Indian periodical The Hindu recently reported that France’s Dassault Aviation won a $10 billion contract to supply India with 126 Rafale fighters under the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program. Dassault will supply the first 18 aircraft in “fly-away” condition and the rest will be manufactured in India at the Hindustan Aeronautics facility under a transfer of technology plan.
Thales is a major player on the Rafale team. Thales reports that the company provides equipment and systems that account for approximately one third of the total value of each aircraft. The Rafale combat aircraft is equipped with the Thales RBE2 radar. Thales is currently working on an RBE2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) variant.
One year ago, Thales announced that a production model RBE2 AESA radar had been validated on the Rafale aircraft. This announcement followed a three-month flight test program with an RBE2 AESA-equipped Rafale. During the test program, Dassault Aviation confirmed that all aspects of the radar’s performance complied with the technical specifications of the French defense procurement agency (DGA).
The Spectra electronic warfare system for the Rafale provides identification, location, jamming, and decoying against an extensive range of electromagnetic, infra-red, and laser threats. Thales is the prime producer and integrator of Spectra; other companies provide the subsystems, such as missile warning systems and chaff/flare dispensers.
Thales also manufacturers the Damocles multi-function targeting pod. Damocles gives the Rafale day and night, all-weather, laser-guided weapon capabilities. According to Thales, Damocles’ powerful laser and high resolution imagery provide the aircraft with a long stand-off range and tactical ground and air defense system survivability.
Damocles is in service with French Air Force and Navy Rafale aircraft. Recent press releases have not disclosed if India will be purchasing targeting pods. India may equip a portion of its new fleet with Damocles pods.
Forecast International prepares market intelligence reports on Damocles, the RBE2 radar, and Spectra that are part of the Electronic Systems Service.