A Rafale aircraft of the French Air Force in mid-flight during the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace exhibition 2015.
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 close-up of a model of the Rafale, showing its sleek lines and load-bearing capability, including drop tanks and armaments.
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.

KUALA LUMPUR: With the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) replacement programme seemingly back on track, Rafale International believes its jet is well-placed 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-to-sea 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.”

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