C Etait La Rafale

SHAH ALAM: C Etai La Rafale, It was the Rafale. Back on April Day, 2017 I wrote a post – in French no less – that the government had signed a contract for the Dassault Rafales. We did not of course, though we came close in just a few days earlier to sign the contract. Even the French president then came to town in a last ditch effort to get the then administration to sign the deal, no matter how many, eight or 18 aircraft.

It was not to be of course. Although it was the the Rafale that had been chosen for the MRCA programme beating out the Eurofighter Typhoon. Indeed if we had signed the contract back in 2017, it is likely that RMAF will be taking delivery of the first aircraft late this year.

Dassault Rafale display at LIMA 17

The first of six Rafales, ordered by India in September, 2016 is expected to be flown home this month. The delivery would have come sooner but like most other things, it was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. Qatar which ordered 36 Rafales in 2015, received its first Rafales in June, last year.
Rafale display at Subang in 2017, Affichage sur Subang Rafale

Why I am writing about this then? I was talking with my usual industry sources last week and when the MRCA programme was mentioned, they agreed that the Rafale had been chosen ahead of the Typhoon back then. The only consolation for them is that the government did not go ahead with the Rafale contract.
French AF Rafale meets up with the PACAF F-16 during the daily display at LIMA 2015.

A small consolation perhaps as the new RMAF MRCA will probably be decided in the next decade or so. A lifetime away, really.


— Malaysian Defence

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