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India Turns Down American Fighter Jets, Buys From France 600

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-want-our-freedom-jets dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While America had offered the F-16, F-18 and now the stealth F-35 fighter, India picked for its new multi-role attack jet a low cost, older French plane. Why? For one, it's cheaper, and two, if American/Indian relations go bad, can they get the parts and equipment to keep the planes in the air? It seems prudence beat out the latest in technology."
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India Turns Down American Fighter Jets, Buys From France

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:31AM (#38932115)

    someone in the india ministry of defense should google "french military victories"

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:38AM (#38932157) Homepage

      It actually makes sense, if you're a nation where manpower is cheap-- a larger number of lower-awesomeness but cheaper jets may beat a smaller number of higher-awesomeness expensive jets. And they're not likely to be fighting the US-- they primarily need fighters that can beat Pakistan.

      • by Ambvai (1106941) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:42AM (#38932177)

        Reminds me of a line about WWII I came across years ago that ran something like: "The superior German tanks could outperform anything the Allies threw at them, 10:1. Unfortunately, they built 11 tanks for each German tank."

        • by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:48AM (#38932215)

          Quantity has a quality all it's own.

          • by tomhath (637240) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @10:28AM (#38934467)

            Quantity has a quality all it's own.

            Quantity has a quality all it's own.

            Up to a point. But the Battle of 73 Easting [wikipedia.org] is a good example of what can happen when superior technology is used against superior numbers

            Casualties and losses:

            American/British: 1 Bradley IFV is destroyed,1 killed, 12+ wounded

            Iraqi: 85 tanks, 40 armored personnel carriers, 30 wheeled vehicles, 600 killed or wounded to thousands killed

            • by denzacar (181829) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:52PM (#38935735) Journal

              From the very same Wikipedia article linked in the post above:

              The main U.S. unit in the battle was the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (2nd ACR), a 4,500 man reconnaissance and security element assigned to VII Corps.
              It consisted of three ground squadrons (1st, 2nd and 3rd), an aviation (attack helicopter) squadron (4th), and a support squadron.
              The 2ACR combat team numbered around 10,000 soldiers.
              Each ground squadron was made up of three cavalry troops, a tank company, a self-propelled howitzer battery, and a headquarters troop.
              Each troop comprised 120 soldiers, 12 M3 Bradley fighting vehicles and nine M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks.[1]
              The corps' main body consisted of the American 3rd Armored Division (3rd AD) and 1st Infantry Division (1st ID) and 1st Armored Division (1st AD), and the British 1st Armoured Division (1 AD).

              The primary battle was conducted by 2ACR's three squadrons of about 400 soldiers, along with the 1st Infantry Division's two leading brigades, who attacked and destroyed the Iraqi 18th Mechanized Brigade and 37th Armored Brigade) of the Tawakalna Division, each consisting of between 2,500 to 3,000 personnel.[1]
              During the battle, 2nd ACR destroyed 160 tanks, 180 personnel carriers, 12 artillery pieces and more than 80 wheeled vehicles, along with several anti-aircraft artillery systems.

              That's 189 armored vehicles, plus their support.
              Plus air support.

              Scout and attack helicopters of Fourth Squadron and 2-1 Aviation Battalion (AH 64 Apache) supported the fight as weather allowed.

              Plus a shitload of TOWs.

              After defeating that force, McMaster sent a scout platoon north to regain contact with Troop G. In doing that the scout platoon encountered another Iraqi tank position of thirteen T72s which they destroyed with TOW missiles.

              All of the above (and more) used at the same time whenever they encountered the enemy, during 24+ hours of the battle.
              So, all at the same time, but not all at once.

              Combat became so intense at times that only massed artillery and mortar fires, attack helicopters and Air Force close air support prevented the enemy from closing with G Troop.
              .
              .
              .
              Artillery fire and air strikes played a large role in the battle, especially in the far north. Colonel Gary Bourneâ(TM)s 210th FA Brigade in direct support of 2nd ACR fired missions out to the 78 Easting. Close air support missions struck targets in greater depth preventing some Iraqi units from closing with G Troop or escaping the battle area. Attack helicopters flew in support of air scouts at key intervals during the day and the 2-1 Aviation Battalionâ(TM)s Apache helicopters, led by Lt Colonel Jon Ward, destroyed two batteries of enemy artillery and struck march units along the IPSA Pipeline Road at 4:30 p.m. just as the battle began in earnest.

              During Desert Storm Coalition troops numbered at 956600 - versus 650000 Iraqi troops.
              They didn't go there to test "what can happen when superior technology is used against superior numbers".
              That is not how you win wars.

              You win wars by being the side with BOTH superior technology and superior numbers, AND by bringing both down heavily on your enemy's head.
              That's why during the Desert Storm US troops numbered basically the same number of battle deaths and "slipped in the shower/fell from a chair" [archive.org] deaths.

          • by Hognoxious (631665) on Monday February 06, 2012 @05:20AM (#38940029) Homepage Journal

            Quantity has a quality all it's own.

