of which are seen here in this file pic­ture, is back to thrill and im­press the crowds at the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and

Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion this year.

A Rafale air­craft of the French Air Force in mid-flight dur­ing the Langkawi In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime and Aero­space ex­hi­bi­tion 2015.

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