            Especially when it comes to apostrophes. Always better to have too many than too few.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Sounds like Windows PCs.
        • by tnk1 (899206) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:44AM (#38932557)

          Actually, the Russian T-34 was a nasty surprise to the Germans. The Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks the Germans used in the early part of the Russian campaign were woefully under-armoured and under-gunned for dealing with the T-34. However, the Germans actually knew how to use their tanks, and the Russians had handicapped the T-34 with a crappy gun. Eventually, the T-34 got it's better gun, but and the Germans built a long 75mm gun that finally had real armor penetration. And the they built the Panther and Tiger tanks.

          That said, the German tanks got their real reputations fighting Sherman tanks, and the Sherman was definitely inferior to most German tanks. That is one place where a 6:1 ratio was pretty much accurate.

          So essentially, the war started with the Russians having the better tank and then it flipped around. Unfortunately for the Germans, even though they ramped up production significantly after 1943, they still insisted on building over engineered vehicles that were so complex and touchy that they'd actually lose half of the tanks on the way to the front and could not be easily manufactured. That's what happened to the Panther on it's first outing on the Eastern Front.

          I'd say then, the best tank of the entire war, in terms of impact, was probably the T-34, and not the German ones, despite their individual capabilities and crew training being much higher than the Allied tanks.

          • sloped armor (Score:4, Informative)

            by p51d007 (656414) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:28AM (#38932995)
            The T-34's main advantage was the sloping angle of its forward armor. While only a couple inches thick, at the angle a shell would hit it, it would present itself as a thicker piece of steel to an object impacting it. Between that, and the sheer number of T-34's thrown at the Germans, they just overwhelmed them.
            • Re:sloped armor (Score:5, Informative)

              by Luckyo (1726890) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @06:01AM (#38933467)

              You information is false. T-34 had multitude of innovations granting it advantages, and sloped armour was just one of them. Others included excellent main gun, significantly less flammable fuel, being very light for its capability while having wide tracks and very good suspension and finally significantly simplified construction process. There was also an issue of often remaining mobile even after losing its main turret, which meant loss of 2/3 of the crew, because of driver having his own front facing machine gun, allowing him to continue to provide cover and suppression fire against infantry.

              Essentially T-34 could outrun, outmaneuver and outgun any early WW2 Wermacht medium tank, outrun and outmaneuver most light tanks and still stand toe to toe with heavy tanks because of its armour and gun. It's this versatility that allowed for cheap mass production because instead of having to build light, medium and heavy tanks, USSR could focus on one medium tank that could perform well in light and heavy roles as well.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2012 @04:52AM (#38933245)

            In keeping with the aircraft theme...

            What about the Il-2/10 Stormovik ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stormovik )? That damn thing helped to decide the battle of Kursk (claims of a squadron of Il-2s to have blown away about 70 tanks in 20 minutes). The idea and performance of the Stormoviks and the adaptations of the P-47, A-1 Skyraiders, and the venerated "Spooky" gunship during Viet Nam led to our modern equivalent, the A-10 Warthog.

            The thing is, the Air Force didn't like a "low and slow" ugly POS in their arsenal - they wanted big, fast, and expensive Eagles and Falcons. The Gulf War would show everyone what that big ugly bastard could do. Anyone remember the footage of an A-10 landing with one wing blown off?

            Now, when you take a military that doesn't bat an eyelash over dropping $40-60 million on a fighter, and have that industry try to convince other countries to pony up the dough, you get this.

            How do we compete? Back when the F-22/23/35s were being developed, Northrup had already put together an updated version of the F-5E "Freedom Fighter", they called the F-20 Tigershark. They updated the avionics, threw in the same engine as the Falcon, lightened things up with carbon fiber, and streamlined a few things. The result? Well, when some guy named Chuck "Fsck the sound barrier" Yeager climbed out of his test flight, he had an ear-to-ear grin. It was cheap (~$12M), fast (2 minutes to operational altitude), and used standard parts that allowed for front-line field-swaps. The kind of thing some country like India might want, wouldn't you say?

            I'm seeing the same mentality in cars. I don't need GPS, ABS, WiFi, Bluetooth, heated seats, backup camera, or even a cigarette lighter. I just want a car that gets me there, for little cost. Like India, I can't seem to find any...

          • by Shinobi (19308) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @05:13AM (#38933309)

            The ratios is an interesting thing: First of all, the only American tank designed to actually go into tank vs tank combat was the Pershing, because the doctrine, thanks to an idiot general in the US, was that Tank Destroyer battalions should do the combat with the tanks, while tanks should only support infantry. The M4 with a 76mm gun was an emergency solution, and the gun was just roughly comparable to the 75mm on the Panzer IV, that is, not at all comparable to the short 88 on the Tiger, or the long 75 on the Panther. (As an aside: many people mix the KWK 36 L/56 together with the KWK/PAK 43 L/71 in terms of fearsome, but they used completely different ammunition. The KWK 42 L/70, that is the Panthers long 75 was actually a better anti-tank gun than the short 88)

            In terms of ratios, the only hard ones I've seen are in regards to the Tiger.

            US estimated that to deal with a Tiger, they'd need 6 Sherman with 75mm guns, and they'd lose 5

            Russia estimated that to deal with a Tiger, they'd need 5 T-34, and they'd lose 4

            UK, with their Firefly augmented tank troops, estimated that they'd need a troop of 5, and they'd lose 3 ordinary Shermans while the Firefly got into a position to kill the Tiger, and that's because the Firefly had a gun almost comparable to the KWK 43 L/71.

            In terms of impact, yes the T-34 had an impact on following tanks in the war, but the Panther had a much larger impact on everything that came later, including the Centurion and the Leopard 1, and even carrying on to modern designs.

      • Rafale F16 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sanman2 (928866) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:47AM (#38932211)

        The F16 is a "4th generation" fighter, whereas the Rafale is a "near 5th generation" fighter. Yes, it's cheaper, and also newer than the F16. Unfortunately, past US behavior has shown its willingness to use military supplies to arm-twist countries, and this unfortunately damages US credibility as a supplier. No sense buying jets you can't use because someone is witholding vital spares. Meanwhile, India is buying the C-17 Globemaster from the US for airlift capabilities.

        • The F16 is a "4th generation" fighter, whereas the Rafale is a "near 5th generation" fighter.

          The U.S. is also willing to invest heavily in upgrading old avionics, making what "generation" it is in to be relatively irrelevant. For example, look at the operational history of the B-52.

          • Re:Rafale F16 (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Swampash (1131503) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:50AM (#38932851)

            The US is willing to invest heavily in upgrading old avionics while keeping the source for all the software. Would you buy a piece of military hardware knowing that the aging paranoid warcrazy manufacturer may have retained the ability to disable all those planes with the flip of a switch?

            • Re:Rafale F16 (Score:5, Informative)

              by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:45AM (#38933075) Journal

              The US is willing to invest heavily in upgrading old avionics while keeping the source for all the software. Would you buy a piece of military hardware knowing that the aging paranoid warcrazy manufacturer may have retained the ability to disable all those planes with the flip of a switch?

              USA is not the only country in the world doing that - The French are more untrustworthy than Uncle Sam !

              Remember the Falklands War ?

              Argentina bought the Exocet missiles from the French but the French gave the British secrets to Exocet's code and homing radar ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exocet#cite_note-15 [wikipedia.org] ) resulting in the total defeat of Argentine's air force

        • by mrmeval (662166)

          There is also nothing to prevent a kill switch being planted in the software. With the right radar or other signal the radar and/or other systems could be shutdown. I'd want full access to the source code of whatever software will come with the plane even if it's dumbed down for foreign sales.

        • by unixisc (2429386) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:18AM (#38932713)

          But India's relationship w/ the US has been pretty good. The only strains were when Bush, after 9/11, decided that Pakistan was an ally, rather than an enemy, and this understandably teed India off. Also, since 1991, one of India's closest defense allies has been Israel - India happens to be Israel's biggest customer for defense equipment.

          I think India is buying from France, aside from cost reasons, to make US understand that there is a price tag involved if it continues to support & supply Pakistan. If the US were to cut all the billions of aid it gives Pakistan, there could be an improvement. Also note that if India were to buy more expensive equipment over something less expensive, politicians would scream 'corruption'. In the 80s, that's precisely what happened w/ the Swedish company Bofors, and even though there was no wrongdoing on the government's part, the perception of wrongdoing was what led to the defeat of the government in the 1989 elections. Yeah, there have been many corruption scandals since, but no government in its right mind would want to jeopardize its very existence over the country's security.

          • by tuxicle (996538) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:41AM (#38933057)

            India's military relationship with the US has not always been very good. For example, when India supported the Bangladeshis during their Liberation War, Nixon's response was to send in a carrier battle group [wikipedia.org] to support Pakistan, despite evidence of genocide [wikipedia.org] by the West Pakistani army. Given India's closeness to the USSR, the US was always somewhat wary of military ties. Operation Smiling Buddha [wikipedia.org] and Operation Shakthi [wikipedia.org] didn't help very much either, but the US rather quickly learned that economic sanctions against India didn't really prove effective and withdrew them in a few years.

            The IAF also has a relatively long [wikipedia.org] history [wikipedia.org] of using fighter [wikipedia.org] aircraft [wikipedia.org] and helos [wikipedia.org] of French origin. The French are not shy about sharing technology either, such as the Master AP [thalesgroup.com] system that's integrated into India's Ballistic Missle Defence network, or SAGEM's numerous avionics subsystems that are part of the HAL Tejas [wikipedia.org].

            Bottom line, then, is that while I'm sure US support of Pakistan would have had some influence, many other factors (much of it historical) contributed to the final decision.

        • Re:Rafale F16 (Score:5, Interesting)

          by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:21AM (#38932965) Journal

          Canada is currently in the process of adding new [www.ctv.ca] ships to its navy via the 'Single Class Surface Combatant Project' [wikipedia.org], and is modernizing its fleet of Halifax class frigates [wikipedia.org]. Because America's International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is a pain in the ass [defenseindustrydaily.com] and frequently abused for political purposes, one of the big mandates at least for the Halifax frigate modernization is to try to reduce the dependence on U.S. (weapons) systems as much as possible; opting for systems from Canada, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Israel. IIRC I believe this started with issues around exporting and/or updating torpedoes (or at least that is what I remember being the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of naval weapons systems). It is unclear if this will continue with the new combat ships; there has been no clear indication published (pdf) [drdc.gc.ca] in the news one way or another. Now if a close ally of the United States is forced to look elsewhere [dmag.info] to avoid a lot of issues raised by the abuse of ITAR rules by American politicians and companies, then it is likely a very smart decision of India to avoid buying from the U.S.

          But I don't know why they didn't go with the Typhoon. It looks marginally better. The wing load is higher, the thrust, speed, and climb is better, and it super cruises faster. These kinds of things are what allows a plane to return home at the end of the day when the shit hits the fan. Mind you, the Americans did do a bit of a study in the 80s I believe, where they had a bunch of top guns in F-5s go after standard operational F-14s and F-15s and pretty much proved that a bunch of small manoeuvrable fighters were a credible and significant threat to the bigger less manoeuvrable modern planes. Not sure where they went with that after. Maybe the military industrial complex that Eisenhower warned about [youtube.com] took issue with the results of that study.

      • by TerranFury (726743) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:04AM (#38932303)

        Indeed! There are (admittedly very simplified) models of combat that indicate that the power of a fighting force is proportional to the square of its number of members.

        This is something that I stumbled across when developing simple ODE models of Starcraft combat, and later discovered is known as Lanchester's Square Law [wikipedia.org]. The idea is simple: Suppose you have two opposing groups of identical combat units, with x and y members, respectively. If you assume that all units concentrate fire on the weakest enemy, then the rate at which enemy units is depleted is proportional to the number of units you have, and vice versa. In symbols,

        dx/dt = -y

        dy/dt = -x

        It turns out that the quantity D = x^2 - y^2 is conserved by this system (to verify this, just differentiate D with respect to time, use the product rule, and substitute in from the ODEs). What this means is that the fighting power of a fighting force is proportional to its square, and when the smaller force is eliminated, the larger force will have lost as much fighting power as the smaller force had, in order to defeat it.

        You can modify the equations to include constants that reflect unequal kill rates, but you will find that the equivalent conserved quantities still depend quadratically on the number of units, but only linearly on the kill rate coefficients. The conclusion to be drawn is that, given a choice between a unit that's twice as effective, and twice as many units, you should choose to have twice as many units.

        All this is predicated on the accuracy of the mathematical model, of course, and that model, I freely admit, is a rather drastic simplification. However, its aesthetics are appealing, and I think it may have a grain of truth. If it does, than Rafales or Super Hornets may indeed be the better choice than F-35s.

        • by notany (528696) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @06:09AM (#38933493) Journal
          Rand corporation did its now famous August 2008 Pacific Vision wargame between China and US. It was not simulation of fighter performance, but simulation of whole aerial warfare, including logistics etc. US performed poorly because there is clear logistical limitations. No matter how good the fighter is, it can bring only very limited amount of missiles to the battle. What makes things even harder fo US is the fact that potential conflict happens close to China and far from US. China has unique approach to airfields, it has over 40 military airfields where planes are stored inside mountains in extremely well fortified bunkers. US has in the region maybe 20 lightly fortified airfields (depends on how many allies bail out) plus carriers.

          Quoting Defense Industry Daily article The F-35’s Air-to-Air Capability Controversy [defenseindustrydaily.com]:

          The core problem in Pacific Vision 2008 was that even an invulnerable American fighter force ran out of missiles before it ran out of targets, at any number below 50% of missile firings resulting in kills. Whereupon the remaining Chinese fighters would destroy the American tankers and AWACS aircraft, guaranteeing that the USAF’s F-22As would run out of fuel and crash before they could return to Guam.

          To reiterate: RAND’s core conclusion is not about specific fighter performance. It is about the theoretical limits of better performance under adverse basing and logistics conditions. RAND’s Project Air Force argues, persuasively, that based on history and current trends, numbers still matter – and so does the “Lanchester square.” That’s the theory under which the combat performance of an outnumbered combatant must be the square of the outnumbering ratio (outnumbered 3:1 must be 9x better, etc.) just to stay even.

          Or, as the oft-repeated Cold War era saying goes, “quantity has a quality all its own.”

          Additional problem with F-35 is that it has limited missile carrying capacity, range, and stealth (stealth requirements were downgraded from very low observable, to low observable).

      • And they're not likely to be fighting the US-- they primarily need fighters that can beat Pakistan.

        ... or China. But then China doesn't have any particularly advanced planes, either (yet).

      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        And the french are selling rafales with a technology transfer. Same deal they had with Brazil. The Eurofighter was the best fighter in the competition, but no technology transfer at the same level (manufacturing exchange though). The french spent some absurd amount of money developing the Rafale ( I think 40 billion euros, which works out to 200 million per aircraft for france). They're desperate to recoup some of those costs, otherwise the Rafale, which is a decent but not spectacular aircraft is look

      • by Hadlock (143607) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @08:24AM (#38933987) Homepage Journal

        India got the deal of the century - if you read the fine print, France is only selling India 18 fighters - India gets the CAD files and source code and will build the remaining 108 themselves - presumably for the cost of labor and materials. That means instead of paying $90 million for each jet, they're looking at final production costs of $5-20 million each. Who knows how the Rafale's technology will fuel their own defense industry over the next 20-30 years? It's a win-win-win for India, and France gets to stop propping up a failing industry for a few more years.
         
        This sort of "buy some, build the rest" deal is rapidly becoming the standard for large BRIC contracts with the west.

    • by dietdew7 (1171613) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:42AM (#38932181)
      Actually the French have long history of military success. One major cause of their rapid capitulation to Germany is that a significant minority of the French leadership supported Hitler and Nazism.
      • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:27AM (#38932765)

        There was also this whole newfangled thing called "blitzkrieg". What the US today would call Shock and Awe.

        The Germans didn't stop to secure the areas their tank divisions had overrun - they kept pressing forward, completely counter to essentially all military strategies that were thought to be viable.

        This meant that by the time the French had a chance to regroup and do anything, they were, in effect, already defeated.

      • by medoc (90780) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @03:29AM (#38933001) Homepage

        The major reason for the rapid capitulation of French to Germany in 1940 is that we were crushed.

        There were between 50 000 and 100 000 French military killed during the 2 months of the German invasion in 1940 (+ the wounded of course). The French army was vastly oversmarted and overpowered but it did attempt to resist.

        Please read a bit of history and stop spreading nonsense. The vast majority of French people still deeply hated the German 20 years after the first world war.

    • someone in the india ministry of defense should google "french military victories"

      Thanks for the recommendation. I found this, which was interesting:

      http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=7061&IBLOCK_ID=35 [exile.ru]
    • by bug1 (96678) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:29AM (#38932769)

      'Someone in the india ministry of defense should google "french military victories'

      Top hit for me is below, it describes a string of victories (And some defeats) going back to 387 B.C. In particular Joan of Arc and Napoleon where involved in french victories.

      What is you point, other than documenting your typically ignorant American attitude, i bet you call still call them freedom fries at your house.

      http://www.militaryfactory.com/battles/french_military_victories.asp [militaryfactory.com]

    • by Phrogman (80473) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @11:48AM (#38934891) Homepage

      First result returned by Google gives this list:

      • Battle of Allia - 387 B.C. Battle of Gergovia - 52 B.C. Battle of Soissons - 486 A.D. Battle of Tolbaic - 496 Battle of Vouille - 507 Battle of Tours / Battle of Poitiers - 732 Battle of Pavia - 773 Battle for Paris - 885-886 Battle of Val-es-Dunes - 1047 Battle of Hastings - October 14, 1066 Battle of Dorylaeum - July 1, 1097 Battle of Ascalon - August 12, 1099 Battle of Montgisard (1177) Battle of Bouvines - July 27, 1214 Battle of Morlaix - 1342 Battle of Ardres - 1351 Battle of Cocherel - May 16, 1364 Battle of Montiel - 1369 Battle of La Rochelle - June 22, 1372 Battle of Chiset - 1373 Battle of Roosebeke - November 27, 1382 Battle of Bauge - March 21, 1421 Siege of Orleans - October 12, 1428-May 8, 1429 Battle of Jargeau - June 11-12, 1429 Battle of Beaugency - June 16-17, 1429 Battle of Patay - June 18, 1429 Siege of Compiegne - June 18, 1429 Battle of Gerbevoy - 1435 Battle of Formigny - April 15, 1450 Battle of Castillon - July 17, 1453 Battle of Agnadello - 1509 Battle of Marignano - 1515 Battle of Ceresole - 1544 Battle of Rocroi - 1643 Battle of Nordlingen - 1645 Battle of Lens - 1648 Battle of Dunes - 1658 Battle of Fleurus - 1690 Battle of Beachy Head - 1690 Battle of Landen - 1693 Battle of Denain - 1712 Battle of Fontenoy - May 11th, 1745 Battle of Roucoux - 1746 Battle of Lauffeld - 1747 Battle of Hastenbeck - 1757 Battle of Carillon - 1758 Battle of Yorktown - 1781 Battle of the Chesapeake - September 5, 1781 Battle of Valmy - September 20, 1792 Battle of Fleurus - 1794 Battle of the Vosges - July 13, 1794 Battle of Castiglione - 1796 Battle of the Bridge of Arcole - November 17, 1796 Battle of Diersheim, April 20th, 1797 Battle of Rivoli - 1797 Battle of the Pyramids - 1798 Battle of Mount Tabor - 1799 Battle of Abukir - 1799 Second Battle of Zurich - 1799 Battle of Marengo - 1800 Battle of Hohenlinden - December 3, 1800 Battle of Austerlitz - December 2, 1805 Battle of Jena-Auerstedt - October 14, 1806 Battle of Friedland - June 14, 180 Battle of Tudela - November 23, 1808 Battle of Ucles - January 13, 1809 Battle of Ciudad-Real - March 27, 1809 Battle of Eckmuhl - April 21st, 1809 Battle of Wagram - July 5-6, 1809 Battle of Medellin - 1809 Battle of Ocana - 1809 Battle of Smolensk - August 17, 1812 Battle of Borodino - September 7, 1812 Battle of Dresden - 1813 Battle of Lutzen - May 2, 1813 Battle of Vauchamps - February 14, 1814 Battle of Ligny - 1815 Battle of Trocadero - 1823 Battle of Navarino - October 20, 1827 Invasion of Algeria - 1830 Battle of Balaclava - October 25, 1854 Battle of Malakoff - 1855 Battle of Solferino - 1859 Battle of Foochow - 1884 First Battle of the Marne - 1914 Togoland - August 26, 1914 Battle of Ypres - October 19-November 22, 1914 Battle of Verdun - 1916 Second Battle of the Aisne - April 16-May 9, 1917 Second Battle of the Marne - 1918 Second Battle of the Marne - 1918 Battle of Belleau Wood - June 1-26, 1918 Battle of Chateau-Thierry - July 18, 1918 Battle of Amiens - August 8-11, 1918 Battle of Maysalun - 1922 Battle of Koufra - 1941 Operation Dragoon - 1944

      There are a few entries I didn't include because they gave only dates and not names, making it harder to look them up.

      Oh, was your point to perpetuate the fucking tiresome meme (always repeated at every mention of France witnessed by any American it seems, certainly here on /. at any rate) that the French are all cowards and retreat at the drop of a hat etc. I will say it slowly for those of you who love this meme: "They lost in a war against a superior enemy. That is all".

      In fact it took Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Russia (helped eventually by the USA of course, although years late to the party) to defeat that selfsame enemy. Should we be surprised that the French lost too? They got attacked right at the start and so faced the Germans pretty much on their own.

      Caveat: I am English Canadian, not French. In fact I don't particularly like the French or France, but I am tired of this constantly repeated idiocy. All it does is scream "I am a fucking ignorant American" every time it gets repeated.

      I guess none of you have ever heard of Napoleon either?

      Sigh.

  • by dietdew7 (1171613) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:33AM (#38932125)
    I would think it would be a matter of national pride. They certainly have enough technical resources.
  • Good move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:34AM (#38932133)

    Look, the Rafale is hardly a 2nd rate fighter jet. Older? Yes, than the F-35 maybe. But on the other hand, the Rafale is already in operation and is a known cost vs. the F-35 which is not even ready to go yet.
    It seems some cool heads prevailed in this case, unlike other nut job countries like ... ahem ... Canada.
    Even Australia seems to have made a better choice in snagging the Super Hornet instead

    • Re:Good move (Score:5, Informative)

      by GumphMaster (772693) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:15AM (#38932361)

      Australia "snagged" the Super Hornet to fill a gap left by the retirement of the F-111 fleet before the much over-hyped, over-priced and over-late F-35 is delivered (as 'early' as 2014).

    • Re:Good move (Score:5, Interesting)

      by donscarletti (569232) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:20AM (#38932397)
      To my knowledge Australia is still going to buy the F-35, they just bought 24 F/A-18E as well. I think this is particularly dumb, Australia should have gone either with Eurofighter or Sukhoi, at least with the interim order to keep America on its toes. But the Australian government does not like to keep America on its toes, it believes in showing unwavering solidarity and declaring to the United States that Australia can and will accept any crap that it is sold. They did make a serious inquiry about the F-22, which would have been a useful plane, but when it was rebuffed on national security grounds, Australia did not make an indignant show about being only sold the US' second best fighter.
      • Re:Good move (Score:5, Interesting)

        by hitmark (640295) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @09:46AM (#38934281) Journal

        Never mind that USA can get up to all kinds of tricks to get their contracts.

        When Norway was evaluating Eurofighter, F-35 and Saab JAS 39 Gripen, the Gripen was held back by radar performance issues. Later on it is found that Saab was in talks with Lockheed or some other US company about buying radars, but the final contract was held back by Washington until after said evaluation.

        At times i wonder if the F-35 is an attempt at rescuing the US economy...

  • by longacre (1090157) * on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:36AM (#38932137) Homepage
    FTA: "Indian law requires the government to negotiate a contract with the lowest bidder." That would seem to be the end of it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      Considering the scandal in Indian telecom, which their supreme court has just now finally made its ruling on, I'm not sure how often the Indian government keeps to that premise. It is a damned corrupt country. I expect the result probably had as much to do with French envoys with brown paper bags filled with hard currency as anything else.

    • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:49AM (#38932221)

      Indian law requires the government to negotiate a contract with the lowest bidder, that satisfies the requirements. If they wanted the capabilities of F-35, I am pretty sure the cheapest would have been the F-35.

  • by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:37AM (#38932151)
    India is buying weapons to counter an ever increasing Chinese & Pakistani threats across its borders. However, this particular deal was stupid . Although, the link below is not the best source of news, it provides some insight as to what happened with this deal. http://www.rediff.com/news/slide-show/slide-show-1-why-iaf-does-not-need-either-eurofighter-or-rafale/20111111.htm [rediff.com] [warning - slide-show] Most of the issues regarding this deal exist mainly because Indian govt did not want to wait for the US to complete testing on their latest F35s and wanted some order fast event though the F-35s are much better than the Dassault aircraft. I think this was mostly due to politics given that elections are around the corner next year.
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:43AM (#38932185) Journal

    The threat to india is men on foot or motorbikes with rifles and explosives in their backpacks. Fighter aircraft aren't very useful to counter that kind of an opponent.

    -jcr

    • by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:47AM (#38932209)
      Honest police system and enforcement of rules are the best way to counter that kind of terrorism. The problem with India is that it does neither. The fighter jets are needed for China mainly, not pakistan.
      • by Sir_Sri (199544)

        Depends on whether or not pakistan gets F16's, whether or not india wishes to involve itself with Iran, or anywhere else in the middle east, what the situation in Indonesia or burma may do to future indian interests, and chinese interests.

        When you're buying aircraft for the next 15 or 20 years you have a lot of broad 'what if's' to consider beyond just the immediately obvious threats. A radical shakeup in the middle east or indonesia or even pakistan or burma could leave india very much in need of operatio

      • by unixisc (2429386) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:39AM (#38932807)
        The last war that India fought against China was 1965. India does have 2 border disputes w/ China, but those are disputes that both countries have on the backburner while they get along fine in other ways (although India drew the line on allowing Huawei to operate within the country). Pakistan otoh is still supposed to get F16s from the US, and if they were to, India would need to have a counter against them, particularly in the scenario that a Taliban like regime were to take over Islamabad. That, and the fact that Pakistan has its own nukes, is the other thing for India to worry about - they'd have to down Pak planes before they release nukes on Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore or other cities.
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:14AM (#38932353) Journal

      The threat to india is men on foot or motorbikes with rifles and explosives in their backpacks.

      India has last fought a conventional, if brief and low-scale, war with Pakistan in 1999 [wikipedia.org], not exactly a long time ago. It specifically involved [wikipedia.org] air strikes, and several fighter planes have been lost.

    • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @07:17AM (#38933737) Homepage

      The threat to india is men on foot or motorbikes with rifles and explosives in their backpacks. Fighter aircraft aren't very useful to counter that kind of an opponent.

      -jcr

      Yes because a country can only deal with one possible threat or problem at a time. All other threats apart from the most obvious one are irrelevant and can be ignored...

  • cost (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deodiaus2 (980169) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:44AM (#38932187)
    US planes like this are very expensive from the US.
    Back in the 1950's, Canada tried to develop its own plane called "The Arrow". Apparently, the program was squashed in parliament by the CIA paying off key representatives. This sort of technology costs billions and takes years to develop as well as keeping an industrial infrastructure in place to keep it going.
    Isreal developed its "Lion" prototype, but the US offered to give Isreal US's top of the line state of the art planes to keep them from pursuing that line.
    Maybe over the course of several decades, other countries would develop sufficiently advanced air breathing technology and then where would the US be.
  • Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:45AM (#38932193)
    If they didn't want to wait on the Americans to finish up the F35s, why didn't they just go talk to the Russians for some surplus MiGs? Proven design, and they work.
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

      by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:17AM (#38932373) Journal

      They do just that, actually. Their primary air superiority fighter is Su-30, and MiG-29 is the second most common fighter plane - and they have orders open for both. They also participate in the PAK FA project.

      However, they wanted a multi-role fighter. Soviet/Russian planes are awesome in the air, but not as versatile. IAF has actually been using French planes before for that role, they're just upgrading to the next gen one.

    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Officially, and probably unofficially, they want a diverse set of suppliers. India isn't in bed with Russia the way it has been for years. They have a joint fighter the SU-30MKI which is a damn good aircraft relatively, but they don't want to be seen as purely on the russian side in the arms markets. When you're as big as india you want to make sure you have friends in a lot of places. Who knows what the russians are going to be doing in the next 15 or 20 years, and they don't want to be tied to one sup

  • by ant-1 (120272) <ant-1@@@pouch...name> on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:54AM (#38932245)
    How in hell is this on /. frontpage? Or on the site even? Will the editors cover every weapon sale from now on? Is this because it's a disappointment for the US of A? Because it involves the french?

    Because the editors are drunk?
    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      Yes.

      Seriously, TFA doesn't even mention the F-35 as being a final candidate: this was more of a blow to the Eurofighter than the F-35. The F-35 is much higher spec than the Rafale (for one thing, it is a true stealth aircraft), while the Eurofighter and the Rafale are pretty close (solid 5t gen fighters, radar reduction but not stealth). Had they needed the F-35 specs, they probably would have bought it. They just weren't looking at that high-end an aircraft.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 05, 2012 @12:57AM (#38932259)

    India needed a cost effective Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft. This procurement was a six year process. Probably the most transparent defence acquisition program in the world, ever.
    Initial participants were Saab Gripen(Sweden), Mig 35(Russian), F16, FA18(US) Eurofighter(EU) and Rafale(French). F35 JSF was never part of it, and India doesn't need it right now (Hell! Even US doesn't 'need' it). It was offered for future discussions, to sweeten the deal in favor of Boeing and Lockheed.
    Out of the 6 participants,
    Gripen was too small, Gripen doesnt fit in because India's Indigenous LCA already matches capability.
    Mig 35 was participant only because Russians have been friends always.
    F16 and FA18 are probably the oldest models.Yes they have been enhanced, but without the AESA RADAR (US govt said No to giving it), they are useless to Indian requirements. They were expensive, did not match up to the RFP requirements. F16 is with Pakistan, there is no way in Hell India will base the future or Airforce on such an aircraft. FA18 was a good contender, but for its price without the AESA useless.

    Typhoon and Rafale were the most practical choices. Technically typhoon would have been a nose length ahead. But it was too expensive and could probably not explain the logistics and speed at which it is manufactured.

    And hence, Rafale was the right choice.
    Might piss off the americans def contractors, but they have been given other deals like the C130J, C17 and others. There is enough for everyone in India defence market. And it will get better over next decade.theya retrying to achieve capabilities in years, that others have gained in decades.

  • by donscarletti (569232) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:04AM (#38932299)

    The American entries were never contenders, the F-35 is still in development, the F-15 and F-18 quite old and the F-22 is not offered for export, all have been out of consideration for over a year, this was always Dassault Rafale vs Eurofighter Typhoon. Personally, I have no idea why they didn't buy more Su-30s, as they already have 100 of them, meaning there is no shortage of parts and expertise and to my knowledge are just as capable as the Rafale.

    In the end, the Indian government liked the Typhoon best, but Rafale gave a far lower bid. This is probably because it's Rafale's first export order and will mean that Dassault can stay in business.

  • Some Background (Score:5, Informative)

    by vivtho (834049) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:14AM (#38932355) Homepage
    Some background and corrections as I've been following this story since the tender first came out ...
    • The contest was based on over 600 parameters. Every aircraft had to 'pass' at least 590 parameters to make it to the second round.
    • While America had offered the F-16, F-18 and now the stealth F-35 fighter ...

      The F-35 was never offered for this contest .. it wouldn't even be eligible. Only aircraft that were already in production and could start deliveries by 2013 were allowed. The other American aircraft were eliminated in the first round ... The Indian Air Force liked the F/A-18's AESA radar so much that it was made a mandatory requirement for the other contestants too. However, in size the Hornet is just too big for the role the IAF was looking to fit it into. The F-16 never had a chance since Pakistan is a major operator of the type.

    • Only the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter made it to the second round, which is when the sealed tenders were opened. Dassault always had a slight edge over other competitors since it has a long history with the IAF. The Rafale's predecessor - the Mirage 2000 is one of the best-performing and highest-uptime aircraft with the IAF
    • ... a low cost, older French plane. Why? For one, it's cheaper ...

      Cost is not that significant a factor ... like I mentioned earlier, the tenders were unsealed only after the aircraft that didn't meet the performance parameters were eliminated. By law, the IAF has to choose the lowest-cost successful bidder. Both the Rafale and Eurofighter are more expensive than the Hornet or Falcon (and significantly more so than the Gripen). If the Hornet or Gripen had gotten to the second round, they'd probably be the winner of the contest.

    • ... if American/Indian relations go bad, can they get the parts and equipment to keep the planes in the air?

      That's one of the criteria where the American aircraft failed. India's defence policy requires multiple vendors from different countries of origin to minimise the control that can be exerted. (Which is why the IAF flies such a plethora of types). After the Indian nuclear tests in 1996, US sanctions meant that most Western-built designs in IAF service were affected due to a lack of spare parts (Sea King helicopters, F404 engines for the Tejas fighter etc.).

  • by voss (52565) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:25AM (#38932443)

    The dassault rafale has the advantages of being more flexible in its roles, easier and less costly to maintain and has more
    modular parts.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @01:27AM (#38932459) Homepage Journal

    I am surprised they are buying a plane with a pilot.

  • by JoeKlip (2566683) on Sunday February 05, 2012 @02:45AM (#38932835)
    The real story is India gets the rights to produce the French Rafale. France will transfer their technologies to India so they can build the airplanes themsellves. There is no way the US State Department will allow that transfer of stealth technology to India. This has been the sticky point with India.

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